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#pounditWednesday, October 5, 2022

Basketball

LeBron James bluntly says he has ‘no relationship’ with 1 Lakers great

LeBron James looking on

Jan 21, 2022; Orlando, Florida, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) against the Orlando Magic during the first quarter at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

One Los Angeles Lakers legend will not be getting invited to Taco Tuesday at LeBron James’ house.

After this week’s preseason opener against the Sacramento Kings, the Lakers star James was asked about Basketball Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as he closes in on Abdul-Jabbar’s all-time NBA scoring record.

James bluntly replied that he had “no thoughts and no relationship” with the big man great Abdul-Jabbar.

The four-time champion James likely has a sour taste in his mouth because of Abdul-Jabbar’s harsh public criticisms of him. Abdul-Jabbar, a longtime activist who has amplified his voice for social change through op-ed pieces in recent years, has gone after James multiple times since James became a Laker. Abdul-Jabbar has taken issues with everything from James’ sharing of supposed misinformation regarding the COVID-19 pandemic to James’ antics on the basketball court. You can read more about their history here.

James now appears to hitting back at Abdul-Jabbar lately and left the 75-year-old off a recent list of his all-time Lakers (though James did include himself on the list).

In fairness, Abdul-Jabbar has backtracked and issued public apologies to James over his various criticisms. In a new op-ed piece, Abdul-Jabbar even said James’ activism as an athlete was on par with those of Muhammad Ali, Bill Russell, Billie Jean King, Arthur Ashe, and Colin Kaepernick. But nonetheless, James still seems to be holding a grudge against No. 33.

Shaq shares details about his weight loss journey

Shaq holds a mic

Mar 24, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA: Former Los Angeles Lakers center Shaquille O’Neal speaks during a NBA game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Minnesota Timberwolves at the Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

At 50 years old, Shaquille O’Neal is doing his best to get to a healthy weight.

The retired center icon appeared this week on “Impaulsive with Logan Paul” and shared some details about his efforts to slim down. O’Neal revealed that he now sits at 365 pounds after previously topping the 400 mark.

“I was 401 pounds, now I’m 365,” he said. “I’m trying to take it back to 345.

“I wanna have muscles everywhere and I wanna do an underwear ad with my sons,” O’Neal jokingly added. “Fruit of the Looms, baby!”

O’Neal, who stands 7-foot-1, retired from the NBA in 2011. He was listed during his playing career at an official weight of 325 pounds.

The Hall of Famer O’Neal had actually said before that his weight ballooned to well above 401 pounds during the pandemic. Thus, it is nice to hear about the progress O’Neal has made and the specific goals he still wants to achieve.

H/T Legion Hoops

Devin Booker has curious social media post after Suns’ awful preseason loss

Devin Booker looks on

Mar 3, 2020; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker prior to the game against the Toronto Raptors at Talking Stick Resort Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Phoenix Suns continue to look like a three-alarm dumpster fire.

The Suns got embarrassed during their preseason game against the Adelaide 36ers of the NBL on Sunday. They lost by double figures (134-124) to a 36ers team that went just 10-18 last NBL season. To make matters worse, Phoenix played all of their starters (Chris Paul, Devin Booker, Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson, and Deandre Ayton) in the loss … and were the home team.

It was the first time an NBL team had ever beaten an NBA team as well as the first time since 2016 that an NBA team lost an international exhibition.

The Suns got roasted into the ground for the humiliating loss, which led to an interesting response from Booker. In a post to his Instagram Story, Booker shared a screenshot of LeBron James with the caption “Mood.”

For those unfamiliar, the screenshot is from James’ press conference after he and the Miami Heat lost in the 2011 Finals to the Dallas Mavericks. Most infamously, James blasted his haters by saying, “All of the people that was rooting on me to fail, at the end of the day, they’ve gotta wake up tomorrow and have the same life that they had before they woke up today. They got the same personal problems … I’m gonna continue to live the way I wanna live and continue to do the things I wanna do with me and my family and be happy with that.”

James was widely denounced at the time for the comments, which came across as telling his critics to go back to their miserable lives while he continued to enjoy his hundreds of millions of dollars. But at least his remarks came after a hard-fought loss in the Finals. For Booker to be channeling that energy after a loss in the preseason comes across as monumentally soft.

For Booker, whose Suns also got run off their home floor the last time that we saw them with their 33-point defeat to Dallas in Game 7 of the Western Conference semifinals, his life is elite by any just about any measure. He is 25 years old, recently got a $224 million supermax contract from the Suns, and gets to go home to Kendall Jenner every night.

But there is one major thing that Booker is still prominently without — an NBA championship ring. That won’t be changing any time soon if Booker’s response to a little bit of adversity is what you see above. Granted, the fetid stench in Phoenix right now is probably less about Booker individually and more about the entire Suns organization.

Report: Pacers open to trading 1 notable player

Rick Carlisle in a suit

Feb 7, 2020; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Dallas Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle during the first half against the Washington Wizards at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

One Indiana Pacers player may be on his way out after just 26 games played for the team.

The Athletic reports this week that both the Pacers and veteran guard Buddy Hield are open to finding a trade that works for both sides. The report adds that the Los Angeles Lakers had trade talks with the Pacers around Hield throughout the summer. The Lakers had even considered sending Russell Westbrook and two future first-round picks to Indiana for a package that included Hield but ultimately decided against it.

You can read The Athletic’s full reporting on the trade negotiations between the Pacers and the Lakers as well their respective team situations here.

The 29-year-old Hield, a deadeye who flirts with 20 points per game and is a 39.8 percent career three-point shooter, was acquired by Indiana from the Sacramento Kings at last year’s trade deadline. He has two years and $39 million left on his contract.

Hield figures to be expendable for the rebuilding Pacers, especially since the trade with Sacramento netted them Tyrese Haliburton as well. But Indiana appears to be more intent on keeping another one of their veteran assets.

Russell Westbrook makes interest move with his Instagram page

Russell Westbrook dribbling

Dec 28, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard Russell Westbrook (0) in action during the game against the Houston Rockets at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Russell Westbrook has made an interesting move with his Instagram page.

The Los Angeles Lakers guard scrubbed his entire Instagram page of its posts.

Not only are there no posts on his page, but there are not any mentions of the Lakers either.

Any time a famous athlete scrubs their social media page, it’s big news. Typically, athletes will take this step when they’re preparing for a big career move or change. Oftentimes this move is done to express dissatisfaction with a contract, or to seek a trade.

The timing of Westbrook’s social media move is notable.

Earlier in the day, a report said the Lakers were still considering trading Westbrook.

Westbrook is owed $47.1 million this season, which is his final year of his massive contract. He played poorly for the Lakers last season. The Lakers have also brought in Patrick Beverley and Dennis Schroder, which could make Westbrook expendable. Of course, the real challenge is finding a taker for the point guard.

Basketball player goes viral for his wild last name

Steeve Ho You Fat last name

One basketball player drew widespread attention among hoops fans on Tuesday night due to his name.

ESPN2 aired a game between the G League Ignite and Metropolitans 92, which is a team that plays in France’s highest-tier league. The game was billed as a showcase between Scoot Henderson and Victor Wembanyama, who are among the top prospects for the 2023 NBA Draft.

But it was another player who stole the show on social media.

The Metropolitans have a player named Steeve Ho You Fat. That’s not some sort of And1 Mixtape Tour nickname either. That’s his real name.

Ho You Fat is a 34-year-old forward from Cayenne, French Guiana. He is in his second season with the Metros and averaging 2.7 points per game this season.

Once American fans got a hold of his name, it was all over.

What do you think Ho You Fat’s sister is named?

Raptors hiring brother of 1 star player

Nick Nurse in a suit

Mar 8, 2020; Sacramento, California, USA; Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse gives instructions during the second quarter against the Sacramento Kings at Golden 1 Center. Mandatory Credit: Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

The Toronto Raptors organization now employs both Spicy P and Spicy P’s older brother.

Josh Lewenberg of TSN Sports reports Monday that Raptors 905, Toronto’s G League affiliate, have hired Christian Siakam. Christian, the older brother of Raptors big man Pascal Siakam, will serve as an assistant under Raptors 905 coach Eric Khoury.

Pascal has been a real homegrown success story for Toronto. After the Raptors picked him in the late first round of the 2016 NBA Draft, Pascal blossomed into a star. At just 28 years old, Pascal has already won an NBA title with Toronto, made an All-Star team, garnered two All-NBA nods, and won NBA’s Most Improved Player. He has also led the Raptors in scoring in each of the last three seasons.

Toronto is always pretty strategic with their coaching hires. That makes the addition here of another Siakam to the organization pretty noteworthy, especially since Pascal is set to become a free agent in 2024.

Everyone said the same thing after seeing Victor Wembanyama play

Victor Wembanyama holds the ball

Oct 4, 2022; Henderson, NV, USA; Boulogne-Levallois Metropolitans 92 forward Victor Wembanyama (1) shoots from the free-throw line against NBA G League Ignite center Eric Mika (12) during the third quarter at The Dollar Loan Center. Mandatory Credit: Lucas Peltier-USA TODAY Sports

All it took was one glimpse of Victor Wembanyama on the court and fans were sold.

ESPN2 on Tuesday night televised a game between the G League Ignite team and Metropolitans 92, which is a French league basketball team. The game was designed to showcase Wembanyama and Scoot Henderson, who are projected by many to be the top two picks in the 2023 NBA Draft.

Both players played well, but Wembanyama was an absolute star. The 7-foot-3, 18-year-old big man had 37 points and 5 blocks. He was 7/11 on three-pointers, showcasing his improbable range.

Wembanyama was so good that he had people salivating over his talent. Everyone was saying the same thing: teams will be tanking so hard to try and get the future star.

Wnat to see what all the rage was about? Take a look and salivate:

Blake Griffin chooses unique new jersey number with Celtics

Blake Griffin warms up before a game

Apr 25, 2022; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Brooklyn Nets forward Blake Griffin (2) warms up before game four of the first round of the 2022 NBA playoffs against the Boston Celtics at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Blake Griffin is going a bit left with his new jersey number in Boston.

The new Celtics big man Griffin revealed on Monday that he will be wearing No. 91 for the coming season. Griffin said that he is doing so as a tribute to retired Basketball Hall of Famer Dennis Rodman, who wore No. 91 on the Chicago Bulls.

The six-time All-Star Griffin, who signed a one-year deal with Boston a few days prior, becomes the very first player in Celtics history to wear No. 91.

Here is a picture of Griffin in his new threads, per Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe.

Griffin, who has worn the numbers 23, 32, and (most recently) 2 during his NBA career, mentioned a couple of years ago that he is a big fan of the ’90s Chicago Bulls. He also previously played for the Detroit Pistons (the team that Rodman began his NBA career with) and is a native of Oklahoma (where Rodman attended college at Southeastern Oklahoma State).

With starting big Robert Williams missing extended time with a knee injury, Griffin should be able to get playing time for Boston right out of the gate. As for Rodman, he was recently in the news again because of an interesting new movie about a particular era of his life.

Mark Cuban shares troubling update about Delonte West

Delonte West shooting

April 2, 2012; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Mavericks guard Delonte West shoots prior to the game against the Los Angeles Clippers at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Delonte West has struggled with addiction over the past several years, and the most recent news about the former NBA point guard has not been very positive.

West was spotted back in June panhandling on the side of a freeway in Virginia. He later admitted that it was him in the video and said he was “in between jobs” and needed to support his family.

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has tried to help West, who spent the last season of his NBA career with the team. TMZ caught up with Cuban in New York City recently and asked if he has kept in touch with West. Cuban offered a troubling update.

“It’s a struggle for him,” Cuban said. “I mean, addiction is awful. And mental illness is awful. He’s at the point in his life where he’s got to want to be helped.”

Cuban helped locate West in 2020 when West spotted panhandling in the Dallas area. Cuban helped set West up with a rehab program at the time, and it appeared the 39-year-old was doing well for a while. Cuban indicated that West has not been receptive to help as of late.

“You know, he’s got to want to help himself first,” the billionaire said. “I’ve tried. I know it’s tough on him, but I wish him nothing but the best.”

West has had more than his share of off-court issues since his NBA career ended in 2012. He also made headlines a year ago when he was arrested at a Florida police station.