Jerry Sloan dies at 78 following long battle with dementia, Parkinson’s

Basketball Hall of Famer Jerry Sloan has died following a long battle with Parkinson’s disease and dementia.

The Utah Jazz announced on Thursday morning that Sloan has died at age 78. The team issued a statement praising the former coach for all he meant to the franchise.

“Jerry Sloan will always be synonymous with the Utah Jazz,” the statement read. “He will forever be a part of the Utah Jazz organization and we join his family, friends and fans in mourning his loss. We are so thankful for what he accomplished here in Utah and the decades of dedication, loyalty and tenacity he brought to our franchise.”

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Originally posted on Larry Brown Sports By Steve DelVecchio | Last updated 5/22/20

Timberwolves to reopen practice facility

The Timberwolves will reopen their practice facility for voluntary individual workouts on Thursday, May 21, the team announced Wednesday in a press release.

According to the announcement, the Wolves worked in conjunction with local government officials, infectious disease experts and public health authorities in making their decision.

On top of the strict restrictions put in place by the NBA for teams reopening their facilities, the Wolves will enact a few of their own rules. According to the club, only one player and one coach will be permitted on the court at a time, and player workouts will be limited to 45 minutes. Additionally, contact tracing will be administered upon entry to the building, per the Wolves.

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Originally posted on Hoops Rumors | By Luke Adams | Last updated 5/20/20

NBA advising players, staff to avoid flying when returning to team

NBA teams have begun re-opening their practice facilities in areas of the country where stay-at-home restrictions have been lifted, but the league continues to stress the importance of following safety protocols. One of those is to avoid flying whenever possible.

The NBA sent a memo to teams this week urging them to have players and staff members drive rather than fly when returning to work, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports.

Originally posted on Larry Brown Sports By Steve DelVecchio | Last updated 5/14/20

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ESPN ranks Michael Jordan over LeBron James in greatest NBA players list

The argument is over. All discussions regarding the NBA’s greatest G.O.A.T. are to cease and desist immediately. While we’re at it, Association followers can sculpt the Mount Rushmore of the best players to ever dribble a basketball.

At least, that’s all according to ESPN.

In one of the least surprising sports developments since the coronavirus pandemic shut leagues down in March, the Worldwide Leader named Michael Jordan the greatest NBA player of all time.

Only His Airness sits above LeBron James, as the three-time champion checked in at No. 2.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the man with more points than any player in history, is No. 3. Bill Russell, who won a record 11 championships as a player, and Magic Johnson finish out the top five.

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By Zac Wassink | Last updated 5/13/20

LeBron James, other stars want to resume 2019-20 NBA season?

On Tuesday, ESPN NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski reported that National Basketball Players Association regional representatives had reached out to players about their thoughts on finishing the 2019-20 season that was halted on March 11 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

That afternoon, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports wrote some of the biggest names in the NBA are willing to play as long as they feel their safety is ensured.

Per Haynes, NBPA president and Oklahoma City Thunder guard Chris Paul spoke with LeBron James, Anthony Davis (James’ teammate with the Los Angeles Lakers), reigning NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, three-time champion guard Stephen Curry, two-time NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard, two-time NBA Finals MVP Kevin Durant, one-time NBA MVP Russell Westbrook, and Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard on Monday.

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By Zac Wassink | Last updated 5/12/20

Helicopter pilot’s representative blames crash on Kobe Bryant, passengers

Well, this is… wild to say the least. The representative of the pilot who was flying the helicopter that killed Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and six other passengers in January says the people on board were responsible for the crash, according to TMZ.

The relative of the pilot answered Vanessa Bryant’s lawsuit against Ara George Zobayan and the helicopter company, blaming the passengers for negligence. 

“Any injuries or damages to plaintiffs and/or their decedent were directly caused in full or in part by the negligence or fault of plaintiffs and/or their decedent, including their knowing and voluntary encounter with the risks involved, and that this negligence was a substantial factor in causing their purported damages, for which this answering defendant bears no responsibility,” the relative said, according to TMZ.

The lawsuit doesn’t state how the passengers may have been negligent or assumed risk. You have to imagine all passengers were sitting in their seats comfortably and behaving properly before the crash.

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By Erin Walsh | Last updated 5/11/20

Michael Jordan says only his father knew about shocking first retirement

Michael Jordan shocked the basketball world when he stepped away from the NBA after the 1993 season and pursued a career in professional baseball for two years. Even some of his teammates said they were stunned by the announcement. But there was one person who knew it was coming: Jordan’s dad.

During episode 7 of “The Last Dance” documentary on ESPN, Jordan said his father was the only person who knew about the plans.

“After we won the (1993) championship, I sat in the gym with my father. In the back of my mind, I knew that was probably my last game. And nobody really knew except my father and myself,” Jordan said in the documentary.

Michael said he viewed his father as a friend as much as a dad.

“He was my rock. We were very close. He constantly gave advice.”

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Originally posted on Larry Brown Sports | By Larry Brown | Last updated 5/10/20

Kevin Durant reportedly not returning regardless of when season resumes

The lengthy postponement of the NBA season has led to some chatter that Kevin Durant could be far enough along in his recovery to play this year, but apparently the Brooklyn Nets are not considering that option.

During his podcast this week, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski spoke about the risk of star players getting injured if the NBA rushes into the resumption of the season after so much time off. Woj also touched on the idea of the interruption giving Durant more time to heal, insisting that Durant playing this season is “not happening.”

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Originally posted on Larry Brown Sports By Steve DelVecchio | Last updated 5/10/20

NBA to follow German soccer league model with return-to-play plan?

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver held a conference call with players on Friday to discuss a potential return to the season amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

While the league is still ways away from a potential return, plans are being set into motion. One possibility is that the 2019-20 season will return from suspension in “bubbles” at both Walt Disney World in Florida and the Las Vegas Strip.

Silver’s call with players were more informational than anything. Players have concerns over returning to the court while the U.S. is still the epicenter of the pandemic and with widespread testing still unavailable to the masses.

The U.S. conducted just six million tests from January through the end of April. That’s a very small percentage of the population. As it relates to the NBA, tens of thousands of tests will need to be conducted if the Association is able to resume its season.

The NBA is now apparently looking to model its return-to-play plan after Germany’s Bundesliga soccer league, according to Raptors general manager Bobby Webster.

“Along with the NBA, we are all following that and I think if they are a couple of weeks in front of us, it will be hopefully useful and directional for us to look at,” Webster told reporters recently, via Sportsnet. “Everyone is looking at that. Definitely the German league is starting up, or at least the training part, and looking at leagues that are currently playing without fans (Korea) just operationally, what does it look like. It’s not exactly the same situation as us, but I think we are learning and we will learn from both situations.”

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Originally posted on Sportsnaut | By Vincent Frank | Last updated 5/9/20

Report: Only three NBA teams committed to reopening facilities on Friday

As of the afternoon of May 6, the NBA remains committed to allowing franchises to reopen team facilities to players, albeit under strict guidelines, on Friday amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The majority of clubs seem prepared and happy to wait things out a little longer.

On Wednesday, Jeff Zillgitt and Mark Medina of USA Today reported that only the Denver Nuggets, Houston Rockets and Portland Trail Blazers are currently planning to open facilities to players and other club personnel on May 8.

The Nuggets believe not all players will appear because some aren’t in the state this week. Meanwhile, Zillgitt and Medina added the Cleveland Cavaliers could also open to players on Friday “as long as the NBA continues to approve that date.”

Neither the Memphis Grizzlies nor Minnesota Timberwolves have announced their intentions.

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By Zac Wassink | Last updated 5/6/20