Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James stated that he supported San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s right to protest but indicated he will not join the San Francisco quarterback, as well as a number of professional athletes, in protest during the national anthem.
James will stand.
“Me standing for the national anthem is something I will do,” James said on Monday. “That’s who I am. That’s what I believe in. But that doesn’t mean I don’t respect and don’t believe in what Colin Kaepernick is doing. You have the right to voice your opinion, stand for your opinion, and he’s doing it in the most peaceful way I’ve ever seen someone do something.”
James has been outspoken about social issues facing the country for years and made headlines when he joined fellow NBA players Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade and Chris Paul on stage at the ESPY’s for a powerful speech.
“For me, my personal feelings is that I got a 12-year-old son, a 9-year-old son and a 2-year-old daughter, and I look at my son being four years removed from driving his own car and being able to leave the house on his own, and it’s a scary thought right now to think if my son gets pulled over,” James said.
“You tell your kids if you just apply [the lessons you teach them] and if you just listen to the police that they will be respectful and it will work itself out. And you see these videos that continue to come out, and it’s a scary-ass situation that if my son calls me and says that he’s been pulled over that I’m not that confident that things are going to go well and my son is going to return home. And my son just started the sixth grade.”
James also commented about the backlash Kaepernick has been receiving.
“What I do not like about the situation is the negative attention that has been thrown upon him by some people because it’s not deserved,” James said. “He was very educated, very smart, very candid and very demanding about what he wanted to do, and he didn’t ask anyone else to join him. And he did it in the most peaceful manner I’ve ever seen anyone stand up and do something. So I can respect that. And the things that I do personally, when I’m knowledgeable about it and I’m passionate about it, I’ll do that as well and let you guys know when those things are because I’ll tell you.”
James, vice president of the player’s association, spoke about the NBA’s efforts to discuss the matter with players.
“The fact that the league has come out and said they’re going to continue to give back to the communities and hone in on what’s important, we feel like we did our job,” James said.
“We just wanted the conversation to continue to go, to understand that police brutality and killings and things of that nature of innocent people, it’s not the answer. You mourn the lives of so many innocent people and you pray for the families of so many innocent people over this course of time, in this short period of time. So you feel for that.”
James clarified that his stance was not aimed at police misconduct but directed towards the need for race relations to improve.
“We just wanted the conversation to continue to keep going, and I don’t have the answer,” James said. “None of us have the answer. But the more times that we can talk about it and the more times that we can [converse] about it [the better]. Because I’m not up here saying that all police are bad, because they’re not. I’m not up here saying all kids are great or all adults are great, because they’re not. But at the same time, all lives do matter. It’s not just black or white, it’s not that. It’s everyone. So it’s just tough being a parent right now when you have a preteen. But the conversation, it’s continued from the speech that myself, D-Wade, CP and Melo had, and that’s definitely a good thing.”
Cavaliers General Manager David Griffin also spoke about the issues with a passionate response.
“I think far too much is being made of what form of non-violent protest somebody chooses to implement and not nearly enough is being paid to the actual issues that spawn that outrage in the first place,” Griffin said. “I think this is a situation for us where non-violence and direct action, as Dr. [Martin Luther] King [Jr.] said, is supposed to engender a sense of moral shame. We should be ashamed of what’s going on in this country that prompted the initial protest in the first place. And I’m really, really honored to be a part of a league where [NBA commissioner] Adam Silver and Michele Roberts are working in conjunction with the players’ association to try to find a way to bring meaningful change and to impact the issue rather than talk about how one person chose to deal with their outrage over the issue.
“And we have players in that room that are really mature, veteran people that want to make an impact. So we’re all going to talk about the political correctness of what they do, I’d really like us to start talking about what’s going on and trying to reach the core of what’s going on. So, we will talk to our players as a team. I’m very confident that we’ll arrive at a place that’s pretty inspired because we got a group of guys that are really about the right things, and I think have a very real moral fiber, but I just don’t think this should be a topic that continues anymore. Let’s start talking about what we actually did about it.”
Steph Curry Talks LeBron James Trash Talking During Game 1 of NBA Finals
Golden State Warriors superstar Steph Curry is gearing up, along with his team, to defend their 2018 NBA Championship, their 2nd in a row and 3rd in 4 years, when the 2018-2019 regular season kicks off this fall, but he is still discussing the 2018 NBA Finals.
Curry and James’ relationship is seemingly in an odd place. James was “like a mentor” to Curry when curry was in college playing at Davidson, but things seem a bit icy now as Curry’s Warriors and James’ Cavaliers (James is now on the Los Angeles Lakers) met in some heated battles in the NBA Finals over the past couple of years.
Despite the shift in their relationship, Curry was still caught of guard by James’ approach, particularly in Game 1 of the 2018 NBA Finals.
“It was never going to spill over to that” Curry said, during an appearance on The Bill Simmons Podcast (h/t NBC Sports Bay Area’s Drew Shiller).
“But it was an interesting moment …I was hot because I was trying to finish out a possession, I think it was less than a minute left, I didn’t see him coming over from the weak side so I tried to do a little soft scoop layup and he pinned it. Then he stared me down and he said something to me.
“And I was like, ‘That’s what we’re really on right now? We’re about to win and you’re worried about mean-blocking my shot and talking trash?’ And then the whole Tristan and Draymond thing happened and I went back up to him and I was like, ‘Yo, what’s up? Is this really what we’re about right now?’
“And he was like, ‘I gotta do that to make sure my teammates know I’m a mentor’ and it’s a part of his leadership and that type of deal. And I was like, ‘I don’t want to be the sacrificial lamb for your leadership.’ (laughter). Come on man, that’s messed up.”
The rift goes a bit deeper than that, and a book from The Athletic’s Marcus Thompson, entitled ‘Golden: The Miraculous Rise of Steph Curry’, it is elaborated, highlighting a 2016 Halloween Party thrown by James that featured a dummy of Steph Curry that was on the floor, forcing guests to step over it.
Now that the two are in the same division, thanks to James’ signing with the Lakers, betting websites will have a field day this season when the two teams take the court, and James continues his mission to topple the juggernaut Warriors.
Cavs’ Tristan Thompson Allegedly Punched Warriors’ Draymond Green at Night Club
Cleveland Cavaliers forward Tristan Thompson and Golden State Warriors’ forward Draymond Green apparently took their on-court beef off the court as the two allegedly had an altercation at a Los Angeles night club.
When Green persisted, Thompson punched Green.
Green and Thompson got into it numerous times throughout the Finals, with Green even insulting Thompson as Thompson attempted to shake his hand following the infamous Game 4.
Here is more from The Big Lead’s Jason McIntyre:
Draymond Green was not the aggressor, he was trying to make peace. Tristan felt embarrassed by the end of the Finals diss moment and just unloaded. Couple players i spoke here in LA/on social media went with, “about time”
— Jason McIntyre (@jasonrmcintyre) July 31, 2018
Kevin Love Signs Extension With the Cavs
Kevin Love surprised the Twitter GMs and signed a 4 year, $120 million extension to stay in Cleveland. The full value of the deal will wash out to 5 years and about $145 million, around $10 million below his max for an extension. This clearly signals that Dan Gilbert and the Cavaliers want to remain competitive in the wake of LeBron James’ exodus.
The initial reaction across the NBA landscape was that Cleveland would look to tear the roster down to the studs and start over. The Cavs owe their 2019 first round pick to Atlanta if it falls outside of the top 10, so trading Kevin Love would’ve not only helped clear their books, but also almost guaranteed that they keep their pick. Bringing him back into the fold makes that much more precarious. The roster now contains a mixed bag of inconsistent youth and holdovers from the most recent LeBron era that won’t take kindly to a middling team not in the championship conversation. The Cavs seem to be split between two paths.
But that’s not forever. According to ESPN’s Bobby Marks, “Cleveland is still projecting to have close to $70M in cap space during the summer of 2020 to reshape the roster.” The Cavs can get off of George Hill, JR Smith and Kyle Korver for less than $10 million after this season. That leaves only Tristan Thompson and Jordan Clarkson as expiring contracts in the following season to free the Cavs of all their (current) bad money. Cleveland is never going to be a free agent destination without LeBron, but keeping Kevin Love makes them a much more attractive option for free agents, and they’ll have plenty of money to play with.
If that doesn’t pan out, Cleveland can still trade Love in the future. This extension makes him a cost-controlled asset, giving other teams more certainty. Yes, it’s more years and more money but Kevin Love is still an All-Star. Making him the focal point of the offense should allow him to put up big numbers and recoup some of the market value he’s lost while playing a diminished role alongside LeBron. In the coming years, all the ghastly cap-spike deals will be coming off teams’ books, opening lots of cap space around the league. There are only so many stars available and some teams will inevitably strike out. Combine that with some pressure from ownership to win now and Kevin Love can be a very desirable option.
Even with the extension the Cavs are far from a playoff lock. Their second best player may very well be a rookie. So perhaps an injury or a few strategically placed DNPs could allow them to keep their pick. Either way, Love wanted to stay in Cleveland. That’s a nice change for a city that doesn’t have a lot of experience with that. The goalposts for success have changed, but after years of watching this team trudge through the doldrums of the regular season, this young, talented team could be a lot of fun for fans to watch night in and night out.
Follow David on Twitter @dmcgowan24
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