In a world of Boogie and Brow, what about Marc Gasol?

The early season storyline for big men has been Anthony Davis this and DeMarcus Cousins that. Sure, LeBron James and Chris Paul are still part of the MVP conversation. Kevin Durant has not gotten started and Derrick Rose has had his false starts. Davis and Cousins are it — the guys that have blown everyone away at the beginning of the season.
But who has the best record in the NBA?

That would be the Grizzlies.
Who might be their best player? That would be Marc Gasol.
Long the “lesser Gasol,” he has truly begun to blossom. Gasol will be the most sought-after free agent in this year’s free agent class.
Gasol is going to earn every penny that he gets paid this summer. It is hard to argue that after the performance he put on in dispatching the Clippers. This was a primetime matchup relegated to a Sunday afternoon. And while the Clippers have stolen all the headlines and left the Grizzlies in their glitzy dust.
A team that will grind and whittle you away has progressively gotten better …

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Metta World Peace Reveals He’s Now Pals with Malice at the Palace Beer-Thrower

Wednesday marked the 10th anniversary of arguably the ugliest moment in NBA history. On Thursday, Metta World Peace revealed an intriguing update to the saga.

On Nov. 19, 2004, the Indiana Pacers and the Detroit Pistons were involved in the “Malice at the Palace.” The incident started when the Pacers’ Ron Artest (as MWP was known back then) fouled the Pistons’ Ben Wallace, leading to a shove from Wallace.

While players from each team continued to exchange shoves, Artest decided to remove himself from the situation by laying down on the scorer’s table. That was the calm before the storm.

A beer was thrown at Artest from the stands, and he was re-ignited.

What ensued was quite possibly the ugliest brawl in the history of professional sports.

Suspensions were swiftly handed out the next day. Artest was among the players who received an indefinite suspension, and he ultimately missed 88 games—75 in the regular season and 13 in the playoffs.

It is the night that Artest World Peace wishes he could forget, but he will always be linked to it. Forever.

However, some good has apparently come from the brawl. World Peace recently revealed that he had become friends with the beer-thrower from the Malice at the Palace.

A friendship between the two would have been unthinkable that night, but it looks like MWP takes the “World Peace” in his name very seriously. They have apparently put the past behind them and formed a good bond.

[Metta World Peace]

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Dwyane Wade Host 3rd Annual ‘RunWade’ Fundrasier Event For Wades World Foundation (Pictures)

A night where fashion meets charity as Dwyane Wade host the 3rd annual “A Night On The Run Wade” fashion fundraiser in South Beach yesterday evening. The red carpet star studded event was in full effect featuring Miami’s most elegant restaurants, spirits and entertainment.
Attendees were able to purchase the latest fashion pieces in women and menswear showcased on the Run Wade by Neiman Marcus orchestrated by celebrity stylist Calyann Barnett.
The evening wasn’t just fancy suites and dresses, one of Florida’s most exotic car dealers “The Collection” showcased a few sports cars to add to the glamor the night brought. Over 400 guest enjoyed the night’s festivities including Wade’s teammates and celebrity wife Gabrielle Union.
Most importantly, all proceeds from A Night On The Run Wade will provide support to educational, healthy and family services programs. In the words of D.Wade himself “Every child deserves a chance”.

A Night On The RunWade
A Night On The RunWade
A Night On The Ru…

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Metta World Peace predicts Knicks title in 2018, other crazy stuff

Metta World Peace, formerly known as Ron Artest and sometimes referred to as “The Panda’s Friend,” is the gift that keeps on giving.
The outspoken forward, who currently plays for the Sichuan Blue Whales of the Chinese Basketball Association, posted some bold statements and NBA predictions on Twitter.
First, he declared New York Knicks center Andrea Bargnani to be a top-five NBA center.

Andre is top 5 centers in the NBA.
— thepandasfriend.com (@MettaWorldPeace) November 13, 2014

If the Andre comes back , and the knicks go on 10-0 run when he gets in shape, I don’t want to hear you guys tweeting ok?
— thepandasfriend.com (@MettaWorldPeace) November 13, 2014
Then, the rather interesting NBA prediction rant began. (He also went on to call New Orleans Pelicans center Anthony Davis the “greatest offensive and defensive West African basketball has ever seen.”)

Knicks will be contenders shortly. But I still believe Bucks and kings will make it to the finals before the knicks. Al

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Pacific preview: Kobe vs. the world

The Clippers or Warriors will win the division, but the Lakers’ leader won’t be happy about it.

      
 

 

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NBA Needs to Change Its Stance on Domestic Violence in Post-Ray Rice World

Before blossoming into a borderline All-Star and a nightly triple-double threat, Lance Stephenson earned a more dubious distinction: domestic violence suspect.   

In August 2010, Stephenson, then 19 years old, was accused of pushing his girlfriend down a flight of stairs in her Brooklyn apartment building. According to police reports at the time, Stephenson then grabbed her and hit her head against the bottom step.   

The woman sustained head, back and neck injuries. Stephenson was charged with third-degree assault.

The case was dropped six months later. And Stephenson, then a rookie for the Indiana Pacers, quietly resumed his career—without ever being suspended, fined or otherwise disciplined by the NBA.

There was nothing surprising about the league’s inaction.

The NBA has long abided by a basic American principle of jurisprudence: that everyone is innocent until proven guilty; that the legal process must take its course before the league renders judgment. No conviction? No suspension.

This may sound prudent and rational, but it is no longer adequate in a post-Ray Rice world.

The Rice videotape brought the graphic horror of domestic abuse into every living room. The bungling of the Rice case exposed the limits of the criminal justice system and the fecklessness of NFL leadership, and now the question becomes: What will the NBA do when its turn comes?

That moment has arrived far too quickly. On Thursday, police in Michigan arrested Jeff Taylor of the Charlotte Hornets and charged him with domestic assault.

Commissioner Adam Silver this week promised “a fresh look” at the NBA’s approach to domestic violence. Michele Roberts, the new executive director of the players union, said she would push for more education and preventive measures.

Yet neither of them addressed the league’s greatest blind spot: discipline. The NBA won’t punish its players until the courts do. As a result, NBA players are almost never suspended or fined for domestic violence—a stance that has left the league looking passive and ineffectual.

“To wait for the conviction in these cases is basically to decide to do nothing,” said Tania Tetlow, a law professor and director of Tulane’s domestic violence center.

The fact is, the criminal justice system fails miserably when it comes to domestic violence. Abusers go free. Fearful victims refuse to testify. Cases rarely go to trial. Prosecutors file charges in just three of every 10 cases, according to the FBI.

Even a videotape doesn’t guarantee a convictionRice had his criminal charges dropped, in exchange for entering counseling.

And we know, too, that a dismissal of charges is not the same as a declaration of innocence—only a concession that the case was too difficult to prove.

The system is broken, and waiting for a court verdict “is a decision to defer to that broken system,” said Tetlow, who previously worked as a federal prosecutor. That is, sadly, the NBA’s de facto policy.

Every year, a player or two is charged with domestic violence. Every time, the NBA defers to the courts and ends up doing nothing.

Consider this stunning fact: No NBA player has been suspended for domestic violence since Ron Artest in 2007, and before that Eddie Griffin in 2004.

In the last three years alone, nine players have been charged with some form of domestic assault: Greg Oden (most recently with Miami), Ty Lawson (Denver), Jared Sullinger (Boston), Jordan Hill (then with Houston), James Johnson (then with Memphis), DeAndre Liggins (then with Oklahoma City), Terrence Williams (then with Boston), Dante Cunningham (then with Minnesota) and Taylor.

None have been disciplined by the leagueessentially because none of them have been convicted. Some cases are pending. Some were dropped. But dismissal is not proof of innocence.

In trumpeting “due process,” the NBA has, intentionally or not, given itself a free pass.

Even when a player has pleaded no contestas Hill did, to charges that he assaulted his girlfriend in 2012the league has done nothing.

The NBA proudly points to its policy of a minimum 10-game suspension for any violent felony conviction. Yet Hill evaded discipline by getting his charge reduced to a misdemeanor as part of his plea deal.

The Sullinger case provides an interesting counterpoint. Sullinger was accused of assault and battery after an incident with his girlfriend in September 2013. The case was dismissed when the woman refused to testify, as often happens. The Celtics suspended Sullinger for one game anyway, declaring that he had “failed to meet the high expectations we have for all Celtics employees.”

“We’re trying to send a message,” Celtics president Danny Ainge told reporters at the time, “not just to Jared, but the rest of our playersthat their behavior has an effect on all of us.”

In the NBA, it is usually the commissioner’s office, not the individual teams, that metes out punishment in legal matters. Ainge took a bolder and more proactive stance and made an important statement: It’s a player’s conduct that matters, not whether a prosecutor can build an airtight case.

Silver should follow Ainge’s example. If the NBA can reasonably conclude that something happened, it can and must act. The NBA has no obligation to prove a crime beyond a reasonable doubtonly that the player’s conduct was wrongful and detrimental to the league.

And the NBA has the ability to conduct, within limits, its own investigation, through its security division, which is stocked with retired police detectives and FBI agents. Those agents can interview witnesses—including the alleged victim—and review police reports, photos of injuries and any other available evidence.

“It’s not often that there are videotapes,” Tetlow said, “but when you have a witness, covered in injuries, telling you what happened, that’s as much evidence as we have in most criminal trials. And it’s absolutely enough evidence to convict in these cases. The difference is, the criminal justice system historically has not prioritized or particularly cared about these cases. So you can be complicit in that.”

Will someone file a false charge? Will a wife or girlfriend lie to police as a means of extortion or retaliation? Perhaps. But it is unreasonableindeed, dangerous and irresponsibleto presume that every dropped case was the result of a false charge.

Nine (counting Taylor) NBA players have been accused of domestic violence in the last three years. Were all of those women lying? Or is it more likely that some (or several) of these players were, in fact, guilty of assault but evaded punishment because of a broken justice system and a league office that abdicated its responsibility?

“I think they have failed,” Tetlow said of the NBA. “By looking the other way in cases of domestic violence, and rape in particular, they’ve really sent a signal, whether they intended to or not, that this is not a big deal.”

There will be some resistance to change, an impulse to protect players’ current rights, and any new policy will require union participation. So far, Roberts has stressed increased education over increased discipline.

“I do think people need to stop worrying about punishment to the exclusion of prevention,” Roberts told Bleacher Report. She added, “In my view, what we should be doing is figuring out some ways to prevent [violence], as opposed to figuring out who can be tougher in the event it happens.”

These are complicated issues, to be sure. The NBA can’t rush to judgment for the sake of public relations; it cannot act on accusations alone. Players’ civil rights must be respected. But so must the rights and welfare of the women in their lives, and it’s impossible to argue that the NBA has sufficiently done so.

In his brief time as commissioner, Silver has proved more progressive than his mentor, David Stern, and less beholden to long-held practices. One can only hope that his “fresh look” will result in a more principled and muscular stand against domestic violence.

The NBA can do better. We shouldn’t need a videotape.

 

Howard Beck covers the NBA for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter, @HowardBeck.

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PHOTO: Metta World Peace’s new shoes feature panda heads

The last we heard from Metta World Peace, he signed a contract with the Sichuan Blue Whales in China and announced he’d go by the name “Panda’s Friend” throughout his stay in China. Now, to kick off his new career overseas, the man with a history of names has released new basketball shoes featuring a stuffed panda head along with two panda arms. “Welcome to Metta’s World China! Available in Mettaworldpeace.com tomorrow,” the caption read. It was originally reported that the panda head was detachable and that he would be throwing the head to the crowd before each game. However, World Peace, AKA Panda’s Friend, later confirmed that the head is not removable. The bear is not detachable. The Teddy bear is a permanent and is the pandas friend! The ears on the side are also not detachable. Enjoy— mettaworldpeace.com (@MettaWorldPeace) September 22, 2014 Too bad. Even without the detachable characteristics of the shoe, you can’t make this stuff up. Here’s the guy who was part of arguably t

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Metta World Peace Will Wear Shoes Featuring Pandas in China

Metta World Peace is really going all-out with his new Chinese name.

Last month, it was revealed that Metta World Peace was changing his Chinese name to “The Panda’s Friend.” Given that he loves pandas so much, he wants to get his fans in on the fun.

 

Update from Monday, Sept. 22

Metta World Peace explains that the panda bear is not detachable.

–End of Update–

 

When the former NBA star takes the court for the Sichuan Blue Whales, he will wear shoes with detachable pandas on them. Seriously.  

Instead of making a shoe that includes both white and black, The Panda’s Friend went with two different pairs that feature each color. Again, he’s going all-out with this idea.

Here’s the reasoning behind the detachable pandas, via Angela Koussian of Courtside Access: “…before every game, I will be wearing the white or black shoes. The top part of the shoe has a panda on it…it is removable. I will be throwing it to a friend in the crowd. The person who catches it will be the Panda’s Friend of the day.”

If you want to be “the Panda’s Friend of the day,” here’s your chance. All you have to do is go to one of his games over in China and catch the panda doll that he throws into the crowd. Hopefully there are some other perks that go along with the honor.

[Courtside Access, h/t CBS Sports]

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Team USA and Coach K are on top of the basketball world

Basketball is one of the few sports the United States rules these days. And the man in charge of it just happens to run the most polarizing college basketball team in the nation.

      
 

 

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How Will Klay Thompson’s Standout FIBA World Cup Performance Affect This Season?

The Golden State Warriors had the rare distinction of sending not one but two of their players to Spain for the FIBA World Cup this year. Stephen Curry was the household name, the rising star who had cemented his name amongst the game’s elite. Klay Thompson was his sidekick, the Luigi to Curry’s Mario.

While it was Curry in the starting lineup and Thompson coming off the bench, however, it was Thompson who made the bigger impact in the tournament.

Thompson didn’t just play well in the gold medal run; he thoroughly outplayed Curry.

He was second only to James Harden in points on the USA roster at 12.7 per game and scored them at an efficient 52 percent clip. His defense proved to be invaluable, and it earned him time on the court, as only Kyrie Irving topped Thompson’s 23.4 minutes per game.

On a team flush with guard depth, Thompson rose to the top.

Thompson’s strong play couldn’t have come at a better time, as it was only a few months ago that the Warriors made the decision to pass on Kevin Love in favor of keeping him on their roster. Many doubted that decision, but if he takes that level of play into the upcoming season, those doubts will be put to rest.

What was promising during the tournament was that Thompson did not simply rely on his outside shot as he so often has in his career. Even when sharing the court with playmakers like Harden, Irving and Curry, Thompson attacked the hoop relentlessly and finished with both hands.

That is a good omen going into the season. While his outside shooting will always be the most potent part of his game, expanding his game will keep defenses honest and open up scoring opportunities for his teammates.

The offense, however, was only part of the equation. Thompson has committed himself to being the best two-way shooting guard in the NBA, and while his offense isn’t on par with players like Harden, his defense puts him in the conversation.

An argument could have been last season that Thompson was the best defender at his position, and playing under defensive-minded coaches like Tom Thibodeau and Mike Krzyzewski during the tournament only made him better. After the tournament, Coach K raved about Thompson’s contribution on that side of the court, courtesy of Sam Amick of USA Today:

(Thompson) has been, really, as good a player as we’ve had. He’s consistent. Everyone had talked about his offense, but he has been consistently excellent on the defensive end. The fact that he’s tall, he’s been able to play defense on the one, two, and three. He’s become our most versatile defender. … He’s had a terrific stay with us.

Those are strong words coming from the leader of the greatest team in the world. Thompson has the size to compete against larger guards and small forwards but also has the speed to counter quicker point guards. Defensively, he’s the total package.

Although Andre Iguodala will always be the name that comes to mind when thinking about perimeter defenders, Thompson very well may have already surpassed him in that regard. Steve Kerr will no doubt take advantage of his hunger to guard the opposition’s best player, and Thompson will reward his faith.

The future is bright for the Warriors, and with rising stars like Thompson, they’re closing the gap between themselves and the elite teams in the West. The experience of playing with some of the best players and coaches in the world will propel Thompson to his best season yet. 

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