Posts Tagged ‘Barack Obama’

Clippers’ recovery is just beginning

By Scott Howard-Cooper, NBA.com


VIDEO: GameTime’s crew discusses the fallout from Donald Sterling’s comments

OAKLAND – By the end — of the game, of the trip they unfortunately will never forget, of the questions to Barack Obama in Malaysia — the worst thing of all was waiting for the Clippers.

The reality that it was not the end.

Sunday actually marked the earliest days of the Donald T. Sterling saga, not the chance to put it behind them. The controversy over racist remarks attributed to Sterling isn’t going away, what has suddenly become an entirely unpredictable future for a roster that once seemed locked up isn’t going away and, oh, by the way, the Warriors aren’t going away either.

The Clippers who pulled away from Oracle Arena for the bus ride to the airport and the hour flight back to Los Angeles were a fragile group, a head coach angry to the point of getting choked up on the podium at the postgame news conference and a roster with raw, fragile emotions. They hadn’t been that way during the regular season, showing a commendable fortitude then, but nothing could prepare players for the odorous comments from the head of the franchise that forced them Saturday to briefly discuss the unimaginable of boycotting the game Sunday.

Then came the deluge from outside the team of suggested responses, with friends and relatives calling and texting. There was some push to make a moral stand on behalf of something greater than a basketball game. Players had done nothing wrong and felt under siege and ultimately decided to show their disgust by piling some of their sweats at mid-court during pregame warmups, turn their shooting shirts inside out to keep the “Clippers” out of view. They wore black socks, wrist bands and arm bands, even though coach Doc Rivers didn’t like the gesture.

It was about two of the most surreal days, from Friday night when the audio tapes acquired by TMZ became public until Sunday afternoon as the Warriors finished off the 118-97 victory to even the first-round series at 2-2, in NBA history. Unless there have been many other times when the president of the United States was standing next to the prime minister of Malaysia during a press conference in Malaysia and pivoting from answering a question on Russia-Ukraine right into one about the owner of a basketball team an ocean away.

“When ignorant folks want to advertise their ignorance, you don’t do really have to do anything,” Obama said. “You just let them talk.” And: “I have confidence that the NBA commissioner, Adam Silver, a good man, will address this.”

There certainly wasn’t any refuge on the court. The Warriors, even with coach Mark Jackson saying his team had been distracted by the unprecedented situation, were sharper and more aggressive. Stephen Curry made five of seven 3-pointers in the first quarter, Golden State built a 20-point lead in the period, David Lee delivered on his promise to step up, and the lineup change Jackson said Friday he was considering became a small-ball spark of Draymond Green at power forward and Lee at center in place of Jermaine O’Neal.

“They did the things that we wanted to do,” Griffin said.

In the moment, it was a bad afternoon and a historically bad couple days, with the Clippers looking like a team drained of its passion and the play of the Warriors doing more to determine the outcome of Game 4 than the words of Sterling. In the big picture, though, in the long-term thinking of a team rightly thinking about playing in June, Sunday made it clear that getting through this is going to take time. Maybe even a lot of time, if they have that much left on the basketball calendar.

“I don’t know,” Rivers said when asked about an emotional timetable. “We’re going home now. Usually that would mean we’re going to our safe haven, and I don’t even know if that’s true, to be honest. But I know I can get to them and I know they want to do right. And like I told them, the game’s on me. My fault. It’s my job. I gotta do a better job getting these guys ready to play basketball. And if it’s because of the other thing, it’s still my fault. It really is. I’m the coach and my job is to get my players ready to play. And I didn’t do my job.”

This is unchartered desert for experienced coaches too. No group has ever gone through this, during a 2-1 playoff series that just became 2-2, with hiding the name of their own team during warmups, amid proposals they stage a sit-in Sunday or that L.A. fans boycott Tuesday at home. Maybe as Air Force One passes overhead.

Surreal, all right. And worse yet for the Clippers, far from over. There are still the distractions ahead in Game 5, possibly with fans showing their displeasure toward Sterling by wearing black, and the punishment that is expected to be handed down within days, all in a 2-2 series against an underdog that has already won at Staples Center. Getting through this is just getting started.


VIDEO: Doc Rivers talks about the Clippers’ Game 4 loss

Election Day: ‘Barack To Barack’

Kendall Marshall, the rookie point guard of the Suns did not specify politics or not Tuesday night. But since he asked….

The NBA community was part of the Twitter traffic as President Barack Obama won re-election in a race that generated financial contributions from around the league, from players to coaches to owners to commisioner David Stern, for the Democratic incumbent and Republican nominee Mitt Romney. Royce White of the Rockets was poignant, DeJuan Blair of the Spurs celebrated, and Jason Richardson of the 76ers turned the phrase.

“Barack to Barack #Obama2012,” @jrich23 wrote as Obama closed in on a second consecutive White House win. (more…)

Hang Time Podcast (Episode 64)

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – You want to talk Washington politics, go somewhere else.

But if you want to talk Washington basketball, everything from the Dallas Mavericks’ visit to the White House to whether or not John Wall and the Wizards can keep Flip Saunders from getting stuck on the hot seat, you have come to the right place.

Episode 64 of the Hang Time Podcast has a decidedly Washington flavor, courtesy of two of our guests:

– Our main man Earl K. Sneed of Mavs.com joins us to talk about the reigning world champions and their recent visit to the home and workplace of President Barack Obama, among other things. (He comes on after our debate about what the Magic need to do with Dwight Howard and what the Chicago Bulls could have to do with it, courtesy of our guy Shaun Powell from NBA.com)

– Michael Lee of The Washington Post put the finishing touches on this episode, helping us break down what’s gone wrong with the Wizards, who still have issues to sort through after winning their first game of the season.

– Sandwiched between those two is an entertaining stint with Denver Nuggets strength and conditioning coach Steve Hess, who is a must-follow on Twitter (and who is trying to get to 10K followers — help the man out!). Hess gives us the scoop on the challenges teams are facing in regards to keeping their players healthy and energized on a nightly basis during this abbreviated season with the compressed schedule.

There is also a new item on the agenda (you need to listen to find out) that we’ll need your help with. So make sure to share your feedback with everybody in the comments section and on Twitter.

LISTEN HERE: 

As always, we welcome your feedback. You can follow the entire crew, including the Hang Time Podcast, co-hosts Lang Whitaker of SLAM Magazine and Sekou Smith of NBA.com, as well as our superproducer Micah Hart of NBA.com’s All Ball Blog.

– To download the podcast, click here. To subscribe via iTunes, click here, or get the xml feed if you want to subscribe some other, less iTunes-y way.

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The Big Author (Uncut) Reflects

– For labor updates, follow: @daldridgetnt | @AschNBA 

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Appreciation for days like this one, Veterans Day, were forged years ago in Shaquille O’Neal, the son of a father who served in the military.

Preparation for the days like this one and the many ahead has been a part of O’Neal’s thought process for years, long before he began his 19-year journey in the NBA.

Unlike countless others before him, O’Neal didn’t wrestle with the idea of what he’d do when his playing days ended. He’s already kicked off his career as a TNT analyst (check him out talking lockout with several of his new colleagues). His biography, “Shaq Uncut: My Story,” with Jackie MacMullan, hits the shelves Nov. 15 and will include an extensive book tour where fans will no doubt want to hear more about some of his legendary battles, on and off the court, with some of basketball’s biggest names.

“Going into the next phase of my life never worried me,” O’Neal said. “Growing up and watching everybody else’s successes and failures, I’ve prepared for this. I even talk about it in my book. My father came home one day and hit me in the back of the head with a book. He said, ‘read this.’ And it was Kareem‘s book on how he lost all his money. And my father told me, ‘it’s never going to happen to you.’ It’s all about having a plan. And that’s how I got here.”

That doesn’t mean he spared anyone or anything in his book. With an extensive history playing with and against some of the biggest names in the game — including the league’s three biggest current stars, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade — there will be plenty for fans to chew on once they get their hands on more than just the excerpts that have already circulated.

“The worst thing about the world we live in now, is there is more than one outlet that people respect. Back when we were coming up if it didn’t come from ESPN, NBC, CBS or ABC it didn’t have that stamp. But now, people are just taking excerpts and putting them out like they have the whole story,” O’Neal said of early criticisms, particularly his relationship with Bryant. “In the long run, it’s only going to help me have a No. 1 bestseller. Look, a lot of this stuff is just me reflecting on what’s already been out there and what’s been said. But a lot of guys that don’t have any creativity, guys like Bill Plaschke (of The Los Angeles Times) and Ric Bucher (of ESPN The Magazine), they don’t have any creativity to come up with their own stories. So to keep people paying attention and respect what they do, they keep bringing up old (expletive).

(more…)