Posts tagged with "playoffs"

Rita Azar Illustrates a Basketball Article for 360 MAGAZINE

Jaylen Brown x George Floyd Bill

by Justin Lyons

Jaylen Brown, Boston Celtics wing, in a press conference Sunday said he would like to see the city of Boston pass the George Floyd bill.

Brown, who has been one of the more active players in social justice conversations throughout the NBA, was asked about the Celtics’ commitment to spend $25 million over the next ten years to fight social injustice.

He said it was a great step, and that change happens over a period of time, but he thinks there are things that can be catalysts for change right now.

“One thing I would like to see in Boston is the George Floyd bill enacted,” Brown said, adding that conversations need to be had about police and qualified immunity. “Some things just need to be held accountable, and hopefully Boston can be a place where a tone is set that can be transpired in other cities.”

Brown went on to say that he thinks Boston is moving in the right direction, but he would still like to see more companies and organizations be diversified as well as more opportunities for people of color.

“I’m proud to be a part of the Celtics organization. I’m proud to have an ownership group, or a leadership group, that’s willing to take these steps because they recognize that we need to live in a better, more forward progressing world.”

The George Floyd bill, or H.R.7120, aims to achieve a few goals.

First, it would lower the criminal intent standard to convict an officer of law enforcement. The standard currently requires that officers act willfully, while H.R.7120 would only necessitate that officers act knowingly or recklessly.

Second, it would limit qualified immunity, which grants officers immunity in lawsuits regarding violations of constitutional rights of civilians.

Third, it would allow the Department of Justice to issue authorizations to investigate departments demonstrating patterns of discriminatory practices.

It would also create a national registry of police misconduct, lay the bricks for prohibition of racial profiling and implement new standards for training regarding racial profiling and use of body cameras.

It passed in the House of Representatives by a vote of 236-181, and it will move to the Senate.

Brown’s comments come just weeks after NBA players boycotted games on behalf of Jacob Blake, whom was shot seven times by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and victims of police brutality everywhere.

A reporter asked Brown if he thought the boycott’s message was still effective even as players returned to the court.

“These issues have been here for a very, very long time, and they’re still going to be here regardless of if we protest or not or boycott or not. I think sports plays a huge role in society, and I’m very aware of that, so using our platform is something I’m always going to support,” Brown answered.

While he said the cure for racism might not come from the NBA, the players can always use their platform to let the world know that these issues are important.

Brown, who wears the word “Liberation” on the back of his jersey, scored 21 points and picked up eight rebounds to help the Celtics defeat the Toronto Raptors Friday by a score of 92-87. They advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals where they will meet up with the Miami Heat, who are playing on six days of rest after eliminating the Milwaukee Bucks in just five games.

The first game of the series begins Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. EST with the Celtics favored by a point and a half.

Rita Azar illustrates NBA basketball story for 360 MAGAZINE.

NBA Protests

by Justin Lyons

The clock struck 4:05 p.m. on Aug 26 in Orlando, and neither the Magic nor the Bucks were on the court for the tip-off of the fifth game of their playoff series.

Playing their home games just 40 miles from Kenosha, Wisconsin, it’s safe to say that the shooting of Jacob Blake by Kenosha police literally hit close to home for the Bucks players.

The Orlando Magic originally took the court for their game, but they decided to leave when it appeared the Bucks weren’t coming. That court was now empty aside from the NBA logos, the regulation markings and “Black Lives Matter” in bold text across the side closest to the scorer’s table.

Then, the tweet from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski came at 4:13 p.m. Orlando time saying that the Bucks officially decided to boycott the fifth game of the series.

News broke later that the Rockets, Thunder, Trail Blazers and Lakers all decided to boycott their games, as well, in a show of unity.

It was the spark that started the fire, as basketball wouldn’t be played again until Aug. 29.

Bucks guard George Hill was one of the most outspoken players on the team regarding the shooting of Jacob Blake, making it very clear that he couldn’t continue to play basketball to distract from the reality of what’s happening in the United States.

The Brewers, the Milwaukee baseball team that plays its home games just a short drive from where the Bucks play, also decided to cancel their Aug. 26 game against the Reds.

Brewers star Christian Yelich said it was a unanimous decision from the team to not play.

“I think the Bucks spearheaded it for us,” Yelich said. “They started the discussion. It gave us a conversation to have. It was eye-opening for us, and we felt like it was the right thing to do.”

The NHL also joined in the protests, postponing games Aug. 27 and Aug. 28.

Later on the night of Aug. 26, Shams Charania reported via Twitter that the Lakers and Clippers, both of which are still contenders for the title, voted to boycott the rest of the season. LeBron James reportedly led the movement to cancel the season, which is no surprise given his history of fighting for social justice.

Giannis Antetokounmpo said the Bucks were able to get in contact with Blake’s father very quickly. Blake’s father was moved to tears by the gesture.

According to an article from ESPN, Antetokounmpo said, “Obviously, it’s gonna be games that you come in and score 30, 35, 50 or whatever the case might be, but that you’re going to remember. The way we felt, we’re going to remember the way we felt for the rest of our lives.”

The Bucks were eliminated from the playoffs Tuesday, which begs the question of how they will respond. Hill expressed disappointment that he had to be in the Orlando bubble instead of fighting for justice, so it should be interesting to see where the Bucks go from here.

Eyes are also shifting to the NFL, which starts Thursday. The entire nation will have its eyes on protests and social justice initiatives from a league that has been just as outspoken as the NBA.

Timberwolves Trade Jimmy Butler To Sixers

By Reid Urban

The Jimmy Butler era in Minnesota has finally ended.

The Timberwolves have agreed to send their star, along with Justin Patton, to the Philadelphia 76ers for Robert Covington, Dario Saric, Jerryd Bayless, and a 2022 second-round pick. A trade call with the league to finalize the deal has been set for Monday.

For Sixers GM Elton Brand, this is his first major move since being named the GM a few months ago. This move will now allow the Sixers to have a third star on the team alongside Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid without luring an impact player in the 2019 free agency period.

Mark Suleymanov of Hoops Rumors believes that this move could also take pressure off their 2017 first overall pick Markelle Fultz, as many had expected him to be the third star on that team. That has not worked out the way Philadelphia wanted it to yet.

Assuming that all goes well in Philadelphia, it could signal the way for both sides to reach an agreement on a long-term. In fact, it is believed Philadelphia wants to have the big three of Butler, Simmons, and Embiid around long-term. However, a major injury or poor play from Simmons and Embiid alongside Butler could diminish that possibility.

As for Minnesota, this trade ends the two-month saga of Butler asking for a trade request. This all started before training camps got underway before the season began, and this news of a trade request broke during a meeting between Butler and Timberwolves coach and president of basketball operations Tom Thibodeau. Although Butler didn’t initially report to camp, he eventually rejoined the team after the Wolves couldn’t find a trade partner right away. However, things took a somewhat sour turn with Butler’s expletive-filled rant in a preseason practice. Now, things have resolved themsleves, as Butler’s departure will give the team an opportunity to focus on a future centered around their young core in both Karl Anthony-Towns and Andrew Wiggins.

The Wolves will now add both Covington and Saric to their long-term plans. Saric won’t be a restricted free agency until 2020 and Covington is locked up through 2022. The team understandably didn’t want to take a step back in their roster-building process, having made the playoffs last season after a long absence out. As for Bayless, if the team can’t find a plan for him, he’ll be most likely bought out by the Wolves.

Looks like both teams got what they wanted in this deal. It gives Butler an opportunity to play with some stars and potentially become a long-term asset for the Sixers, while the Wolves get some players and a pick, in hopes that this trade will help them continue where they left off.

OLYMPICS x LIVE STREAM

The Winter Olympics in South Korea may be 14 time zones removed from the Eastern Time Zone of the US — but 43% of Americans say they plan to watch NBC’s live streaming content during the Games, with only 48% saying they did not have such plans.

A big chunk of the country — 63% — say they will watch at least some coverage of the Games, which begin Friday, February 8.  That is double those who said “no” (31%) to watching any coverage.

“That is a healthy number of people turning to devices other than television,” noted Rick Gentile, director of the poll, which is sponsored by the Sharkey Institute.   “You might call this the breakthrough year for streaming coverage making a big impact.”