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The Mavericks stopped doing the National Anthem a while ago and nobody noticed
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Mark Cuban, who decided to stop playing the national anthem before Mavs games, has now been directed to do otherwise by the league.Image: Getty ImagesThe NBA is doing the most right now.The league is currently willing to die on a hill that might be as unnecessary as a winter coat in Miami.After Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban decided to stop playing the National Anthem before Dallas home games this season, the NBA responded today by releasing a statement that said all teams will have to play the national anthem per league policy.The craziest part of the story is that Cuban and the Mavericks had not played the Anthem at any of their 13 of their home games so far this season, and no one even noticed until a few days ago. The team allowed fans to attend games for the first time all season on Monday. The Mavericks will play the Anthem moving forward, starting with their game against Atlanta on Wednesday. Cuban released a statement following the decision.G/O Media may get a commissionCuban also joined The Jump today to address the controversy surrounding his decisions on the anthem.ESPN reported that Cuban originally decided to cut the anthem in November after consulting with NBA commissioner Adam Silver. The National Anthem has been controversial in the sports landscape for years now. Colin Kaepernick and a plethora of other athletes have demonstrated during the song to bring attention to racial injustice in this country. The NBA relaxed its policy on forcing players to stand for the national anthem during the Orlando bubble after months of increased racial tensions following the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor.For many Americans especially people of color, the anthem invoked many emotions that aren’t positive. A lot of Black and brown people have a complex relationship with America that isn’t represented through the Star-Spangled Banner. The song itself was written by a slave owner and has racist lyrics.Aside from all of the problematic issues that swirl around this song, what makes this conversation even more aggravating is the fact that many people can’t even justify the need for playing the anthem before a sporting event outside of the fact that it is a common practice. We’ve been unnecessarily playing this song before sporting events for decades with little benefit from it just for the heck of it.Do they play the national anthem before you go to work every day? Do they play it before Congress tries to make a law? Do they play it before the Grammys?NoSo what makes the anthem so important that it deserves to be played before every sporting event?Absolutely nothing, it’s honestly just a big waste of everyone’s time and energy. And that’s no disrespect to the women and men of the military who risk their lives for our safety. If we are keeping it real, playing the anthem doesn’t benefit them anyway. What would benefit them would be supporting causes that help make veterans’ lives better once they leave the service or getting Congress to pass legislation to help veterans adjust to regular life once they are off the battlefield.The NBA’s position on keeping the anthem is ridiculous and unnecessary. Cuban tried to free us and the league from the pointless gesture but the NBA couldn’t see the bigger picture. .
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NTSB faults pilot in fatal crash that killed Kobe Bryant, daughter Gianna
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The helicopter pilot who crashed into a Calabasas, Calif., hillside in January 2020 — killing himself, Kobe Bryant and seven other passengers — reportedly committed preventable errors that resulted in the crash. The National Transportation Safety Board on Tuesday released an abstract of its findings from a yearlong report into the crash, concluding that pilot Ara Zobayan violated his training and several safety protocols when he flew into a wall of clouds. NTSB investigators found Zobayan became spatially disoriented inside, causing him to bank left at a decreasing altitude when he thought he was ascending above the clouds. The NTSB noted that Zobayan's "poor decision" to fly the Sikorsky S-76B helicopter into the clouds was likely "influenced by his self-induced pressure to fulfill the client's travel needs." Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven other passengers were en route to a girls basketball tournament at the Mamba Sports Academy in Newbury Park, Calif. “Unfortunately, we continue to see these same issues influence poor decision making among otherwise experienced pilots in aviation crashes,” said Robert Sumwalt, chairman of the NTSB. “Had this pilot not succumbed to the pressures he placed on himself to continue the flight into adverse weather, it is likely this accident would not have happened. A robust safety management system can help operators like Island Express provide the support their pilots need to help them resist such very real pressures.”Below is an excerpt from the NTSB's report, edited for length and clarity: "At 0944:34 (about two minutes before the accident) ... the pilot announced to an air traffic control facility that he was initiating a climb to get the helicopter 'above the (cloud) layers,” and the helicopter immediately began climbing at a rate of about 1,500 feet per minute. About the same time, the helicopter began a gradual left turn. ... About 36 seconds later and while still climbing, the helicopter began to turn more tightly to the left. ...   The helicopter reached an altitude of about 2,370 feet mean sea level ... at 0945:15, then it began to descend rapidly in a left turn to the ground. At 0945:17 (while the helicopter was descending), the air traffic controller asked the pilot to 'say intentions,' and the pilot replied that the flight was climbing to 4,000 feet msl. A witness near the accident site first heard the helicopter then saw it emerge from the bottom of the cloud layer in a left-banked descent about 1 or 2 seconds before impact." The board noted that Zobayan did not provide an alternate flight plan in his flight risk analysis form, completed about two hours before the helicopter's departure. It also found he wasn't unqualified to fly, nor was he impaired due to a medical condition, alcohol, other drugs or fatigue; it also concluded there was no helicopter malfunction or failure, and no pressure from Bryant or Island Express Helicopters Inc. — the air charter broker — to complete the flight. .
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Kyle Lowry’s potential trade destinations if/when Raptors decide it’s ‘time to move on’
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Image: Getty ImagesLowry, the Philadelphia native, the Villanova alum, returns home. The Sixers are currently first in the Eastern Conference with a 17-7 record in the Doc Rivers and Daryl Morey era, but no one NBA team has a stranglehold on this oddity of a season thus far. Joel Embiid has looked like an MVP frontrunner, Tobias Harris should command All-Star consideration at the absolute minimum, and Ben Simmons, for better or worse, still looks like the same guy he was as a rookie. While the team’s playmaking could improve, Simmons is averaging his usual 8.0 assists per game, but as great as Embiid has been, working with Lowry would decrease his offensive workload, give the Sixers someone who could create a shot in the game’s final two minutes, and give the roster a leader it needs. What people forget about the Embiid and Simmons pairing is that they were at their best in 2018-19 when Jimmy Butler was present to carry the load. You could see the semifinal stats against the Raptors that season for yourselves. Lowry could have a similar impact, and it appears that Embiid may be ready to shoulder the responsibility, but a true point guard (who is willing to shoot from the outside) would help. It will matter come playoff time, and Lowry is a proven champion. Regarding an actual deal, the Sixers have several expirings, most notably Danny Green’s $15.4 million. They have several young pieces, led by Matisse Thybulle, Tyrese Maxey, and Shake Milton, who are all making less than $3 million each this season, and they have most of their first-round picks going forward, which were discussed in the Harden deal before he went to Brooklyn. They also have Ben Simmons at nearly $30 million, and he’s maxed out through 2025. Again, just saying. .
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Kevin Durant debacle shows NBA’s COVID policy is a disaster
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Kevin Durant had a lot to say after being pulled.Image: Getty ImagesIf you didn’t watch the Nets’ 123-117 loss to the Raptors last night, you might have woken up this morning wondering what the fuck happened with Kevin Durant.Well, you’re not alone, because everyone who saw the game is wondering what the fuck happened with Kevin Durant, too.So, let’s go through it slowly and figure out what the fuck happened with Kevin Durant, beyond the basic story that Durant didn’t start the game due to health and safety protocols, then was allowed to enter the game, put up an 8-6-5 line in 19 minutes, then was told that he had to leave the game.Durant, who had to quarantine for a week in January because of a close contact, and was one of the first athletes to contract COVID-19 last March while he was still out recovering from his torn Achilles, was understandably frustrated by his latest ensnarement in the pandemic, as he put out a simple tweet as the fourth quarter went on just down the hall from where he was sequestered: “Free me”G/O Media may get a commissionIf only it were that easy. Based on the statement laid out by the NBA, it made sense for Durant to be quarantined. That statement, however, also maps out a series of failures.Kevin Durant has tested negative three times in the last 24 hours, including two negative PCR tests today. However, someone he interacted with this afternoon subsequently had an inconclusive test result return shortly before the game. Durant was initially held out of the game while that result was being reviewed.So far, so good. This is the “abundance of caution” that we hear so much about. You have a close contact with an inconclusive test, you treat it like a positive until you know otherwise. That’s just smart when you’re dealing with a virus that’s killed more Americans than the population of Oakland. That sucks for Durant, but that’s life right now.Under the league’s health and safety protocols, we do not require a player to be quarantined until a close contact has a confirmed positive test.Well, there’s your first problem. If you, regular person, had a close contact with an inconclusive test, you’d (hopefully) stay the hell home until you got word that their test was confirmed negative. And then if it was positive, you’d stay quarantined at least until you had your own negative tests, or, to actually play it safe, two weeks. But the NBA’s policy here is, nah, stick around and see how this plays out.Exactly what process of “review” allowed Durant to enter the game, well, it didn’t work out, because…During the game, a positive result was returned for the person Durant interacted with this afternoon.Whoops! So, the “review” didn’t show a negative test, just an inconclusive one? Because when it actually came back, it was positive. Just a quick question: Did this “review” indicate that Kevin Durant is a superstar and his team was playing a game on ESPN? Would Bismack Biyombo have been allowed to enter the Hornets-Jazz game under the same circumstances?Once that test was confirmed positive, out of an abundance of caution, Durant was removed from the game, and contact tracing is underway to determine if he was in fact a close contact of the positive individual.Let’s allow Durant to react to that last part.Indeed, you can’t fool em with your Wack ass PR tactics. Not so sure about the #FREE7 part, though, because “close contact” or not, Durant was around someone in the afternoon who tested positive for coronavirus. It’s imperative to make sure that he didn’t wind up getting it — yes, you can get COVID-19 twice — and that he didn’t spread it further.James Harden recognized that “he was around all of us” and that if it was about contact tracing, “The game should have been postponed.”Not only was the game not postponed, of course, the game was played, Durant entered, Durant was pulled… and the game still wasn’t postponed. Not that he’s anywhere near the person most to blame, but if Raptors coach Nick Nurse “was told right before the game that Durant was out because of health protocols,” and then the series of events unfolded as it did, why didn’t he, Nets coach Steve Nash, or both, sensibly raise a stink about continuing to play the game? Nash, for his part, saw at least some fault in how he dealt with things.But this comes back squarely to the NBA, which pulled off such a feat last summer with the Orlando bubble, and has predictably struggled mightily with coronavirus outside of that Disney lockdown.Eleven months ago, Rudy Gobert got coronavirus and the NBA and the rest of sports shut down completely. What’s become clear is why the pre-shutdown idea of just playing games behind closed doors would’ve been a disaster. Because that’s what this is.Wait, the NBA isn’t just playing behind closed doors. We had Courtside Karen just this week. But a much more enjoyable fan was in the stands in Orlando for the Bulls’ visit, a man properly wearing a mask that nicely accented his Michael Jordan jersey — a jersey for which he was thoroughly roasted by NBC Chicago announcers Adam Amin and Stacey King.This being 2021, word quickly got to the man that his favorite team’s broadcast was highlighting him this way, and he not only got a good laugh out of it, he got some love from his favorite team online.For the record, Mack McClendon insisted that his jersey was not a knockoff, just old and well-worn. And both King and Amin dapped him up online, too.Also for the record, the “Nyquil” reference is extremely real, long live the Choncago Balls. And, it’s kind of funny that this whole thing happened in Orlando, where Jordan himself once had to wear a weird-looking jersey, number 12, because his actual jersey had been stolen and hidden in the ceiling.Jordan took it personally, and scored 49 points. McClendon did not, and got to have the night of his life even though the Bulls lost, 123-119. .
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