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Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Basketball

Giannis Antetokounmpo gets emotional in awesome MVP speech

Giannis Antetokounmpo

Giannis Antetokounmpo really nailed it with his acceptance speech upon winning NBA MVP on Monday night.

The Greek Freak was the runaway winner of the award, winning it easily over James Harden, who was the only other player to receive first-place votes. Giannis’ MVP speech really could not have been better.

The Milwaukee Bucks star got emotional as he went through thanking people, especially his family.

That speech is exactly why Antetokounmpo is almost unanimously loved in the NBA. It was reminiscent of Kevin Durant’s “you the real MVP” MVP speech.

While you’re at it, make sure you watch the video the Bucks released on Giannis’ journey. It’s excellent as well.

Rockets’ Twitter account disagrees with MVP, states case for Harden

James Harden

The Houston Rockets respectfully disagreed with Giannis Antetokounmpo winning the NBA’s MVP Award.

Antetokounmpo on Monday was named the league’s MVP for the first time in his career, an honor that was well deserved. He led the Milwaukee Bucks to 60 wins — the most in the NBA last season. Antetokounmpo also averaged 27.7 points, 12.5 rebounds, 5.9 assists, 1.5 blocks, and 1.3 steals per game to completely stuff the stat sheet.

James Harden also had an MVP-worthy campaign, and the Rockets stated his case on Twitter following the announcement of the award.

In many other years, Harden, who was looking to become a back-to-back MVP winner, would have likely walked away with the award. Unfortunately for him, he had an amazing season at the same time as Antetokounmpo.

While it may be a consolation, if there’s one thing Harden knows, it’s that the organization has his back.

Kobe Bryant issues next challenge for Giannis Antetokounmpo

Giannis Antetokounmpo

Giannis Antetokounmpo barely had finished his acceptance speech for winning this year’s NBA MVP Award when Kobe Bryant issued his next challenge to the Milwaukee Bucks star.

In 2017, Antetokounmpo won the NBA’s Most Improved Player Award. On Monday, he took home the league’s highest individual honor, beating out finalists James Harden and Paul George for MVP.

With that accomplishment achieved, Bryant said next on the list for Antetokounmpo is an NBA championship, something Bryant knows his fair share about.

Antetokounmpo stepped up and answered Bryant’s first challenge this past season, two years after it was first issued by the Mamba, who helps train Giannis.

Falling short in the Eastern Conference Finals should make the Milwaukee Bucks star even more motivated to come finish what he started. That could be a scary proposition for the rest of the NBA.

Report: Clippers have free agent meeting scheduled with Kawhi Leonard

Kawhi Leonard

Kawhi Leonard’s free agent decision is one of the most anticipated items of the summer around the NBA given how much he can shape the playoff picture. There has been talk that he is deciding between staying with the Toronto Raptors and leaving for the LA Clippers. It sounds as if he will be giving the Clippers a chance to present their case to him.

The Athletic’s Frank Isola reported on Monday that the Clippers have a tentative meeting scheduled with Kawhi for July 2.

Leonard is from Riverside in Southern California, which is why playing in Los Angeles appeals to him. However, he is believed to be favoring the Clippers over the Lakers between those two teams.

Despite all this talk, do not take this information to conclude Leonard is leaving Toronto. A recent report said he is giving serious consideration to returning to the Raptors.

Jalen Rose takes funny shot at Paul Pierce over wheelchair admission

Paul Pierce made a shocking admission recently about one of the defining moments of his career, and Jalen Rose may never let him live it down.

While fulfilling his usual duties for ESPN before Game 3 of the NBA Finals, Pierce said he needed to be taken to the locker room in a wheelchair during Game 1 of the Finals in 2008 because he had to go to the bathroom. What initially looked like a severe knee injury was actually a case of nature calling, which explains why Pierce was able to return to the game and help the Celtics beat the Lakers after only missing a minute of play.

Jalen Rose, who has frequently traded barbs with Pierce during ESPN broadcasts, tweeted on Monday that he thought about Pierce when he ran out of toilet paper. His tweet appeared to be as part of a sponsorship deal with Charmin, which made it a very creative execution.

Pierce did not admit to pooping his pants before being wheeled to the locker room, but there has long been speculation about that because of the way a Celtics staff member shielded him from cameras. Rose obviously buys into that theory.

Blazers reportedly trade Evan Turner to Atlanta for Kent Bazemore

Evan Turner

Evan Turner reportedly has a new home back east.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the Portland Trail Blazers will trade Turner to the Atlanta Hawks in exchange for Kent Bazemore.

This is essentially a swap of veteran wings who are entering contract years, but Bazemore should be a nice fit in Portland, a team with playoff ambitions in a potentially wide-open Western Conference. He’s a good defender who can shoot from three fairly capably. Turner, a reserve for Portland last year, essentially becomes a veteran leader on a young Atlanta team with a gift for a good quote from time to time.

Klay Thompson scheduled for ACL surgery this week

Klay Thompson

Klay Thompson will finally have surgery on his torn ACL later this week, according to Golden State Warriors general manager Bob Myers.

Myers said Monday that Thompson has surgery scheduled by the end of the week, and will start the recovery process afterwards.

The surgery will keep Thompson out for the majority of next season. It’s not even clear if Thompson will be playing for Golden State, though there are plenty of signs that he’d prefer to stay with the Warriors, and the Warriors seem equally intent on making sure that happens.

Thompson tore his ACL in the third quarter of Game 6 of the NBA Finals on June 13.