LaMelo Ball-Zion Williamson matchup causes Vegas chaos
LaMelo Ball vs. Zion Williamson is kind of a big deal.
In fact, a matchup between two of basketball’s elite prospects caused what ESPN.com described as a chaotic scene Wednesday, as police capped entry to the Las Vegas gym where the pair’s AAU teams faced off at the Adidas Uprising Summer Championships.
None of these are acceptable angles to take when it comes to digesting his comments. It’s such a tired narrative that the NBA today has gone soft and that the players of today’s game would never survive in Oakley’s era. The game has changed, but that doesn’t mean the product is worse, and it certainly doesn’t mean the masculinity of the players should be a topic of conversation, and a topic of derision.
The NBA has been progressive in some regards when it comes to the inclusion of women. The San Antonio Spurs hired former WNBA star Becky Hammon as an assistant coach in 2014, making her the first full-time assistant coach in any of the major four North American sports leagues. In 1997, Violet Palmer became the first female referee to call a game at the professional level in a major U.S. sport.
But these comments from Oakley shouldn’t be glossed over, and they shouldn’t be tolerated because of his persona as a tough guy. There’s nothing tough or acceptable about the words he chose, and they shouldn’t be welcomed as part of the lexicon of how we talk about the modern game of basketball.
Kyrie Irving met with Cavaliers brass after the season was over and something was said. It has been widely reported that Irving asked for a trade, and what may be more telling than anything is the Cavaliers are not denying that.
In Koby Altman’s introduction as the Cavs general manager Wednesday, the very first question asked was about Irving’s reported request for a trade. The answer was veiled but telling and it certainly appears that Irving asked for a trade. Neither Altman nor owner Dan Gilbert denied it.
One referee either didn’t get the message or ignored it, as she slapped Ball with a technical foul Friday. After he threatened to pull his team off the court, she was removed from the game.
Adidas acknowledged it was the company’s decision to take the ref off the game.
There was some miscommunication, said Chris Rivers, Adidas director of global basketball sports marketing, per ESPN. The NBA don’t put certain people with certain guys, either. If there’s a history or miscommunication, that happens.
During his team’s win Thursday, Ball told a different ref, You’re the worst (expletive) ref who ever lived.
Said the source, Under normal circumstances, the sideline behavior, including profanity and sideline antics, would have demanded a technical foul under the category of disrespecting the game.
But, the source added, Due to strong messaging (from Adidas) to extend those guidelines in an effort to keep (LaVar Ball) in the gym, the officiating crew felt uncomfortable enforcing the technical foul rule for actions that clearly warranted (action).