“That’s my biggest surprise coming in here. The one thing I was worried about is whether he would be able to step in after so much time (off). He looks, to me, as good as when we had him in the World Championship in ’10, when he was at full strength coming (into) an MVP year. He looks very, very good. Obviously, [when] he gets in some games it will be a little different, but it’s not like he hasn’t had success in games. He had a lot of success. He’s been the most impressive guy here.”
“I thought it was well-thought-out. It was classy. It was a great move to do it as a letter. That was pretty cool. It’s funny seeing guys think about more than just basketball for once. He thought about the city where he comes from, about Northeast Ohio and how he can affect so many of the kids just being there playing basketball. I love that. So many guys get criticized for making the decision that’s best for them instead of what’s best for everybody else. He’s a guy that did that. You gotta respect that. I applauded him, I texted him and told him congratulations on the decision and told him I was happy for him. As a fan of the game, it’s going to be pretty cool to see him back in Cleveland.”
McNeill and Cheel talked about LeBron’s return to the Cavs, why Kevin Love isn’t an ideal fit for Cleveland, Melo being smart to take the money New York was offering and the mess Donald Sterling has made.
At Rucker Park in New York, people sat on rooftops and climbed trees to watch Julius Erving play. In Louisville, Kentucky, Artis Gilmore would pull up in his fancy car, still wearing his fancy suits, and just ball. Kevin Durant first measured the worth of his game on the D.C. playgrounds, and Arthur Agee chased his hoop dream in Chicago. The Philadelphia outdoor courts once boasted a who’s who of the city’s best ballers, and in Los Angeles, playground legends with names such as Beast, Iron Man and Big Money Griff played on the same concrete as Magic and Kobe.
That was then, a then that wasn’t all that long ago.
Now? Now the courts are empty, the nets dangling by a thread. The crowds that used to stand four deep are gone, and so are the players. Once players asked “Who’s got next?” Now the question is “Anyone want to play?” And the answer seems to be no, at least not here, not outside.
Playground basketball, at least as we knew it, is dying.
“Playground Basketball Is Dying” via ESPN
LeBron James sent shockwaves through the NBA when he announced this afternoon via a letter that he would be returning to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
I joined Justin Hull on The Home Stretch to talk about the letter, why returning to the Cavs was a wise move and how this will ripple through the rest of the NBA’s free agents over the next few days.
I joined Roger Lajoie on The Fan 590 to talk about Toronto re-signing Kyle Lowry and Patrick Patterson, how Masai Ujiri has set the Raptors for short-term and long-term success and I daydreamed about a big shakeup in South Beach.
“Even taking a little less money, this opportunity was too exciting to pass up. I’ve had a taste of the playoffs before, but being a part of this team will be just incredible. You get to a point where you really realize what’s important, and I was thinking: ‘What would my 12-year-old self have done? What would he prioritize?’ It was this opportunity and what they’re building with the Clippers.”
Spencer Hawes to Yahoo! Sports
I was a guest on Norm at Night on SiriusXM to talk about the crazy first week of the NBA’s Free Agency period. We talked about where Carmelo Anthony should sign, praised Toronto for re-signing Kyle Lowry, I explained why Bruno Caboclo wasn’t a reach at #20 and we talked about the three Canadians drafted in the first round of the 2014 NBA Draft.
I joined Justin Hull on “The Home Stretch” to chat about what has been a wild and wacky week in the NBA. We talked about Jason Kidd ditching the Nets for the Bucks, I tried to predict where Carmelo Anthony would end up and we gave LeBron James props for his Decision a few years back.