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#pounditSunday, September 19, 2021

Basketball

LeBron James clowns Packers fan Anthony Davis over team’s blowout loss

Anthony Davis Lakers

Anthony Davis might be the butt of a lot of jokes during this week’s Taco Tuesday at LeBron James’ house.

The Green Bay Packers began their season with an absolutely embarrassing 38-3 drubbing at the hands of the New Orleans Saints on Sunday. The loss was the team’s biggest ever in a game started by quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

The Los Angeles Lakers star James proceeded to troll his teammate Davis, who is a big Packers fan, over the loss. James tweeted that someone needed to check in on Davis, adding roughly four million emojis for emphasis.

Though Davis is from Chicago, he is a proud supporter of the Packers. He has attended many games in Green Bay and has even repped the team during Lakers press conferences.

The Packers players are already getting memed enough for the blowout loss. Now even their supporters are getting clowned too.

Shaq explains why he is wary of cryptocurrency

Shaquille O'Neal

Despite the growing tidal wave of pro sports figures who are getting into cryptocurrency, Shaquille O’Neal does not plan to be one of them just yet.

The retired NBA legend explained to CNBC in a recent interview why he is personally wary of investing in cryptocurrency.

“I don’t understand it,” said O’Neal. “So I will probably stay away from it until I get a full understanding of what it is.

“Every time somebody tells me one of those great [cryptocurrency success] stories, I like it,” the four-time NBA champion added. “But from my experience, it is too good to be true.”

Cryptocurrency and NFTs (non-fungible tokens) have recently exploded in popularity with the sports world. In the NBA in particular, both teams as well as individual players have begun embracing them.

As for O’Neal, he is known for the savvy investments that he has made since retiring from the NBA in 2011. O’Neal owns several restaurants (including Five Guys, Auntie Anne’s and Papa John’s franchises) as well a number of gyms and car washes. He is also involved with e-sports organizations and even used to be a minority owner for the Sacramento Kings. It sounds like O’Neal is willing to stick with more traditional investments like those over cryptocurrency, at least for now.

NBA 2K did Ben Simmons dirty in latest edition

Ben Simmons

Ben Simmons may be in for an unpleasant surprise if he tries to play as himself in “NBA 2K22.”

The latest edition of the “NBA 2K” video game series was officially released this week. In it, the Philadelphia 76ers star Simmons has a rating of just 84. Damichael Cole of the Philly Inquirer notes that it marks a downgrade from Simmons’ 87 rating in each of the last three seasons. Simmons also saw his three-point rating in the game tumble to a 58, lower than that of centers Boban Marjanovic, Deandre Ayton, Dwight Howard, and JaVale McGee.

The rating might seem pretty low for a player who was an All-Star and an All-Defensive First Teamer this past season. But in case you missed it, the sentiment around Simmons is overwhelmingly negative right now after his rotten postseason and subsequent trade request from the Sixers.

The 25-year-old has been taking brutal criticisms from all over recently. It seems like his “NBA 2K” rating accurately reflects public opinion as well.

Pelicans guard calls out media for creating ‘fake’ Zion Williamson narratives

Zion Williamson

One New Orleans Pelicans player smells cap when it comes to the media narratives surrounding star teammate Zion Williamson.

Pelicans guard Tomas Satoransky, who was just acquired by the team this offseason, spoke recently with European outlet Czech Daily. Satoransky, who is of Czech descent, called out the local media for supposedly cooking up fake stories about Williamson being unhappy in New Orleans.

“I have a feeling that some American media which cover the NBA want to break up teams and create fake stories so that something’s happening,” he said. “This one’s dissatisified. This one wants to leave. Most of the time, the truth is elsewhere or in the middle.

“It’s definitely not true that Zion in his third season is thinking about not having good players around him,” Satoransky added. “I’m convinced of it.”

Williamson, the No. 1 overall pick just two years ago, does not even come off his rookie deal until 2023. But that has not stopped reports of Williamson’s alleged unhappiness with the Pelicans from popping up already.

Satoransky is right that superstar players in small markets are subject to all kinds of rumors when the team is losing, not all of which end up being true. But the reporting about Williamson, claiming that his family wants him out of New Orleans, has mostly been coming from reputable sources. Often times, where there is smoke, there is fire.

Russell Westbrook goes viral for wearing skirt, blue hair

Russell Westbrook

Russell Westbrook has become known for his bold fashion choices over his career. On Saturday, he went viral for perhaps the boldest clothing style he has worn.

Westbrook posted photos on social media showing himself wearing a skirt and blue hair.

In his posts, Westbrook quoted rapper Kendrick Lamar, saying “don’t address me unless it four letters.”

In addition to the long skirt and blue hair, Westbrook was wearing a pearl necklace and boots. His clothing and accessories are traditionally worn by women.

Westbrook’s clothing photo comes at a time when gender and identity have become hot topics across the country. Westbrook appears to be entering the debate.

His controversial photoshoot reminds me somewhat of one another former Lakers guard did that sparked debate several years ago.

Westbrook has gone viral over the years for various outfits.

Here is a recap:
Video: Russell Westbrook’s hilarious sideline outfit gets roasted by announcers
Russell Westbrook photographer outfit becomes a meme
Russell Westbrook poncho outfit gets the meme treatment
Russell Westbrook dressed like a red Teletubbie
Russell Westbrook wore a leopard print shirt and spiky shoes to fashion week

Photo: All-Pro Reels/Flickr via cc by-sa 2.0

Rajon Rondo made funny appearance at US Open final

Rajon Rondo tennis

It’s not out of the ordinary for athletes or celebrities to be spotted in the crowd at major sporting events, and the U.S. Open final is no different. Still, Rajon Rondo’s appearance was a little bit strange.

Rondo popped up on TV during the women’s final between Emma Raducanu and Leylah Fernandez. He had popcorn, he had sunglasses, and he looked into it — mostly.

Plenty of people were amused by Rondo’s random appearance. One Twitter user likened his reaction to Dumbledore from Harry Potter.

Rondo being in New York might mean he won’t be on hand to see former teammate Paul Pierce inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame later Saturday evening. Then again, Ray Allen will be there too, so Rondo might be fine missing out.

Jayson Tatum hinting at change in his play style for next season

Jayson Tatum

Jayson Tatum already has one of the silkiest jumpshots in the NBA, but he may be focusing on a more complete style of play for the coming season.

Tatum addressed reporters on Saturday, saying that he had bulked up this offseason. The 23-year-old also hinted at a change in his offensive game.

“It’s part of me getting older,” said the Boston Celtics star of his increased bulk, per Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston. “My body is just starting to change, as well as putting the work in.

“I know people want to see me go to the basket more,” Tatum added. “I like the step-back jumper. It’s compromise. I’ll do what the people want.”

Tatum, who is listed at 210 pounds, averaged a career-best 26.4 points per game last season. But 61.5 percent of his shot attempts came from beyond ten feet (per Basketball Reference). Tatum also averaged just 5.3 free throw attempts per game, which is pretty low for a 6-foot-8 scoring forward.

The two-time All-Star would put more pressure on defenses by attacking the basket with greater regularity and forcing his matchup to respect his drive. That could, in turn, create a lot more space for Tatum to get off his jumper. Tatum may also be in better physical condition to rattle around in the paint than he was last season.

New Lakers assistant has memorable history with LeBron James

LeBron James

The newest assistant coach of the Los Angeles Lakers should be plenty familiar to LeBron James and vice versa.

ESPN’s Dave McMenamin reported on Saturday that the Lakers have hired former NBA guard John Lucas III to join coach Frank Vogel’s staff. The 38-year-old had a journeyman career, both in the NBA and overseas, before becoming an assistant for the Minnesota Timberwolves in recent years.

You might also remember Lucas for another reason. He was unfortunately on the receiving end of a memorable James dunk back in 2012. James, who was then with the Miami Heat, jumped clean over Lucas, a member of the Chicago Bulls, to convert an alley-oop slam.

Along with his poster dunks on Tim Duncan in 2006, on Kevin Garnett in 2008, and on Jason Terry in 2013, James’ jam over Lucas (which you can see video of here) is one of the most iconic dunks of his entire career. You can be sure that James will remind Lucas of that much during their first practice together in Los Angeles.

Zach LaVine is top target for Celtics?

Zach LaVine

Zach LaVine just might be going from one of the Eastern Conference’s most storied franchises to another.

Gary Washburn reported this weekend that the Chicago Bulls All-Star guard could be a potential target for the Boston Celtics in free agency. Washburn adds that LaVine could end up becoming the Celtics’ No. 1 target if Wizards star Bradley Beal chooses to stay in Washington.

LaVine, a first-time All-Star last year, will be entering the final season of his contract in 2021-22. He was eligible this summer for an extension with the Bulls, but the team decided to wait and upgrade their core around LaVine instead. Lonzo Ball, Alex Caruso, and DeMar DeRozan were among the free agents who arrived in Chicago during the offseason.

As for Boston, their financial situation looks a little bit murky even after the next season. They already have over $100 million committed to the Jayson Tatum-Jaylen Brown-Al Horford-Marcus Smart quartet for 2022-23. The 26-year-old LaVine is easily a max contract player, having posted a career-high 27.4 points per game last season. But if the Celtics can somehow find a way to accommodate him, rumors are that LaVine could be very available.

Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen making peace at Hall of Fame ceremony?

Kevin Garnett

Kevin Garnett’s feud with Ray Allen has been going on for nearly a decade now, but the end may finally be in sight.

Retired Boston Celtics legend Paul Pierce is being inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame this weekend. On Saturday, Pierce posted a video to his Instagram Story of the seating arrangement for the ceremony. The video revealed that Garnett and Allen are going to be sitting next to each other.

Garnett and Allen comprised the Celtics’ “Big Three” era along with Pierce. But the former two have been estranged since 2012 when Allen left Boston to sign with the rival Miami Heat. While Allen made a point of shouting out Garnett in his own Hall of Fame speech, Garnett indicated even as recently as last month that he still holds a grudge against Allen.

Pierce has already gone out of his way to show love to Allen at this year’s Hall of Fame festivities. Now it may be time for Garnett to make peace too.