With the new NBA season approaching, LeBron, Kyrie and the Cleveland Cavs look to defend their throne as NBA’s best team:
Via NBA dot com:
The Cleveland Cavaliers’ comeback from a 3-1 Finals deficit last June stands on its own: a moment of joy for a city and area that identifies so strongly with the success — and, more often, failure — of its local sports teams. Winning the city’s first major sports title since 1964 ended that narrative: what is Cleveland if not the city that fails?
But now, the Cavs are the NBA champions, and the Indians are two wins away from the World Series — they haven’t won it since 1948. There is a new tale to be told. (Though it still excludes the Browns, at least for a while.)
“I think for a long time, people just felt that Cleveland players really didn’t care about the legacy, and that the players never really embodied or embraced that burden. And we did,” forward James Jones said. “This team, that’s all we talked about. That’s all we talk about, being the group to change that narrative, being the group that redefines Cleveland professional sports history.”
15-Time NBA All-Star Kevin Garnett joins Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan as current NBA legends retiring from the NBA this season:
Via The AP:
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — No fire burned hotter, no mouth was fouler, no opponent was in for a longer night than Kevin Garnett’s.
In more than two decades in the NBA, Garnett opened the door for a new wave of young talent to enter the league, was partly responsible for a rewriting of the collective bargaining agreement and nearly singlehandedly redefined what the game’s tallest players were allowed to do on the court.
Fittingly, and maybe a little reluctantly, No. 21 is calling it a career after 21 years, leaving a legacy as one of the best defensive players in league history and one of the game’s most influential and intense competitors.
The NBA Stars of Team USA Basketball claim their third straight Olympic Gold Medal beating Serbia in Rio Summer Games Finale:
Via USA Basketball:
Led by 30 points and four assists from two-time Olympic gold medalist Kevin Durant and dominating on both ends of the court to outscore Serbia (4-4) 33-14 in the second quarter, the 2016 U.S. Olympic Men’s Basketball Team (8-0) claimed a third straight Olympic gold medal on Sunday afternoon at Carioca Arena 1 in Rio de Janeiro.
The USA now has a 25-game Olympic win streak and a 53-game win streak in major competition, including Olympic, FIBA World Cup and FIBA Americas games.
Spain (5-3) edged out Australia (5-3) 89-88 for the bronze medal.
“This team kept getting better and even those three games in pool play, we had not played that type of game against that type of level,” said USA head coach Mike Krzyzewski. “We said it was a learning experience and our guys did learn. We put it to good practice. We kept getting better even though it didn’t necessarily reflect in the differential in the score, but we were getting better and more knowledgeable. That’s where I commend the leadership of our veterans for keeping us on course for that.”
NBA stars of USA Basketball conclude Vegas training camp with eye on another Olympic gold medal at Rio Summer Olympics:
Free Agent Kevin Durant Leaves OKC Thunder; Joins Rival Golden State Warriors Creating New Super Team
NBA Free Agency: Kevin Durant shocks the NBA by leaving the OKC Thunder, signs with Western rival Golden State Warriors:
Via The New York Times:
The biggest question of the N.B.A. off-season was answered Monday when Kevin Durant, one of the best players ever to hit unrestricted free agency in any sport, agreed to join the Golden State Warriors.
Durant’s decision to leave the Oklahoma City Thunder for the Warriors, who won an N.B.A-record 73 games in the regular season, lets the rich get richer. Although Durant nearly led the Thunder to a stunning upset of the Warriors in the Western Conference finals this spring, the Warriors ultimately prevailed before losing to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the N.B.A. finals.
Now the Warriors, regrouping, have added the 27-year-old Durant, creating a virtual Dream Team out of a starting unit that also includes the All-Stars Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. The Warriors now become the overwhelming favorites to win next season’s N.B.A. championship, which would be their second in three years.
Finals MVP LeBron James Delivers An NBA Championship To Cleveland As Cavs Win Dramatic Game 7 Over Warriors
Yahoo Sports Dan Wentzel on LeBron who fulfills his promise to Cleveland in delivering it’s first sports championship in 52 years:
OAKLAND, Calif. – When the improbable, seemingly impossible, was done, when Cleveland’s championship was, at long, long last, won, LeBron James simply went to his knees and wept. There was nothing else to do.
Wept for the accomplishment, his Cleveland Cavaliers defeating the Golden State Warriors here Sunday, 93-89 in Game 7 to become the first team in NBA history to come back from a 3-1 Finals deficit. Wept for the performance, 27 more points, 11 more assists and 11 more rebounds to cap a three-game stretch (averaging 36.3 points, 11.6 rebounds, 9.7 assists while facing elimination) as great as any player, ever.
Wept, too, because of Cleveland, because of Akron, because of The Decision and because of The Return, because of the Drive, the Fumble, the Shot, because of Jose Mesa and Rocky Colavito, because the people and places back home made this bigger than him, bigger than a single team, bigger than it even should be, a basketball game understandably meaning so much to so many.
NY Times video obituary on the life and legendary career of boxing icon, political activist and humanitarian Muhammad Ali:
NBA Playoffs: OKC Thunder Collapse After 3-1 Series Lead As The Warriors Win Game 7 To Advance To NBA Finals
Defending Champion Warriors defeat the OKC Thunder in Game 7 setting up a NBA Finals rematch vs LeBron’s Cleveland Cavs:
Via NY Times:
OAKLAND, Calif. — The Golden State Warriors entered the N.B.A. playoffs having spent months chasing basketball magic. As they overwhelmed a conga line of opponents, the Warriors went about the uncharitable business of obliterating records, each new number more impressive than the last.
Yet the Warriors have remained aware that all their feats would be meaningless without an opportunity to vie for another championship, their victories consigned to the dustbin of near renown, their records reduced to footnotes of almost greatness. They have always wanted the whole package: the wins, the records and the trophy.
Golden State sustained the dream on Monday by defeating the Oklahoma City Thunder, 96-88, in Game 7 of the Western Conference finals at Oracle Arena. The Warriors, the defending champions, are bound for the N.B.A. finals, where they will face the Cleveland Cavaliers for the second straight year. Game 1 is here on Thursday.
NBA: Stephen Curry wins his 2nd straight Most Valuable Player award this time becoming the 1st NBA player to win unanimously:
Via Reuters Sports:
Stephen Curry on Tuesday scaled heights never reached by NBA greats such as Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan and LeBron James when he became the first unanimous winner of the league’s Most Valuable Player award.
A day after returning from injury to playoff action with an explosive performance for the Golden State Warriors, Curry swept all 131 first-place votes to earn the game’s highest individual honor for a second straight season.
He joined Johnson, Jordan and Steve Nash as the only guards to win the honor in consecutive campaigns, having dazzled NBA fans during the regular season with one astonishing display of shot-making after another.
NBA: Retiring Kobe Bryant has a game for the ages in his final NBA game after 20 seasons; scores 60pts in his Lakers finale:
Via The Associated Press:
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Kobe Bryant scored 60 incredible points. He carried a miserable Los Angeles Lakers team to an improbable comeback victory.
And with sweat and confetti all over his gold uniform for the final time, he expressed humble thanks to his fans and family for their loving support over two decades.”What else can I say?” Bryant asked. “Mamba out.” Now that’s a Hollywood ending to a remarkable career. Bryant utterly dominated his final game Wednesday night, wrapping up 20 NBA seasons with one last offensive showcase in the Lakers’ 101-96 victory over the Utah Jazz. He scored 23 points in the fourth quarter, posting his first 50-point game since February 2009 and rallying the Lakers from a 15-point deficit to win the final game of the worst season in franchise history.