The End of the Hoop Dream: A Journey to the Extreme Fringe of International Basketball. Fueled by desperation and long-shot hopes, a twentysomething huckster agent leads 10 end-of-the-line players on a European exposure tour. It could be their final chance at basketball glory, but will anyone buy what he’s selling?
Indiana Pacers to Wear "Hoosiers" Inspired Uniform: Pacers will wear ‘Hickory’ uniforms in select games starting in the 2015-16 season to celebrate the film’s 30th anniversary.
Zach Lowe's NBA Free-Agency Winners and Losers: Now that Marc Gasol and Robert Pera have come down from their tapas-and-wine bender across Barcelona, the last big-name free agent outside the LeBron Show is off the board. The first free-agency period of the NBA’s new money era mostly unfolded over a whirlwind 90 hours, starting with Al-Farouq Aminu’s move to Portland and ending when LaMarcus Aldridge broke away and headed to San Antonio. Even when most players re-sign with their old teams, free agency jolts the league’s balance of power and explodes new trends in the player-sharing economy.
DeAndre Jordan Signs with Dallas Mavericks: Center DeAndre Jordan has reached a free-agent deal with the Dallas Mavericks, league sources told ESPN. The deal's reportedly a four-year, $80 million max contract with a player option after the third season. Jordan, who was born in Houston and played for Texas A&M in college, led the league last season in field goal percentage at .710 and rebounds per game at 15.0 for the Los Angeles Clippers.
SpoFi NBA Pick 'Em final results: congratulations to grum@work and ic23b who tied for first place. (more inside)
Golden State Warriors Win NBA Title: Stephen Curry scored 25 points and dished eight assists Tuesday as Golden State defeated Cleveland 105-97 to claim the Warriors' first NBA championship in four decades. LeBron James, who almost single-handedly made the series competitive, finished with 32 points, 18 rebounds and nine assists for the Cavaliers. Andre Iguodala of the Warriors was chosen as the NBA Finals MVP.
Warriors Win Game 5, Need One More for NBA Championship: Stephen Curry scored seven three-pointers and 37 points, leading the Golden State Warriors to a 104-91 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers that puts the team one win from an NBA championship. LeBron James had his second triple-double of the Finals with 40 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists, but it wasn't enough. There were 20 lead changes in the game but the Warriors pulled away late.
Golden State Exposes Cleveland in Game 4 Rout: The Golden State Warriors played like a heavy favorite for the first time in the NBA Finals, beating the Cleveland Cavaliers 103-82 in game 4 Thursday. Stephen Curry and Andre Iguodala each scored 22 for the visitors to even the series at 2. But Daniel McGraw of The Guardian called the Warriors' performance "hardly stellar." LeBron James, who scored 20, had an eventful game off the court, banging his head on a courtside camera and accidentally flashing the ABC audience in a wardrobe malfunction.
LeBron James Puts Cavaliers Up 2-1 on Warriors: The Cleveland Cavaliers won game 3 of the NBA Finals Tuesday night, a 96-91 victory over the Golden State Warriors. LeBron James nearly had another triple-double and Matthew Dellavedova scored a three to halt a Warriors rally, crashed the lane and scored with a foul from Stephen Curry and dellave-dove for some loose balls. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports is losing his mind over the possibility of James winning it all with such a motley crew. "This possible championship will hold the deepest significance in history," he writes. "It is the greatest basketball story told."
James Scores Triple-Double as Cavs Even NBA Finals at 1: LeBron James scored a triple-double -- 39 points, 16 rebounds and 11 assists -- in leading the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 95-93 overtime victory over the Golden State Warriors Sunday night that evens the NBA Finals at 1-1. As good as James was, Warriors star Stephen Curry was the opposite, shooting 5 of 23 (2 of 15 from 3-point range) with six turnovers. The Cavs shot 32.2 percent, the lowest of a winning playoff team in at least 30 years. "If you expect us to play sexy cute basketball, that's not us right now," James said. "Everything is tough and it has to be that for rest of series."
Warriors Win Game 1 of Finals Despite LeBron's 44 Points: The Golden State Warriors won game 1 of the NBA Finals, 108-100, over the Cleveland Cavaliers despite LeBron James scoring 44 points. Cavs guard Iman Shumpert had a chance to win it at the end of regulation with a desperation heave after a James airball, but it barely missed. Warriors center Andrew Bogut said of James, "We'll live with him shooting a lot of shots and scoring 40 because we feel like a lot of guys who are key to them winning a series don't get touches and don't get going." More bad news for the Cavs: Kyrie Irving hurt his knee.
SpoFil NBA Playoff Pick 'Em: Finals Edition. Picks must be in before game one starts at 9 PM Eastern on Thursday night.
Matthew Dellavedova and the Australian Way.: “What the fuck are you staring at?” That’s the attitude Australia takes into the world, in sport as in much else."
Golden State Reaches First NBA Finals in 40 Years: Stephen Curry's 26 points and 8 rebounds helped the Golden State Warriors defeat the Houston Rockets 104-90 at home for a 4-1 series win Wednesday night. The Warriors are in the NBA Finals for the first time since winning the championship in 1975. Alvin Attles, the coach of that team, handed Curry the conference trophy after the game. "The Bay Area's been waiting for 40 years," Curry said. "I think it's time."
LeBron Takes Cavaliers to NBA Finals in First Season Back: The Cleveland Cavaliers swept aside the Atlanta Hawks 118-88 Tuesday night to complete a 4-0 series win, advancing to the NBA Finals for the second time in franchise history. LeBron James had 23 points, nine rebounds and seven assists. He becomes the first player to reach the Finals five times in a row since Bill Russell and three teammates in the Boston Celtics dynasty of the 1960s.
Rockets Avoid Sweep Behind Harden Heroics, Curry Tumble: NBA playoff teams are 0-116 after trailing a series 0-3. The Houston Rockets have taken the first step towards ending that streak, defeating the Golden State Warriors 128-115 at home after going ahead 45-22 in the first quarter. James Harden scored a career playoff-high 45 points and had nine rebounds and five assists. Warriors star Stephen Curry took a frightening head-first spill in the second quarter and was down for several minutes, suffering a head contusion, but came back after halftime. The Western Conference Finals go back to California Wednesday for another elimination game.
LeBron's Epic Night Puts Cavaliers Up 3-0 on Hawks: LeBron James had 37 points, 18 rebounds and 13 assists, historic combined totals for an NBA game, in the Cleveland Cavaliers' 114-11 overtime win over the Atlanta Hawks in game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals Sunday. The Cavs now have an all-but-insurmountable 3-0 series lead. Hawks center Al Horford was ejected shortly before the half ended for throwing an elbow at the Cavs' Matthew Dellavedova after Dellavedova fell roughly into Horford's leg.
Golden State Routs Houston, Takes Commanding 3-0 Lead: Led by Stephen Curry's 40 points, the Golden State Warriors defeated the Houston Rockets 115-80 and now have a 3-0 lead in the Western Conference Finals. Curry has 59 threes this playoffs, a new NBA record, beating Reggie Miller in nine fewer games. Golden State is one win from its first trip to the NBA Finals since its 1975 championship, back when Rick Barry and Jamaal Wilkes won a sweep as underdogs over the Washington Bullets.
Hall of Fame Harlem Globetrotter Marques Haynes Dies: Marques Haynes, the first Harlem Globetrotters player to be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame, has died in Plano, Texas, at age 89. This New York Times story shows that Haynes was part of some historic moments in sports. He was playing for the Globetrotters when they beat the all-white Minneapolis Lakers and their star center George Mikan in 1948 and 1949, helping lead to basketball's integration. He also appeared with Jesse Owens at Olympic Stadium in 1951, 16 years after Owen's four gold medals showed up Hitler. "He got out of that helicopter, and there was an announcement: Jesse Owens has just arrived. Boy, that stadium went wild," Haynes recalled.
Cavaliers Beat Hawks by 12, Lead Eastern Finals 2-0: LeBron James scored 30 points and the Cleveland Cavaliers took total command of the Eastern Conference Finals, beating the Atlanta Hawks on the road 94-82 and taking a 2-0 series lead. The Cavs didn't have Kyrie Irving but it didn't matter. "The Hawks looked totally outclassed for one of the few times all season," reported AP.
SpoFi NBA Pick 'Em: Round Two results and Conference Finals Picks. Picks need to be in by 9:00 PM Eastern on Tuesday (tomorrow) before game 1 of the Rockets/Warriors tips off.
SpoFi NBA Playoff Pick 'Em: Round Two. First game tips off at 1 PM Eastern tomorrow, so hurry up and get your picks in.
Sources: Billy Donovan will coach the OKC Thunder: The University of Florida men's coach will replace Scott Brooks, who was fired last week after an injury-riddled season that ended without a playoff berth.
Charles Barkley: Rick Carlisle should bench Rajon Rondo permanently.: Rondo's game 2 performance at Houston featured a first-half uncontested 8-second violation which he followed by drawing two personal fouls and a technical foul in the first 34 seconds of the third quarter. Rondo didn't see the court again and declined to speak to reporters after the game. He is widely rumored to sign a free-agent contract with the Lakers in the off-season.
Losing Wisconsin Coach Laments 'Rent-a-Player' Trend: After Duke beat Wisconsin for the men's NCAA basketball championship, shots were still being taken. Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan: "We don't do a rent-a-player." Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill: "Congrats to Duke, but I was rooting for team who had stars that are actually going to college and not just doing semester tryout for NBA." She later added: "I see I have stirred things up. Sorry, but I'm sad about the one and done thing. I understand why it's happening, but I don't have to like it."
The best 3-point shooter you never saw: "Durante’s name is still whispered on the Catawba campus four decades after his heyday. He was a lefty scoring machine with lightning in his legs. He shot often, connected often."
NFL Drops Blackout Rule for 2015 Season: The National Football League is dropping its blackout rule for the 2015 season. The rule prevents games from being broadcast in a team's home market if the tickets aren't sold out. It's been around since the 1950s, when NFL games were first televised. Roughly one game out of ten was blacked out under the rule as recently as 2004, and in 1996 it was one out of three games. But there were no games blacked out last season.
John Oliver tackles the NCAA and student athletes: In an extended segment on Sunday's "Last Week Tonight", John Oliver delved into the issue of unpaid "student-athletes" and the onerous and exploitative NCAA money machine.
Yahoo Tourney Pick'em Pool:
I didn't see one created for SpoFi, so I threw one together.
Your 2015 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament bracket.: And here's the printable version (PDF). I got NC State whoopin up on Carolina in the Final. You?
"Why not go for 70?": An Oral History of Larry Bird's 60-Point Game.
High School Players: Root for Our Opponent: The Gainesville Tornados, a high school basketball team in Texas, sometimes play with zero fans in attendance because they're a juvenile correction facility. Two players for Vanguard Prep in Waco did something unusual and asked some of their fans to root for the other team. The idea took off and the Gainesville players took the court to the shock of seeing their own fan section, signs and cheerleading squad.
College Player Scores 30 Points in Final 4.5 Minutes: The good news: Florida State freshman guard Xavier Rathan-Mayes scored 30 points in the final 4:38 against Miami Wednesday night. The bad news: Florida State still lost 81-77. Rathan-Mayers racked up the points with six three-pointers, two layups and eight free throws. He says, "The arena was quiet. It was like I was in there by myself. It was a feeling I've never, ever felt before. There was nothing else happening around me."
UNC's Legendary Coach Dean Smith Dies: Legendary University of North Carolina head basketball coach Dean Smith died Saturday evening at the age of 83, according to the University of North Carolina. He had battled dementia for years, and according to a family statement provided to UNC, he "passed away peacefully" in his Chapel Hill home with his wife and five children by his side. Smith coached the Tar Heels from 1961 to 1997, tallying a record of 879-254 in 36 seasons. The school named its basketball arena for Smith in 1986, and it's referred to as "the Dean Dome."
Playing with the Big Boys (and Girls): How Koko, Beans and Flash, some color-coordinated socks and coaching are changing the face of grade-school basketball in Springfield, Illinois.
High school coach suspended after basketball team wins by 159 points.:
"The game just got away from me," Anderson told the San Bernardino Sun on Friday. "I didn't play any starters in the second half. I didn't expect them to be that bad. I'm not trying to embarrass anybody."
Kobe Bryant's Below-Average Midrange Jumper: ESPN NBA analyst Tom Haberstroh produces a Big Number series of short videos that call attention to interesting stats in the game. His latest focuses on the huge number of contested midrange jumpers Kobe Bryant is taking -- and mostly missing.
What Jeffrey Gamblero Knew About the Nets: Bryan Joiner remembers Brooklyn Nets fan Jeffrey Gamblero: "For those two years, our seats were in the upper level, but it was impossible to miss him. He was always on the Jumbotron and fluttering in the aisles, constant movement and energy and action. ... In this sea of blandness, Gamblero stood out. He seemed to care, even if wasn't clear quite why or how. It's clearer now."