Like It Or Not, Bronny James Is A First Round NBA Talent

Bronny James

We need to talk about Bronny James. 

I tried to tell you. I’ve had a front row seat to the evolution of LeBron James’ oldest son as a basketball prospect. And when I say front row seat I mean literally. Our kids were classmates.

He’s good. And while I don’t always agree with what a recruiting service deems an elite prospect, 247, Rivals, On3- they’re all in the right for having Bronny shoot up the rankings. 

You might be saying to yourself- “George, you played in the NFL, what do you know about hoops?”

Listen, before there was football George, there was basketball George.

I know what a good player looks like. I played with and against plenty of them. 

You might want to believe that Bronny is just getting the juice because his dad is LeBron, and his name drives clicks, but this kid is a 6-2, naturally gifted shooter with an enormous, effortless vertical. Are those not the exact things people love about Ja Morant?

Bronny has always played against the toughest competition available, has always had a target on his back, and still manages to shake off pressure and let the game come to him. 

In the McDonald’s All-American game, if someone wanted to make their name shutting down “the prince,” that would have been the time to do it. But instead, Bronny went 5/8 from deep, and hit a clutch corner three with a minute left that gave the West a late lead.

Bronny can play point. He can play off the ball. He can drive. He can slash. He can spot up. Like it or not, Bronny is completely worthy of the grade he’s getting.

I’m not saying he’ll be a lottery pick. He still needs to prove himself at the college level, hopefully at Oregon, and there’s always an international name or two that bumps talented college players down a spot or two come NBA Draft time, but you’d have to be a hater to deny that Bronny James is an NBA talent.

They say don’t hate the player, hate the game, but if you hate Bronny James as a prospect, you must hate the game. 

And if you like Bronny, wait until you see Bryce

LeBron might be 38, but King James’ Monarchy is in good hands. 

Let that sink in.

Ja Morant’s Redemption is What the Culture Needs

Ja Morant NBA

We need to talk about Ja Morant and the importance of the moment he’s in.

Ja Morant is a lot of things. 

He’s an underdog. Despite the state of South Carolina crawling with scouts due to Zion Williamson being one of the top players in the country out of high school, Ja Morant went from unevaluated and unranked by recruiting services, to the NCAA tournament and the second pick in the NBA draft in a matter of two and a half years.  

For people that don’t understand how basketball recruiting and evaluating works at the youth level, there is almost no such thing as a player coming out of nowhere. Aaron Rodgers and Josh Allen stories aren’t a thing in the NBA. 

Ja Morant is a unicorn. 

No one has ever averaged 20 points and 10 assists at the college level. Ja did it. 

And it’s one thing to come into the league as an elite passer and scorer. It’s another thing entirely to come in with a 44-inch vertical and without an ounce of fear in your heart.

He deserved Rookie of the Year. He deserves his All-Star nods. He deserves his signature Nike. And whether he deserves it or not, he is the most culturally impactful athlete for black youth in this country since Allen Iverson. 

The hair. The swag. The flash. The pride. Ja Morant isn’t just an athlete, he a movement. 

And that’s why we need this man to figure his shit out. Because for some reason, every single generation thinks they can conquer the fast life like it’s an unathletic seven footer under the basket. 

But the fast life is undefeated. And every generation has to sacrifice some of its young heroes to their vices for the rest of us to learn the lessons that keep us around for another 60 years. 

Ja Morant doesn’t need to be one of those sacrifices. Kids today don’t need another cultural cautionary tale. They’ve had plenty. They need a redemption story. 

They need someone to put the tequila away when they’d rather do the opposite.

They need someone to put the guns away when they’d rather do the opposite.

They need someone to swallow their pride and know their own value in moments of conflict instead of always having to prove it to people who don’t matter. 

Anyone that escapes the clutches of the fast life in their 20’s does so out of good fortune. I’m fortunate, and I know a lot of other very fortunate people. 

It’s a wild switch to go from aspiring to live like a king, to admiring the people with the means to live like a king, who choose a different path. 

Ask any retired athlete and most will tell you that once they’ve fulfilled all their desires, one of the only desires they have left is do it all over again and replace indulgence with wisdom.

Ja Morant might be special, but he’s not so special that he won’t have to pay the piper. And God forbid that payment comes at the expense of yourself AND others, like it did for Henry Ruggs. 

They say that every hero lives long enough to see themselves become the villain, and maybe that’s true, but the villain story doesn’t have to be Ja Morant’s last chapter. The redemption chapter is what I’m here for. 

I just hope that’s what Ja Morant is here for as well. 

Let that sink in.

The NBA All Star Game Can’t Properly Honor Kobe Bryant if Players Don’t Care About Effort

We need to talk about what Adam Silver can do to fix the NBA All-Star Game.

The answer is simple. Adam Silver can’t do a damn thing. This is on the players. 

We had a great dunk contest thanks to Mac McClung, and Dame Lillard gave us a show in the three point shootout. Only to have All-Star Weekend ruined by the actual All-Star game?

If fans loved layup lines, every seat in every NBA city would be filled an hour before gametime. 

But nobody outside of young kids and enterprising Instagram models care about layup lines. 

So why should anyone build their day around watching a defenseless “All-Star” game where everyone acts like a Harlem Globetrotter when they have the ball, and a Washington General when they don’t?

Before you think I’m some crotchety old man shouting “get off my lawn,” ask yourself if your time is valuable. You have a finite amount of minutes on this earth, and when you sit down to be entertained, do you want to watch people give minimal effort? 

When you’re at an Avengers movie do you want the actors forgetting lines and the special effects to be unfinished?

When you save up to go out to a nice steak dinner do you want them bringing your medium rare filet mignon to you on a paper towel?

The All-Star game is supposed to be a special occasion, where the best of the best show you WHY they’re the best of the best. 

It’s in the middle of the season because it’s supposed to be something that motivates players toward excellence in the first half of the year, and so that the athletes come into the break in peak physical condition so they can put on a show for the fans. 

Somewhere along the way, the players got it into their heads that the NBA All-Star game is equivalent to the NFL’s Pro Bowl, a reward for a full season of excellence to players that deserve a vacation.

20 years ago, the All Star game had one injury replacement, and despite going to double overtime, had 47 combined three-pointers attempted. This last weekend, several players either opted out or acted like no-shows on the court, and the teams combined to launch 126 combined three pointers, with Pandemic Paul George missing all nine of his attempts. 

You can change as many details as you want about the game, but that will only get you so far. Team Captains, and the Elam ending have both been pleasant surprises, and one of the only compelling things about this game was whether LeBron would keep his undefeated streak going. 

But no cosmetic action can replace individual effort from the players. And for the players that do want to take this game seriously, we’re de-incentivizing their desire to participate. Nikola Jokic is on the verge of his third consecutive NBA MVP award, and is telling media members that he wouldn’t draft himself because the All-Star game doesn’t suit his skillset. 

The NBA has established that it wants this weekend to annually honor and reflect on the memory of Kobe Bryant, but the way things are trending, this would be like honoring your mother’s cooking by going out to eat. 

Are we to believe that the same Kobe Bryant that got hyped up about Dwyane Wade accidentally breaking his nose in the All-Star game wants to see defensive specialist Bam Adebayo pull down zero rebounds in 24 minutes?

Do we really think the Mamba would have respected the seven combined personal fouls last night when in three separate All-Star games he committed five fouls by himself?

If Kobe Bryant’s name is going to be on that MVP trophy, the least these players could do is pretend to care.

Let that sink in.

LeBron James Passing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Is Just More Proof he’s the GOAT

LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers

We need to talk about the greatest basketball player to ever lace up, the King, LeBron James.

Last night, LeBron put up 38-points to pass Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the NBA’s all-time points leader. A record that stood for almost 40 years. Yeah, he did it in an era with the three pointer, but he did it in 150 fewer games.

How many points do we think LeBron is going to have 150 games from now? 42,000? At that point you could make every three LeBron ever made worth two and he’d still have the record. 

And anyone who knows ball is hyper-aware that LeBron never prioritized scoring the way that some of the NBA’s greatest talents did. Believe it or not, this year is only the fourth time in LeBron’s career that he’s averaged at least 30 points a game during the regular season, meaning there are at least 14 seasons where LeBron could have averaged 30, but instead played within the rhythm of the game to ensure his team’s maximum opportunity for success. 

This man has been under the most intense scrutiny any American athlete has ever faced for over half his life, starting with his teenage years. He’s been the lifeblood of corporations. Media empires and personal fortunes have been built on attempting, without success, to tear away every piece of his legacy in real time. 

LeBron James literally made it possible to accumulate wealth just by saying you don’t like LeBron James. 

And you didn’t even have to be honest in your criticism. You could lie on this man’s name and your personal brand would grow. You could say he wasn’t clutch, even though as JJ Reddick pointed out he might be the most clutch player of all time. You could call him selfish, even though he’s the only player in the top 32 all-time assist leaders that isn’t a point guard. You could call him a loser, even though he’s the only player in NBA history to be an all-star on three separate NBA title franchises.

You could bash him for leaving Cleveland to chase a championship, even though the measurement of greatness in Michael Jordan’s shadow was and still is rings and rings alone.

And feel free to ask those same Cavs fans that burned his jersey over “the decision” how they feel about him now.

You could bash him for the Super Team era, but what he started let us know which NBA owners were actually serious about giving their fans something to cheer for. 

You can bash him for the bubble title, but the same man who had his family courtside and called for them to be by his side the moment he passed Kareem, left the people he loved behind to help the NBA restore its product and give us all something to cheer for while stuck at home.

You can always bash LeBron James, and many of you have. But what makes him so great is that for the past two decades he’s absorbed every verbal brick thrown his way and remained focused on the task at hand- giving us all the show of a lifetime. 

So today, I salute the greatest scorer of all time. The most durable athlete of all time. The best passing forward of all time. The man that made his haters angry and rich and his supporters joyful and rich in spirit.

The Goat. LeBron James.

Let that sink in. Or don’t. The record’s still his either way. 

Kyrie Irving to Dallas Proves LeBron James and the Lakers are Still the NBA’s Most Hated

kyrie lebron

I have some things to say about Kyrie Irving to the Mavericks.

First thing, the only thing it seems like executives around the league hate more than LeBron James and the way he pioneered stars dictating where they spend their prime, is the Los Angeles Lakers organization. 

Put the two of them together, and some franchises are more concerned with keeping the Lakers down than elevating their own teams. That’s loser hater behavior. 

I saw a tweet that said the Lakers front office might not see heaven for what they’ve done with this roster, and that might be true, but if Rob Pelinka is locked outside the pearly gates, he might have company in Nets owner Joe Tsai.

Which brings me to my second point, the Brooklyn Nets are a completely unserious franchise. 

Kyrie Irving was willing to stick out the rest of the year, and the Nets are in fourth place in a stacked Eastern conference despite Kevin Durant being out for the last month! Why not be buyers at the deadline and chase the ring instead of worrying about what draft picks they’re able to secure seven years from now? 

Championships are forever, and no, you don’t get a trophy for gifting the Dallas Mavericks a potential championship. Now the Nets are faced with the decision whether or not to ship Kevin Durant back to Golden State, or his preferred preseason destination of Phoenix, or see if Durant is ready to pursue a championship with Spencer Dinwiddie as his sidekick.

Third, it looks like we are going to finally figure out what Luka Doncic is made of. Luka’s usage rates are off the charts, and the addition of Kyrie Irving means we’re going to get to find out if Luka is willing to take a step back for the sake of building something special, or if filling up the stat sheet is the thing he loves above all else. 

And what makes us think that the combination of Luka and Kyrie will work? Didn’t we just have a version of this in Brooklyn with Kyrie and James Harden? And how did that work out? 

Is Luka Doncic not just a more likeable version of James Harden, who keeps his propensity to make it rain on the hardwood and out of the strip clubs? On some level, I like Mark Cuban putting his franchise superstar into this type of pressure cooker situation this early in his career. 

I like Jalen Brunson and Spencer Dinwiddie, but assuming Kyrie Irving actually shows up for games and doesn’t lock himself in the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository demanding answers about the JFK assassination, he’s going to be the best teammate Luka has ever had, by far. The “Luka never had any help” narrative has officially gone out the window.

At the end of the day, I still don’t think Dallas has enough depth or dependability to win a championship. I still think the Nets were more concerned with Kyrie not getting what he wanted than they were worried about making their team better. I still think the Suns know their aging and infighting roster has closed their championship window. And I don’t think, I KNOW, the Clippers only tried to get involved here because they are fully aware of their status as pretenders. 

So for everyone out there involved in this trade that was simply trying to keep LeBron and the Lakers down, make sure you keep that same energy when you’re all face to face in Cancun this summer. 

Let that sink in. 

No, Steph Curry Doesn’t Hate Poor People.

Steph Curry Warriors Man NBA

We need to talk about the reaction to Steph Curry opposing a proposal to build condos behind his Atherton, California home.

It’s easy to want to turn this into a class issue. 

And there are plenty of conservatives out there that have all the incentive in the world to paint Steph and Aisha Curry as hypocritical Democrats that hate the poor. 

But I still live in a world where facts matter over politics, so let’s take a look at the facts.

Steph Curry has dedicated his time, energy, and finances to a multitude of causes that help those in lower income communities have better access to education, health care, nutrition, fitness and more. 

Steph Curry puts his money where his mouth is more than he puts his mouthguard where his mouth is. The world is an objectively better place with Steph Curry in it, no matter how you feel about the man’s politics.

This is a legitimate privacy and safety issue for his family. And anyone who tells you it’s about Steph Curry wanting to exclude low income people from being his neighbors needs to explain to you exactly how they define the term “low income.”

The proposed property that is supposed to hold the 16 three-story townhomes is a 1.5 acre plot of land valued at around $12 million dollars. So right there you’re looking at $750,000 per home without even factoring in building costs. Most homes that sold in Atherton last year were closing at over $3500 per square foot.

How many low income people do you know paying thousands of dollars per square foot?

This is about the extremely affluent community of Atherton trying to find a way to comply with California’s new affordable housing plan, which seeks to develop 348 units in communities across different income levels over the next eight years.

Steph Curry overpaid for a house in Atherton, in part for the privacy of having the empty lot next door. He’s one of the most photographed people in the world. So what if he doesn’t want the neighbors staring at his kids from their third story window. Is that a thing you’d want if you could afford to opt out of it? Be honest.

If you were the one of the most famous people in the country, and you moved to a town that at the time, had an ordinance that any dwelling had to be on a minimum of an acre of land, would you be cool with your next door neighbor putting up 16 three-story condos that overlooked your property?

If wanting privacy and safety for your kids makes you a hypocrite because of all the charity you do for other people’s kids, we should all want to be hypocrites. 

The dumbest thing about this fake gotcha controversy is that unlike many others in Atherton, Steph and Aisha Curry actually want the condos built. And even in their protest of the condos going up next door, they simply requested that if the construction takes place, it includes sufficient barriers to retain the privacy they were seeking when they originally bought the property. 

This whole “controversy” comes off as a desperation play by think tanks and political grifters to try and drive a wedge between Steph Curry and the voting block they believe keeps them out of accumulating power- poor black and brown people. 

It’s not going to work. 

Can I recommend a better strategy to my Conservative friends?

Get little Buckley out in the driveway and have him put in enough work to shoot 43% percent from three off of screens. 

When he makes the league, have him travel Africa to deliver malaria nets. When a natural disaster strikes, have him donate six figures to help get poor people back on their feet. And after little Buckley has a couple of championship rings, help him and his wife launch a foundation that delivers tens of millions of meals to needy families in Oakland, and provides the funding to re-open shuttered school libraries

Then, when someone comes along and asks if they can put sixteen millionaire families on the property next door to his, have him say yes. 

It might sound like a far-fetched plan, but it’ll go a lot further in creating young conservatives than what y’all tried to do with this hit job of a story. 

Let that sink in. 

Soft Tissue, or Just Plain Soft? Why Are The NBA’s Stars Missing More Games Than Ever?

LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard

We need to talk about the NBA and the epidemic of players missing games.

In a world with Normatec leg sleeves, Game Ready Ice Machines, dietitians and sports scientists, in a league without hand checking or hard fouls, and back-to-back games cut down by a third over the last decade, why does it feel like more players are dealing with more injuries than ever? And sitting out for injury prevention?

This is not a diss at any particular player, but a critique of a league I love.

Pro Sports are about the fans. Players are entertainers that are handsomely paid to sacrifice some of your body and potential longevity for the fans. Some people will take this statement too far. 

I played injured in my time in the NFL, and I would never advise anyone to play injured. But sometimes, you do have to play hurt.

The NBA, TV networks, and its players are partners in a giant cash cow. The players aren’t holding up their end of the bargain when fans who may spend up to $1k for a family of four to sit in marginal seats while not being able to count on the stars to show up.

I remember times Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James talking at various times about feeling the need to show up every night that they are able to play in front of fans who might otherwise never get a chance to see them perform.

The league knows that something has to give, and that surely must be addressed in the new CBA.

We already know the NBA is home to the most sensitive superstar athletes. The wrong type of scented candles in a locker room will have a star player asking for a trade 45 minutes after signing an extension. Shout out to Zach LaVine. 

And you don’t even have to be a big star to have big feelings anymore. Just ask Jae Crowder, who is in the middle of a four month paid vacation just because his coach asked him to play 28 minutes off the bench instead of 28 minutes as a starter. 

It’s a league full of easily bruisable egos- but where are all these other bumps and bruises coming from?

It is confusing to me how the stars of today play so many less games with so many more technological advances than the older generations.

I played and did things to play injured that i wouldnt do if I could do it all over. But playing hurt is necessary.

The top 19 scorers in the NBA this year have missed a combined 137 games this season, and so you know I’m not cherry picking a few banged up individuals and prescribing it to everyone else- every single one of those has missed at least 3 games. Not one has played a full slate.

And that’s not even including the LA Clippers “big three,” who have missed a combined 56 games. 

This is beyond load management. It feels like the whole damn NBA decided to join the rest of us and work from home.

Injuries happen. But in today’s day and age, they shouldn’t be happening this frequently, to this many players, across an entire league. And the preventative measures of load management clearly aren’t working. 

Either we’ve got a soft tissue epidemic on our hands, or the entire league is just plain soft.

The New NBA Awards Missed an Opportunity to Honor Kareem Abdul Jabbar

We need to talk about the new NBA Individual Award trophies, and the decision to omit Kareem Abdul Jabbar from being included amongst the honors.

If you haven’t seen it yet, the NBA decided to re-name its awards to honor the contributions of past greats. Most championship trophies have names, for example the Larry O’Brien trophy that goes to the NBA’s champion. But honoring former NBA greats on the individual awards is new. 

Let’s go through them-

The league’s Most Valuable Player will now be awarded with The Michael Jordan Trophy. You’d have to be insane to think there was an honor that could be given out that didn’t deserve to have Michael Jordan’s name on it, but Kareem won this award six times. More than any other player in NBA history. And even if you say to yourself, but surely “Michael Jordan deserved the MVP award more than the five times he won it,” don’t forget that in 1973 Kareem Abdul Jabbar averaged 30 points and 16 rebounds per game, and finished second to Dave Cowens, who averaged 20 and 16. MJ ain’t the only one with a legitimate complaint here.

The NBA is introducing a new award at the end of the 2022-23 season, the Kia NBA Clutch Player of the Year. This trophy is named after Jerry West. Love Jerry, but he’s already the logo, and do I have to remind you that at 1-8, Jerry West has the worst NBA Finals record of all time. His nickname might have been “Mr. Clutch” back in the 1970’s, but if Jerry West existed with this record in today’s hot take economy, you’d go to sports entertainment jail for calling him the most clutch player of all time. Kareem not only has six NBA championships, he owns the longest win streak in college basketball history, and was on the other end of snapping the longest win streak in NBA history by dominating Wilt Chamberlain and the Lakers. If anyone is clutch, Kareem is clutch.

And speaking of Wilt Chamberlain, the Rookie of the Year trophy has been named in honor of Wilt. I’ll admit that the man had the craziest debut in NBA history, coming out of the gate with almost 40 points a game. But if we’re keeping it a buck, Wilt wasn’t technically a rookie when he was a rookie. Through no fault of his own, Wilt was forced to wait to enter the draft after leaving Kansas, and spent time with the Globetrotters. Kareem, who went by Lew Alcindor when he came out of UCLA, turned down the Globetrotters money, and also won rookie of the year, improving the Bucks record by 29 games and setting a record for 20 point playoff games  by a rookie that stood until 2018. 

The Most Improved Player award is being named after George Mikan, whose scoring average dropped every year from 1950-1956, and who never won MVP again after his first season with the Minneapolis Lakers. I mean, what are we even doing here.

Until LeBron breaks Kareem’s all time scoring record, we’re talking about the all-time leader in scoring, wins, MVP’s and all-star selections, and is tied for most all-NBA selections. And while I get naming the NBA Defensive Player of the Year trophy after Hakeem Olajuwon, guess who “The Dream” had to pass in order to be the NBA’s all-time blocks leader? That’s right, Kareem. I don’t care what the NBA has to do to make this right- whether it’s a citizenship award, or an award that goes to the total points per game leader, Kareem Abdul Jabbar deserves something. Especially if we’re inventing new awards to hand out to Jerry West because he hit four buzzer beaters in a 14-year career. You know who more than doubled that amount? Michael Jordan. We should be naming the clutch award after him, and the MVP trophy after the guy who won the award more times than anyone. 

Let that sink in.

Hiring Jacque Vaughn Was the Right Call for the Brooklyn Nets

Sometimes boring is better.

And it doesn’t get more boring than the Brooklyn Nets hiring Jacque Vaughn to be their new Head Coach.

After Steve Nash, who never should have been brought back this season to begin with, and the Brooklyn Nets agreed to part ways last week, rumors immediately began circulating that owner Joe Tsai wanted to replace Nash with current suspended Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka.

It’s one thing to erroneously add water to a grease fire, like the Nets did when they traded for Ben Simmons. It’s another thing to try and put out a grease fire with a completely separate grease fire.

Ime Udoka is suspended for an entire season for allegedly carrying on a drama-filled affair with the spouse of someone else in the organization, with the added bonus of the affair also being with a subordinate. The rumors of Udoka’s willingness to leave the Celtics might not have been a surprise to anyone that cringes at the thought having people that were caught up in what Jada Pinkett-Smith would call “an entanglement” having to be in an office together, but the Celtics players were definitely caught off guard, and Udoka not getting the Nets job adds another level of drama to what’s going on in Boston.

While Udoka would have been a home run hire on the basketball end, between his personal life, Kyrie Irving’s personal beliefs, Ben Simmons’ personal vendetta against shooting the basketball, and Kevin Durant’s personality online, there might have been one too many issues to overcome.

Enter Jacque Vaughn- the most boring, but dependable, hire the Brooklyn Nets could have made. 

Jacque Vaughn was a steady and solid point guard at Kansas that benefited from having several first round picks around him, like Scot Pollard, Greg Ostertag, Raef LaFrentz and Paul Pierce. Despite never averaging more than 11 points and 7 assists per game in college, he was able to put together a 12-year NBA career.

The NBA has a long history of decent role playing guards with a solid college pedigree going on to be championship coaches. The obvious ones are Pat Riley and Steve Kerr, but you also have Rick Carlisle, Ty Lue and Doc Rivers. 

There’s something about guys that get the absolute most out of their talent as players that have the ability to unlock the same trait in others. That’s not to say that Steve Nash didn’t maximize his talent, he went from Santa Clara to winning multiple NBA MVP’s. But Nash was a star in college, and a lottery pick for a reason. He had elite base-level talent. We can’t just be saying that every good thing a white player accomplishes in this league is due to hard work.

But let’s get back to talking about the guy that ironically ended Steve Nash’s college career by holding him to 1/11 shooting in the 1996 NCAA Tournament, Jacque Vaughn.

Not only does Vaughn have the credibility of pushing himself past the limit of what he should have been able to accomplish in the NBA, he also has the credibility of having gone up against both Michael Jordan and LeBron James in separate NBA finals. How many coaches can say that?

Vaughn has both played in a playoff game as a member of the Nets, as well as coached the Nets in the 2020 playoffs after Kenny Atkinson resigned. He’s been around as a Nets assistant for the last seven years, so if anyone is aware of all the issues facing this franchise, it’s gotta be him. 

Sure, Jacque Vaughn’s first go-round as a head coach was a disaster, but he was in his mid-30’s and trying to make an Orlando Magic team relevant that had Aaron Affalo as one of its best players. Not even Phil Jackson would have had a chance down there. 

Sometimes it takes a coach getting an early shot and failing to find their footing. Just look at what Monty Williams has been able to do in Phoenix after flaming out in New Orleans.

The Nets have arguably the most talented starting five in the East, and have obviously been missing a focused, steadfast, diligent locker room voice to channel that talent into wins on the court. 

I’m not saying Jacque Vaughn is going to win this team a title, but now that his point guard’s suspension is coming to an end, if he can get Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, and Ben Simmons all rowing in the same direction, he’ll have worked a basketball miracle and earned himself the respect that he’s long deserved. 

Let that sink in. 

Kyrie Irving’s Suspension Is Ending, But We Still Need an Explanation For Its Length

It might be coming to an end, but we still need to talk about the length of Kyrie Irving’s suspension.

On November 3rd, Kyrie Irving was given a suspension of a minimum of five games. He missed

The reason for the suspension is that he had posted a link to a documentary that made the case that African Americans were of Hebrew heritage, and that the reason that’s not common knowledge is that there has been a century’s long cover-up that includes exaggerating the Holocaust. 

It was definitely something that Kyrie Irving needed to clarify, and when given the opportunity, it became clear to any honest observer that the only information that Kyrie had retained from this so-called documentary is the overall concept of black people in America having a much richer history than just being the descendants of slaves, and that he felt no need to apologize.

I’ve talked before about the factors that make people like Kyrie Irving search for meaning in their ancestry, and even got into the fact that as an enrolled member of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, there are millions of white Americans that actually do believe that the Book of Mormon teaches Irving’s heritage goes back to lost Israelite tribes. 

The backlash has never been about whether anyone believes they have Ancient Hebrew Heritage. The backlash was about whether Kyrie believed the anti-Semitic tropes presented by the film, and whether there has been a Jewish conspiracy to keep black people down.

That particular unanswered question might have justified Kyrie’s initial suspension, but Nets owner Joe Tsai said that he’s met with Kyrie and his family, and that ” it’s clear… that Kyrie does not have any beliefs of hate towards Jewish people or any group.”

Well if it’s so clear, why wasn’t Kyrie Irving back on the court right away?

According to NBA commissioner Adam Silver, “Whether or not Kyrie Irving is antisemitic is not relevant to the damage caused by the posting of hateful content.”

Maybe Adam Silver is right here, but his own track record in this area makes Kyrie’s continued suspension at the hands of the Nets seem rather excessive. 

Back in 2011, the NBA dropped a $100,000 hammer on Kobe Bryant for shouting a gay slur at at a referee. Kobe was allowed to apologize and make it clear that what he said was not a reflection of his feelings toward the gay community. David Stern was commissioner at the time. 

After Adam Silver took over as commissioner, Rajon Rondo did the same thing, calling a referee a gay slur in a much more aggressive manner. That official responded by publicly coming out of the closet as gay in an effort to help NBA players realize the impact of their words. And on top of that, Rajon Rondo lied about what he said, and only apologized on Twitter after witnesses and video review showed that Rondo was lying. 

Rondo received a one-game suspension amounting to an $86,000 fine. 

Kyrie is seven games and almost $500,000 deep in fines, has offered another $500,000 to the anti-defamation league, and is going to lose out on tens of millions of dollars in Nike endorsement deals

And in the words of Joe Tsai, does not hate Jewish people OR ANY GROUP.

The suspension was objectively excessive. It was historically excessive. And at the end of the day, it’s all because Kyrie Irving watched a documentary that it’s extremely clear he didn’t comprehend, and posted a link to it without context. 

Look, if a baseball pitcher posted a link to a place where he bought a “I love the KKK” t-shirt, we’d all be demanding answers. But if the answer was earnestly that he’s not racist, but instead that he’s just a little bit dumb and thought the K’s stood for strikeouts, how much punishment would be necessary before he was allowed to take the mound again?

The longer this suspension went on, the more backlash Adam Silver and Joe Tsai are risked. LeBron James has already called for Kyrie Irving’s reinstatement. NBPA president Jaylen Brown has taken it a step further, publicly blasting Nike and pointing out that Joe Tsai’s investment in companies that supply China with the technological means to spy on, and ultimately persecute, it’s Uygher Muslim population.

Influential players being willing to take on both of the NBA’s traditionally bulletproof untouchables- Nike and China, to get Kyrie Irving back on the court, is something I guarantee no one has a plan to handle.

It’s as simple as this- once it was determined that the comments cam from a place of ignorance and not malice, they should have immediately let Kyrie play, and do the work of learning about the very real history of the persecution of the Jewish people while on the court. 

Let that sink in.