Category Archives: NBA Jerseys China

Metta World Peace Jersey Signed

Metta World Peace certainly had one of the more colorful careers in the NBA. While the player formerly known as Ron Artest will likely always be remembered for his role in the “Malice at the Palace” brawl in 2004, his story is one of redemption. World Peace actually befriended the fan that threw a water bottle at him and later won a championship with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2010. After retiring, he appeared in Ice Cube’s BIG3 basketball challenge and works with the Lakers as a player development coach.

Now, World Peace is setting his sights on a new challenge: being an entrepreneur through his Artest Management Group company. His first product is XvsX Sports, which can best be described as the Airbnb of pickup basketball games. World Peace created the platform alongside a slew of tech entrepreneurs and fellow NBA players Al Harrington, Nick Young, Chris Copeland, Jermaine O’Neal, and Stephen Jackson.

Using a subscription model, XvsX Sports offers on-demand, competitive open runs for all levels of players, including professionals, semi-pros, competitive, and recreational players. That last demographic may prove to be the most important of all — with 23 million Americans fitting the “recreational” bill, it’s a great opportunity for growth.

The initial early access beta launch will roll out in the Los Angeles area, with additional cities throughout the United States joining the game after that. Players can meet others at their skill level, build up points, and participate in showcase games.

“There’s so many ways to get basketball to the consumer. Playing in the NBA for so many years, I’m used to playing a certain way — in front of people, getting paid, branding, endorsing,” World Peace says. “When the NBA’s gone, you don’t have that system, the people, or the machine in place. You become irrelevant. With XvsX Sports, I’m trying to revolutionize the game for people like myself. We love basketball and still want to play at a high level.”

It’s not World Peace’s first foray into business; he’s also an adviser for Butter Cloth, a men’s clothing company. In six months, the brand did $500,000 in sales. After an appearance on Shark Tank last October, which saw the company secure a deal with Robert Herjavec, Butter Cloth has now made more than $4.5 million.

As he moves into his second career, World Peace has learned three key lessons along the way.

Build a strong team and culture

The need to develop a strong culture is paramount for World Peace. He acknowledges building that culture can take time, and it can be frustrating to invest so much in overhead, particularly if you don’t have a lot of excess capital. But getting that foundation in place — especially when that team knows how the business should operate because they’re so heavily invested — will pay off in the long run.

“Culture and teamwork are the biggest things. You need to have a place where you trust your co-founders. Some people try to do everything on their own,” he says. “There are so many different types of entrepreneurs. Some have the background to operate or design, others are more focused on business. Building that team around you is super important.”

NBA player Metta World Peace speaks at the BET NEWS CONVERSATION: Mental Health in the Black Community panel
Jerod Harris/BET/Getty Images for BET

Creating XvsX Sports has presented several challenges, too. World Peace and his team have worked on obstacles like gaining market share, the logistics of setting up games across gyms, and developing customer personas while identifying which ones to target first.

“It’s a lot. I’ve been doing this for about four years, and you need a lot,” he says. “You need data scientists, chief revenue officers to figure out where the best locations will be at. You need digital marketing, you need to acquire players — you have to tell them why they should play on your platform. It’s not as easy as you would think it is to find games for people. There’s a lot that goes into it. It’s challenging but it’s also fun.”

World Peace credits the strength of his team with keeping things running smoothly. And developing a basketball product is the right move for him, as he’s following his passion.

Invest in what you know and believe in

With a pro career spanning nearly 20 years, World Peace knows the game of basketball inside and out. He’s identified a problem area within the sport — an overabundance of players and unused courts, plus a strong desire for people to find quality competition. World Peace believes XvsX Sports can change how we view and play basketball.

“This will be like how fantasy sports revolutionized things,” he says. “We’re hoping to create a marketplace in the next year or two that will offer people a new type of playing experience. Whether you want to just have fun, or in case you’ve never played in college or professionally, we want to be the platform.”

Similarly, World Peace’s involvement with Butter Cloth stemmed from a chance fashion show while he was studying new trends in the advertising space. And once again, the passion for the product shone through.

“I was at (Los Angeles ad agency) MuteSix, learning about integrated and programmatic marketing,” World Peace says. “They told me, ‘Hey, put this shirt on.’ I put the shirt on and I melted from the love.”

It was love at first sight (or wear, in this case). And World Peace saw an opportunity because of how the shirt fit into his day-to-day schedule. He believes in products that he can actually use and benefit from.

“Business attire is not comfortable. I’d be at an investment meeting and be too hot, sweating under my armpits. This shirt made me feel different because I could actually add a business suit and be very comfortable.”

World Peace’s involvement with Butter Cloth has also enlightened him on running his own business.

Butter Cloth

Learn from your experiences

When Butter Cloth founder Danh Tran appeared on Shark Tank to pitch his company, he had an assist from World Peace, who made a cameo as the “in-house long-fiber cotton scientist.” A dunk while wearing a Butter Cloth shirt may have been a selling point for investor Robert Herjavec, but World Peace took the whole experience as a learning opportunity.

“The whole process taught me a lot about business and running a company. There’s a lot of number crunching, a lot that goes into it,” he says. “We went on the show and got a lot of returning customers. They don’t buy just one shirt. They buy 15 different shirts, which is amazing.”

Perhaps World Peace sees some of himself in Tran, as well. The Butter Cloth founder has also had a colorful career, with an ultimate tale of perseverance.

Tran grew up working in his family’s small tailor shop in Vietnam and was designing clothes by age 10. His family emigrated to the U.S., where he took fashion classes at a California college and landed a job at Mattel, designing clothes for Barbie.

He eventually enrolled at the Otis College of Art and Design, his dream school. Tran was recruited by several companies, landing at Affliction Clothing. He served as the company’s head designer for ten years before making a huge decision: He quit his job, sold his house, and cashed in his 401(k) to start Butter Cloth, going all-in on following his dream.

Tran’s story was instrumental for World Peace and is part of the reason he’s involved with the company. If World Peace has his way, his business book will follow a similar arc of success.

“Danh built Butter Cloth up from nothing, and it shows the confidence he has in his abilities. I want to be somebody like that as an entrepreneur.”

Ray Allen Jersey Signed

Ray Allen is a key part of the NBA’s evolution to what we see today. Alongside Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, Allen would form one of the first orchestrated Big Three in the NBA. This would set the stage for LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and others to attempt to replicate the same formula the Boston Celtics provided for the NBA landscape.

00:02
/
04:13
00:00
4
While the Celtics had much success with their Big Three, their ending didn’t go amicably. Ray Allen went down south to their rivals, the Miami Heat and ended up winning a second NBA title in 2013. This entire exchange would drive a wrench between Allen, Garnett and Pierce’s brotherhood.

The wrench is still there, according to Allen. In an interview with WEEI’s Ordway, Merloni, & Fauria show, Allen spoke out on how he felt the Celtics took his lack of being verbal for granted.

“Well, I’ll tell you what. It’s nothing personal, but it was disheartening when I left. I would speak when I needed to speak, but I didn’t speak up enough to where people listened and paid attention to me, and it took me for granted.

I often felt like I was taken for granted in this situation. When I left it was a shame of what was said about me, and it almost seemed like people were speaking out of anger, and I didn’t have any anger or animosity towards anybody.

It seemed like the team didn’t want to continue with the way I was helping and contributing. We’re still brothers let’s move forward from this. But unfortunately those guys had other agendas. The interesting thing about Big Baby and Kendrick Perkins making comments on the show is that they weren’t even on the team in 2011.”

While there will always be three sides to any story, it’s sad that the Celtics Big Three ended the way it did. Maybe one day the three of them can patch up their differences and be cordial.

Tod Murphy Jersey Signed

SALEM — Gordon College senior guard Eric Demers entered Tuesday’s game against Salem State with a scoring average of over 28 points per game.

After his Fighting Scots dispatched the Vikings, 95-78, that number increased by nearly three full points.

Demers went off for a season-high 41 on an efficient 13-of-23 from the field and 8-for-15 from deep, helping his squad pull away from the hosts in the second half and move above .500 the year.

“Salem’s always really good and they always give us a hard time. I know it wasn’t a pretty win, but we did what we had to do,” said Gordon head coach Tod Murphy, his team now 3-2.

“When you have Eric Demers in there scoring 41 points it makes it a lot easier. He hit shots from everywhere tonight and I know he takes some shots that ordinarily I probably wouldn’t allow other players to take, but he makes them.”

Demers got going early and often, closing out the first half with 20 points as Gordon took a slight 47-41 edge into the locker room. As referenced by his coach, the 6-foot-1 sharpshooter did his damage in a myriad of ways: mid-range pull-ups with defenders draped in his shirt, slithery layups in traffic and of course, 3-point bombs.

Piling up the buckets is nothing new for the fifth-year standout, as he averaged exactly 23.4 points in each of the last two seasons. But without running mate Garrison Duvivier, who graduated following last year’s successful campaign, Demers has taken an even more prominent role in the offense.

In five games thus far, he’s scored 24, 30, 28, 32 and 41, respectively, with a shooting split of .464/.400/.853. He seems to have taken his game to the next level in his farewell collegiate campaign, and Murphy has certainly taken note of that.

“He actually worked out with an NBA trainer this summer and that’s why his release I think has actually gotten quicker,” said Murphy. “Unless you foul him it doesn’t really have much of an effect on his shot. He’s a pretty special player at any level but at the D3 level he’s pretty incredible.”

While Demers was undeniably spectacular Tuesday night, things would have been exponentially more difficult had he had to defend Vikings’ senior guard Sean Bryan on the other end. Bryan — who had been averaging 23.6 points, eight rebounds and four assists over his first five — missed the contest due to an ankle injury, and the Vikings certainly suffered from his absence.

Without a reliable ball handler to run the offense (junior guard Alex de La Rosa was also out with an injury), Salem State were forced to work the ball inside a bit more. Hakeem Animashaun was once again a force on the block, finishing with 27 points and 14 rebounds while going 11-for-18 from the charity stripe, while Gloucester native Evan Mason finished with an efficient 14 points and seven boards.

But the Vikings’ offense looked stagnant and out of sorts at times without two of their top playmakers, and Gordon was able to take full advantage. Salem managed to connect on just three of their 17 3-point attempts on the night. With that being said, Murphy felt his group could’ve done a better job on defense and on the glass, as Salem managed to out-rebound the Scots’, 45-43.

“Without Sean out there I wasn’t real pleased with the effort. They would’ve scored 90-plus easily if Sean was in there so it wasn’t one of our best efforts,” said Murphy. “If we can get the defense in order with the offense that we have then we can beat a lot of teams. It’s just that right now we’re going to end up in a lot of 95-94 type games and that’s going to end my life way too soon if we do that too often.”

Ben North turned in a strong effort for the Scots off the bench, contributing 13 points, six rebounds, three steals and a pair of blocks in 23 minutes. Big man Parker Omslaer went for 14 points and seven boards while Josh Crutchfield also reached double figures with 10 points, six assists and two steals. Aljernod Terry led Gordon with 13 rebounds.

For Salem, Chris MacDonald had 14 points and eight boards while Fern Bernard chipped in nine off the bench.

Terrell Brandon Jersey Signed

Terrell Brandon has some skills for a little guy. He was the 11th pick in the first round and ended up being an all-star one year. Over his career, he was best known for playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Milwaukee Bucks as well as the Minnesota Timberwolves.

17
SCOTT BROOKS – 5-FOOT-11

If you are of a certain age you might just think of Brooks as a head coach in the NBA but he had a long playing career. He played in a total of 680 games, logging time with the Philadelphia 76ers, Houston Rockets, New York Knicks, and Cleveland Cavaliers.

16
DAMON STOUDAMIRE – 5-FOOT-10

Damon Stoudamire was short, this is true, but he has some pretty good skills. He was picked 7th by the Toronto Raptors and averaged almost 20 points a game over his time with them before he was traded to the Portland Trailblazers. He played 13 years in total.

15
BREVIN KNIGHT – 5-FOOT-10

Brevin Knight wasn’t known as much of a scorer, in fact, he was a horrible outside shooter but he sure could pass the ball. He was one of the NBA’s leading assist men for years. He played 13 years in the NBA, mostly as a starter. Not bad for a little guy.

14
AVERY JOHNSON – 5-FOOT-10

Avery Johnson is another guy who most people these days know as a coach, but he had a very solid career. He played for the now-defunct Seattle Supersonics as well as the San Antonio Spurs, Houston Rockets, Denver Nuggets, Golden State Warriors, and Dallas Mavericks. He won a championship with the Spurs.

13
TYUS EDNEY – 5-FOOT-10

Tyus Edney played for the Sacramento Kings, the Boston Celtics, and the Indiana Pacers. He also spent some time playing overseas. Although he never was a star he had a good career, especially for someone with his size who was a late second-round pick.

12
ANDRE BARRETT – 5-FOOT-10

Another NBA player who is quite possibly shorter than you is Andre Barrett. He was an undrafted journeyman guard over 4 seasons playing for the Houston Rockets, Magic, Chicago Bulls, Phoenix Suns, Toronto Raptors, and Los Angeles Clippers.

11
MICHAEL ADAMS – 5-FOOT-10

Michael Adams could fill it up and he could pass a little too. He bounced around the league before exploding for 26.5 points and 10.5 assists per game when he played for the Denver Nuggets. Before making the NBA he was a star at Boston College.

Thomas Robinson Jersey Signed

Thomas Robinson’s NBA comeback might be near its completion. Robinson, who played at the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas for the San Antonio Spurs, said he is in talks to sign an NBA contract.

“I’m in talks with [the Spurs] to hopefully secure something for the year,” Robinson told a small group of media members earlier in the week. “If not, I have a couple of other teams that I’m just trying to make sure the security is there. I have options. I just want to make the security a little more concrete because I’m at a point right now where I need to make the right decisions.”

Robinson said he was back in Lawrence to present his company “Hawk Scooters” to the City Commission on Monday night. (For a full story on Robinson’s company, click these words). Robinson also said he will be finishing his KU degree and plans to walk in May.

The former Jayhawk is coming off a season in the Chinese Basketball Association with the Beijing Fly Dragons.

“It was cool,” Robinson said of his year abroad. “I felt like I was pretty lucky, adjusting to my situation. I think for me, I was able to deal with it. Plus I was in Beijing, which is a tourist city, so you get your fair share of Americanized things.”

The 2018-19 season was Robinson’s first professional season in China. He spent the 2017-18 season playing for Khimki in Russia. In his lone season in Beijing, Robinson averaged 21.9 points and 13.6 rebounds. Prior to going abroad, Robinson played for six teams over a five-year stretch in the NBA.

To this point in his NBA career, Robinson has played in 313 games and started 12. For his NBA career, Robinson has averaged 4.9 points, 4.8 rebounds in 13.4 minutes. Prior to the start of the 2018-19 season, Robinson signed a non-guaranteed deal with the Atlanta Hawks but was subsequently waived a few days before the start of the season.

In four games with the Spurs at summer league in July, Robinson averaged 8.3 points on 57 percent shooting from the field, adding 6.8 rebounds in 14 minutes. Robinson gave some insight into his decision to play in summer league, despite being 27 years old.

“I played in summer league first and foremost to show that I don’t have any pride issues,” Robinson said. “I wanted to show that I can still play at a high level.”

The big man did deal with a knee injury during summer league, but only missed one game. In his first game in Las Vegas, Robinson threw down an emphatic dunk over an Orlando Magic player. A few games later he had a similar dunk, this time against the Hawks.

As for his playing career, Robinson didn’t sound like he plans on retiring any time soon.

“I plan to go until the wheels fall off,” Robinson said. “I have a high level of basketball left in me, especially at the NBA level. How long that’s going to go, I don’t know. But as of now, I’m doing my best.”

Start the Conversation
“>247Sports
Thomas Robinson talks about time in China, possible NBA comeback
Media breaks down Chaminade win, potential changes coming
Bill Self unsure if KU basketball can continue with two-big look
How to watch, betting line for KU basketball vs. BYU (Maui)
KU basketball vs. Chaminade: Quick recap & instant analysis
Media breaks down Chaminade win, potential changes coming
By KEVIN FLAHERTYTue Nov 26 2019
0

Chaminade’s presence at the Maui Invitational is as much ceremonial as anything, so the goal when a team draws the Silverswords is to avoid showing up on a historical highlight clip, like the school’s win over Virginia (and Ralph Sampson) in 1982, or Texas in 2012.

And Kansas passed that goal in defeating Chaminade 93-63 to tip off the Jayhawks’ run at the tournament. Kansas made 12-of-29 3-pointers, and at one point, point guard Devon Dotson had as many points (12) as Chaminade did. The Jayhawks further stretched things out in the second half when Udoka Azubuike, who battled foul trouble in the first half, put up 15 second-half points.

But while Kansas cruised, the opponent was a Division II one, so the goalposts were moved a bit. And it was easy to tell from Kansas coach Bill Self’s interview after the game that he wasn’t entirely pleased with the way things went. Further, those could lead to some real and lasting changes in how Kansas plays, perhaps even starting with the Jayhawks’ game in the Maui semifinals against BYU, a 78-63 winner over UCLA Monday night. Kansas’ second game is projected to tip off at 8 p.m. CT.

See what media members — and Self — had to say about Kansas’ victory over the Silverswords.

SOMETHING TO WATCH

Matt Galloway
@themattgalloway
Bill Self on his postgame radio interview after #kubball’s 93-63 victory over Chaminade: “Other than Doke, our bigs don’t play big. I don’t know that we can stay playing two bigs much longer to be honest with you because it’s just not very good when they’re both out there.”

69
12:25 PM – Nov 26, 2019
Twitter Ads info and privacy
16 people are talking about this
The biggest takeaway, right there. On a night where Kansas won by 30, coach Bill Self expressed his concerns that the Jayhawks could continue to play big. The bad news is that it hasn’t worked; Kansas’ biggest raw strength might be its big-man trio, any of whom would start for most other teams. The good news is that if Kansas does make the switch, it would be playing to what have been the Jayhawks’ most effective lineup combinations so far.

Charles Johnson Jersey Signed

LOS ANGELES (AP) — To LeBron James, triple-doubles are not a goal.

They are only a side effect of the consistent, brilliant all-around play he has been dishing out for 17 NBA seasons, with no slowdown in sight.

Triple-doubles also don’t mean much to LeBron without wins attached to them, so James was pleased when his latest statistical superlative occurred during yet another successful night for the surging Los Angeles Lakers.

James became the first player in NBA history to record a triple-double against every team in the league, and Anthony Davis scored 34 points during the Lakers’ fifth straight victory, 112-107 over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday night.

James finished with 25 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists to post a triple-double against his 30th opponent for the NBA-leading Lakers, who have won 12 of 13 after a perfect four-game homestand. James was more surprised than thrilled by his latest statistical achievement, particularly while a different statistic glared at him from the box score.

“Coach (Frank) Vogel came in here and said, ‘Congratulations,’ and I thought he was joking about my seven turnovers,” James said. “I really don’t know what to think about it. I just think it’s a pretty cool stat to know, and I’m glad it happened in a win.”

James has five triple-doubles in the Lakers’ last 10 games, getting four in victories. There’s a reason for this spree: Although James has constantly filled the stat sheet since he joined the league in 2003, he is leading the NBA this season with 11.1 assists per game, nearly four more than his career average. He has at least 10 assists in six consecutive games, the longest streak of his career.

Vogel has put the ball in James’ hands constantly on offense, and his playmaking acumen has grown along with his chemistry with Davis, as they demonstrated repeatedly against the Thunder. Seven of LeBron’s assists came on baskets by Davis.

“Amazing,” Davis said. “To be able to do that against every team is something special. I mean, (it’s) trippy that he’s been playing for a long time, so it was a matter of time before it happened, but just a tribute to all his hard work.”

James is fifth in NBA history with 86 triple-doubles, but the four players in front of him — Oscar Robertson, Russell Westbrook, Lakers great Magic Johnson and Lakers assistant coach Jason Kidd — hadn’t done it against 30 teams. Kidd, who did it against 28 teams, has served as a role model for James’ efforts as a tall point guard.

“He’s just playing terrific basketball,” Vogel said. “For him to be doing what he’s doing in his 17th year is just nothing short of remarkable. There’s no reason to believe he can’t sustain that for the rest of the season and help us make a real strong playoff push.”

Dennis Schröder scored 20 of his season-high 31 points in a phenomenal first half for the Thunder, who have lost four of five despite two solid performances at Staples Center. Danilo Gallinari added 25 points in his former home arena, and Nerlens Noel had 15.

“That’s why (James) is considered probably the best of all time, but I think we did a great job on him,” Schröder said. “They obviously hit some tough shots.”

One night after the Thunder barely missed an upset win over the Clippers thanks to a last-minute 3-pointer by former star Paul George, Oklahoma City couldn’t quite catch up to the powerful Lakers despite keeping the game close all night.

“There’s a lot of things we did well in there,” Oklahoma City coach Billy Donovan said. “But, you know, we came up short in all these games. I think the one sign you can point to is both teams, the Clippers and the Lakers, are really, really good teams, so we’re competing well at a high level. But we’ve just got to do more in order to be able to finish and close out games.”

The Thunder won’t have to wait long for a rematch: These teams meet again in Oklahoma City in three days.

TIP-INS

Thunder: F Hamidou Diallo missed his third straight game with a left knee sprain. … Schröder got a technical foul in the third quarter for confronting Davis at the free throw line after Davis dunked and was fouled.

Lakers: Kyle Kuzma left the court in the second quarter with an eye abrasion after teenager Darius Bazley hit him in the right side of his face with an elbow on a drive. Kuzma returned to the bench in the second half, but with obvious damage above his eye. He didn’t return to the game, although Vogel said he was available if necessary. The Lakers plan to re-evaluate him within the next 24 hours.

CLOSEOUT SEQUENCE

James’ 3-pointer put the Lakers up 109-98 with 3:08 to play, but the Thunder scored nine straight points to cut the Lakers’ lead to two on Gallinari’s free throws with 1:24 left.

After Danny Green got a key offensive rebound for the Lakers, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope drilled a 3-pointer with 55 seconds left. James missed two free throws moments later to keep the Thunder in it, but Oklahoma City couldn’t score again.

POINT GUARDS BEHAVE

Chris Paul had four points, 10 assists and five rebounds for the Thunder, and he didn’t appear to clash with Rajon Rondo, his opponent in a fight early last season while he was with the Rockets. Rondo had eight points and a season-high 10 assists.

UP NEXT

Thunder: Host the Lakers on Friday.

Lakers: Visit the Thunder on Friday.

Walter Berry Jersey Signed

I’m enjoying watching the Spurs lose. There’s a sentence I never thought I’d write.

Certainly it’s more entertaining to watch a winning team perform over the course of an 82-game season than a team on a seven-game losing streak that appears to be lottery-bound.

For the past 22 years, the post-season has been a staple in San Antonio. Making the playoffs wasn’t the goal. It was the starting spot for the real season.

But for those of us who lived in San Antonio before the run of rings began, there are lessons to be learned from ineptitude. All of them aren’t bad, either.

I date back to the pre-David Robinson era when losing was the norm. HemisFair Arena was a grand place to take in a Spurs game. It was a time when the Baseline Bums actually sat on … wait for it … the baseline.

The arrival of David Robinson signaled the end of an era of Spurs basketball marked by both losses and characters on the roster. (SBG San Antonio)

There was an abundance of great stories and wacky personalities then.

When it’s not all about vying for championships, those stories become the essence of fandom. Only devotees or masochists are on the non-bandwagon when the team’s record is 28-54 or 31-51, which was the case in the 1980s when I covered them as the beat writer for a local newspaper.

One could make the case memories born out of a sub-.500 season are almost as precious as title tours, because to truly appreciate and fully savor success, one has to have endured failure. There was plenty of that in the 80s before the Admiral arrived. But there was inspiration too.

Who can forget Johnny Moore, the courageous former Texas guard who battled back after contracting a form of fungus called Desert Fever that nearly proved fatal?

Throw in Walter Berry, the Carmelo Anthony of that era, then subtract the three percent of Anthony’s game that incorporates defense. That was Berry.

He once got in a fight with another player history has not treated kindly, Alvin Robertson. The two had little in common, starting with work ethic. While Robertson later ran afoul of the law, he was a workhorse on and off the court. Berry wasn’t a big fan of exertion.

On one fateful trip to an exhibition game in Montana of all places, Robertson and Berry tangled in a hotel corridor. The essence of the dispute was Berry’s lack of motivation to play when he wasn’t 100 percent, which once included missing a game due to constipation.

The Robertson-Berry kerfuffle involved a butter knife that was snatched from a leftover dinner tray in the hallway. The players were separated before any sawing began.

Imagine a story like that emanating from the Spurs during the Gregg Popovich era.

Players like Bahamian Mychal Thompson -who may be best known for fathering Golden State sharpshooter Klay Thompson – Jon Sundvold, Tyrone Corbin and the late Kevin Duckworth made that era unforgettable. Not only did they lose enough to earn the right to land Robinson, but they also generated unbelievable tales on a regular basis.

Jon Sundvold played for the Spurs in the 1980s (Courtesy photo)

In that era, teams travelled via commercial airline, with veterans and coaches ensconced in first class. The rookies were relegated to coach, along with the media members.

On one transcontinental flight, veteran Sundvold, all 170 pounds of him, actually gave up his first class spot for rookie Duckworth, who checked in at 275 pounds. It was a simple gesture that struck this reporter as one of the most selfless acts he had ever witnessed. To Sundvold, who had a copy of the Wall Street Journal tucked under his arm, it didn’t matter where he read the day’s financial news. It was more important that the 7-footer had a place to actually put his legs.

Nate Blackwell may be long forgotten by all but the most devoted Spurs fans, but the second-round pick from Temple made a lasting impression on me.

One of the 10 games in Blackwell’s brief NBA career came on a rainy 1987 night in Indianapolis. It was common practice for the players and media to share cabs at that time. Even though the arena was just half a mile from the Spurs’ hotel, Blackwell, a couple other players and this ink-stained wretch piled in together to avoid the elements.

When it came time to pay the cabbie at the end of the $2 ride, the scribe was expected to dip into his wallet. Finding only a $20 bill, which the driver couldn’t break, an awkward moment arose. But there was Blackwell, finding a fiver to cover the cost, and in the process, becoming the only athlete in my four-plus decades as a media member, to ever have an athlete pay a penny on my behalf.

Another trip that year produced a rather unique first. Nursing a handful of injuries, the Spurs didn’t have enough players to practice. As coach Bob Weiss surveyed his empty bench, he landed on a sportswriter who happened to be wearing shorts and a T-shirt for a planned post-practice jog around the building. Instead, Weiss cajoled the reporter – okay me – into standing on the court for a non-contact drill.

That was a bad decision for a variety of reasons, none the least of which was Corbin’s tactic of letting the reporter know he had crossed a line that should never be crossed. When an errant shot bounced our way, Corbin boxed out the unsuspecting writer and sent him flying into the second row. That was the start and end of my stint as a practice dummy.

These were the same players who would lose money to their coach in free throw shooting contests when Weiss would either swish shots blindfolded or bank them in off the backboard.

If the Spurs were consistent winners, would they have hired Jerry Tarkanian, the former UNLV coach who never met an NCAA rule he couldn’t break?

Immediately upon being hired, Tark reached deals with seven restaurants, so he could dine for free each night of the week. Item No. 2 on his checklist was to find out who these NBA players were, since his entire frame of reference was college basketball. To that end, he “treated” a few sportswriters to dinner at one of his restaurants of choice.

Maybe because the scouting reports he received weren’t exactly up to snuff, Tarkanian lasted just 20 games, or 1,800 less than Popovich.

That was a different time, a period when a lengthy losing streak wasn’t cause for self-immolation, as is the case now.

So enjoy the losing. There will be some great stories for us to savor if the team continues on its path to mediocrity.

James Posey Jersey Signed

The Basketball Tournament tips off on Friday at Greensboro Coliseum’s Fieldhouse, and several teams feature former college players and current pros with local ties.

Here’s a look at each team, and click here for a complete bracket and full rosters.

Team CP3
Chris Paul’s team is playing host to the regional, and the NBA All-Star and future hall of famer will be on the sideline as head coach.

Greensboro native P.J. Hariston is probably the most recognizable name on the list, having played parts of three seasons in the NBA and three more in the NBA G-League. He’ll be joined by fellow Tar Heel Kennedy Meeks, who averaged 14.7 points and 11 rebounds last season in Japan.

Former N.C. State teammates Sam Hunt, a Greensboro native, and Abdul Malik-Abu will also play for Team CP3, as will Winston-Salem native Reggie Johnson, who helped lead Miami to an ACC title. Former Wake Forest forward Aaron Rountree, Maryland guard Dez Wells and UNCG guard Diante Baldwin help round out the roster.

Team Hines
Kyle Hines (copy)
Kyle Hines holds his daughter, Anya, during the postgame celebration after he helped lead CSKA Moscow to the VTB United League basketball championship this year. CSKA also won the EuroLeague and Russian championships to complete a “treble.”

CSKA Moscow
One of two UNCG players with their jersey retired, Kyle Hines is back in town after winning another Euroleague championship. A productive player for more than a decade overseas, Hines has spent the past six seasons playing in Russia.

He’ll be joined by former Florida star Nick Calathes, now playing in Greece, along with Mike James, who played with the Phoenix Suns before spending the past three years overseas.

Maryland and ACC legend Juan Dixon will coach Team Hines, and Tony Durant, older brother of Kevin Durant, will assist him.

Tampa 20/20
Most fans in the Triad won’t be familiar with this team, which features overseas and G-League pros, but it will be coached by Detroit Pistons big man Andre Drummond.

PrimeTime Players
Jeff McInnis, Othella Harrington, Carlos Arroyo
Former UNC point guard Jeff McInnis.

Reinhold Matay
Former North Carolina point guard Jeff McInnis, who spent 10 seasons in the NBA, will be an assistant coach for PTP.

Eric Piatkowski Jersey Signed

In Vegas, Roby was playing in the post, though he will be more of a versatile wing player with the Mavericks, with the ability to play point forward or play on the perimeter on offense.

The 6-foot-8 Roby was the first Husker player to be selected in the NBA Draft since Venson Hamilton in the 1999 NBA Draft. Roby was the highest Husker draft pick since Ty Lue went in the first round of the 1998 NBA Draft. Roby was just the sixth Husker basketball player selected in the first two rounds of the NBA Draft, joining Marvin Stewart (2nd, 1971), Rich King (1st, 1991), Eric Piatkowski (1st, 1994), Lue (1st, 1998) and Hamilton (2nd, 1999).

4
COMMENTS
A three-year performer for the Huskers, Roby turned in a solid junior campaign, as he set career highs in scoring (11.8 ppg), rebounding (6.9 rpg), assists (1.9 apg) and steals (1.3 spg), while averaging 1.9 blocks per game. Roby was a mainstay in the Husker lineup for the past three years, helping the Huskers to consecutive postseason appearances in 2017-18 and 2018-19. He totaled 786 points, 530 rebounds and 154 blocked shots during his Husker career, as he finished sixth in school history in blocked shots.

The Legends open the season Nov. 8 against the Memphis Hustle.

Ron Livingstone Jersey Signed

NBCSN, beginning at 5pm Live
Top skaters and ice dancers compete in the U.S. Figure Skating Championships at Detroit’s Little Caesars Arena. NBCSN and NBC share live coverage of the event through Sunday.

Grey’s Anatomy: “Help, I’m Alive”
ABC, 8pm
Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) questions Link’s (Chris Carmack) laid-back approach over a patient’s treatment. Maggie (Kelly McCreary) worries that Richard (James Pickens Jr.), Jackson (Jesse Williams) and Catherine (Debbie Allen) haven’t come to terms with Catherine’s diagnosis. Meanwhile, DeLuca (Giacomo Gianniotti) steps up in the O.R. when Owen (Kevin McKidd) faces a setback.

Siren
Freeform, 8pm
Season Premiere!
Season 2 of the mermaid drama begins with “The Arrival.” While preparing for the promised appearance of more mermaids in the coastal town of Bristol Cove, marine researchers Ben (Alex Roe) and Maddie (Fola Evans-Akingbola) continue to bond with mermaid Ryn (Eline Powell), not only to protect her, but also to try to help save her entire civilization.
Ron Livingstone Jersey Signed

A Million Little Things: “the day before…”
ABC, 9pm
We go back to the day before Jon’s (Ron Livingston) death, before everything seemed to have fallen apart. Jon is struggling both in his personal and work life, Delilah (Stephanie Szostak) and Eddie (David Giuntoli) make plans to tell Jon about their secret affair, and Maggie (Allison Miller) attempts to start her new life in Boston.

Legacies: “Maybe I Should Start From the End”
The CW, 9pm
After discovering that Landon (Aria Shahghasemi) is in trouble, Hope (Danielle Rose Russell) and Alaric (Matthew Davis) set out in search for him. Along the way, they uncover some startling information about Landon’s past.

The Orville: “All the World Is Birthday Cake”
FOX, 9pm
The Orville makes first contact and a new crew member joins the ship.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine: “The Tattler”
NBC, 9pm
Jake (Andy Samberg) and Gina (Chelsea Peretti) revisit their past at their 20th high school reunion, and Boyle (Joe Lo Truglio) helps Rosa (Stephanie Beatriz) with her love life.

Fam: “Stealing Time”
CBS, 9:30pm
In the new episode “Stealing Time,” Freddy (Gary Cole) must negotiate with a merciless pawn shop owner to recover a treasured watch that Shannon (Odessa Adlon) stole from Walt (Brian Stokes Mitchell).

Broad City
Comedy Central, 10pm
Season Premiere!
Abbi (Abbi Jacobson) and Ilana (Ilana Glazer) are back for a fifth and final season of their comedy based on their real-life friendship and adventures in New York City.
Ron Livingstone Jersey Signed

The Other Two
Comedy Central, 10:30pm
New Series!
When their 13-year-old brother (Case Walker) achieves massive internet stardom, an aspiring actor (Drew Tarver) and his slacker sister (Heléne York) struggle to find themselves and prove their merit. Molly Shannon and Ken Marino also star.