The NBA’s ‘Glass Ceiling’

Becky Hammon, San Antonio’s Assistant Coach, will most likely be the first to break it. She was a finalist for the Portland Trailblazer job that went to Chauncey Billups.

“Please don’t hire me to check a box, Hammons requests.”That’s the worst thing you can do for me. Hire me because of my skill sets and coaching, who am I as a person, hire me for those.”

What Have We Learned?

  1. A sentence I never thought I’d write. The Phoenix Suns are seven wins away from winning the NBA Championship.
  2. In the US Open, the 36 and 54 hole leaders are meaningless.
  3. Louis Oostuhizen is as down-to-earth and classy as they come.
  4. The Seattle Mariners own the Tampa Bay Rays.
  5. Minor sports have feelings too. US Track and Field and US Swimming deserve more and better coverage.  Imagine swimming 1500 meters in 14:46. “Okay, we’re gonna do 15 100’s on the 59.” LOL.
  6. I did not qualify for the Olympics, but the next trials are only three years away.

Mo’ Money, Less Effort

People who think money is the only true motivator in the workplace have a lot of explaining to do when it comes to professional basketball player Blake Griffin.

Until yesterday, Griffin, 31, played for the Detroit Pistons on a 2 year/$75,553,024 contract for an annual average salary of $37,776,512.

What did the lowly Pistons get for that? 12 points and 5 rebounds a game. Griffin’s anemic productivity is partly the result of a previous injury that cost him some athleticism, but mostly, NBA analysts say, because he wasn’t motivated given the Pistons’ futility.

Imagine being the Pistons owner and having to deal with the fact that $37,776,512 wasn’t enough for Griffin to play hard. All the king’s ransom bought was consistent mediocrity.

No wonder the Pistons let him go to the Eastern Conference leading Brooklyn Nets. Now apparently, he’s motivated, and is going to try to be some sort of facsimile of his former All-Star self.

Sometimes, Often, when it comes to exorbitant compensation in professional sports and other fields, there’s a definite point of diminishing returns.

Are You Not Jazzed?

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The hottest basketball team in the world is quietly positioning themselves for the #1 seed in the Western Conference. Of course, whether winning or losing, by default, a Salt Lake City-based team is quiet.

Dig this box score from last night’s 132-100 victory over the 18-12 Portland Trailblazers. The starters scored 67, the bench 65. They made over half of the 55 3’s they took. Super impressive, but one blemish, the starters turned it over too much.

How do the flashy teams everyone always talks about beat the Jazz in a seven game series given their bench and three-point shooting?

Postscript: Upon further review, imagine being Georges Niang. Pre-game, coach says, “I’m only gonna play you 16 minutes tonight.” “Okay then,” you think to yourself, “I’m going to jack it up from everywhere and get us 21 points.”

The Main Challenge For the Brooklyn Nets’ New Big Three

Jesse Washington says its character.

“In all fairness, there’s more to Harden’s and Irving’s character than basketball. Irving is a generous and passionate advocate for social justice. Harden helped buy food for 5,000 Houston families during the pandemic. But when it comes to their profession, they seem entitled. Which makes it hard for any partnership to work.”

Bam Adebayo’s Mom

Is going to be okay. Because Bam is getting paid. From ESPN News Services.

“The Miami Heat and Bam Adebayo have agreed to a five-year max extension, Adebayo’s agent, Alex Saratsis, told ESPN’s Zach Lowe. The deal includes escalator clauses that can take its total to $195 million over five years.”

Let’s not forget, social mobility is extremely low in the (dis)United States these days. And if one wants to improve their lot in life, education is still a much safer bet than professional sports. Neither of those two facts mean we can’t celebrate Bam’s and his mother’s changed fortunes.

“Adebayo had told The Associated Press during the NBA’s restart earlier this summer at Walt Disney World that his lone financial goal was to take care of his mother, Marilyn Blount. She raised him by herself in North Carolina, making about $15,000 a year from her multiple jobs and with the family calling a single-wide trailer their home.

‘That competitive nature comes out when I feel like I’m playing bad and when things aren’t going right,’ Adebayo said in the September interview with the AP. ‘I think about how she fought through struggle. … You see that for 18 years straight, you take that load on and feel that responsibility. And my responsibility is to provide for my mom, and the best way to make sure I can do that is to help us win.'”

Consider her provided for.

Paragraph To Ponder

“After the Lakers’ disappointing flame-out last season, general manager Rob Pelinka was under pressure to assemble a roster after holding out for, then missing on, Kawhi Leonard. He didn’t bring in a third star, but it’s worth noting that Alex Caruso, Rajon Rondo, Markieff Morris and Dwight Howard (!) made up just 7 percent of the team’s salary cap, while ultimately contributing far more than that to the Lakers’ championship run.”

From “LeBron And AD Are The Heroes. But The Sum Of This Lakers Club Was More Than Its Superstar Parts”.

And The Winner Is

In the (dis)United States, politics has become an intense, zero-sum competition. No one is ever changing their mind again. Neighbors signal their team affiliation with signage like TikTok’s Tony and Ezekiel.

We’ve become way too competitive for our own good, and yet, to differing degrees, we’re wired for competition. So what are we to do?

There are lots of different non-political ways to get our competition fix. We should turn our attention to them.

Professional soccer is alive and kicking. As is professional basketball and golf. Maybe we should argue about the Lakers and Clippers chances of winning it all. Or Milwaukee’s? Or be like the young dude on Harrison who when he saw Blanca and me ride up to him Tuesday morn, dug down and rode especially hard to make sure we knew he was faster. That’s what I’m talkin’ about. That’s the spirit.

Psychologists refer to it as displacement.

Or compete with those closest to you. Who does more of the household work or runs more of the errands or listens better? That always ends well. Or see if you can choose the fastest check-out line at the grocery store like me. Or be the driver who gets the most miles per gallon for your model of car like me. Or see who can save the most money in a month by not eating out and other self-imposed austerity measures. Or see who can collect the most masks. Or see who knows the most people at the farmer’s market.

If we just turn off the cable news and unplug from our devices, the possibilities are endless.

I’ll start. No more politics for me. For at least a few hours.