NBA Veteran Jeremy Lin On Being Called ‘Coronavirus’ On The Court; Talks How Everyone Is So Quick Compare Struggles Between Different Minority Groups

In the wake of the mass shootings in Atlanta that killed eight people – including six Asian women – basketball pro Jeremy Lin tweeted “to my Asian American family” about his heartbreak and deep concern. While the shooting suspect’s motive has not been made public, Lin is no stranger to the anti-Asian sentiment that has been on the rise since the pandemic began. Lin is best known for generating “Linsanity” when he led a winning turnaround with the New York Knicks in 2012. Just before the deadly attack in Atlanta, he spoke with Michel Martin about racism in sports as part of Exploring Hate – our ongoing series on antisemitism, racism, and extremism.

Adult Video Streaming Site CamSoda Offers Paul Pierce $250,000 To Host NBA Show With Exotic Dancers After ESPN Firing

Former NBA world champion Paul Pierce and ESPN reportedly parted ways this week after the basketball analyst shared a video of himself with exotic dancers on Instagram Live. The video was widely shared across all social media platforms, which prompted the former NBA Finals MVP and ESPN to sever ties.

However, Pierce’s unemployment may not last very long. An adult website has offered Pierce a job that could be worth up to $250,000.

According to Jorge Alonso, the adult site CamSoda has offered Pierce the chance to live stream an NBA show with exotic dancers.

The offer letter read: “Dear Paul Pierce, I saw the news that you have parted ways with ESPN after you posted a video to social media of yourself with exotic dancers. Being that you are now unemployed, I would like to extend you a position at CamSoda as our first-ever ‘NBA Analyst.’ As our NBA Analyst, you would be required to stream yourself live on our platform every week night and discuss happenings around the NBA. Inside the NBA be damned. Here at CamSoda, we champion exotic dancers, cam girls and sex workers. We would be more than happy to accommodate your penchant for women and you’d be free to stream with them while they twerk in the background and more. We’d be willing to extend you an offer of up to $250,000.”

Since his playing career ended in 2017, Pierce has been working as an on-air analyst for ESPN. Pierce, a 10-time NBA All Star, has become known for providing some odd, fairly hot takes and certainly provides entertainment value.

Michael McCarthy of Front Office Sports reported on Monday that Pierce and ESPN have “parted ways” after he posted the video of himself with exotic dancers on his Instagram account.

“ESPN and NBA Legend Paul Pierce have parted ways, according to sources,” McCarthy wrote on Twitter. “Pierce posted videos of himself with exotic dancers on Instagram Live Friday night. Pierce has played a key role on ‘NBA Countdown’ + other ESPN basketball programming. ESPN declined to comment.”

Pierce had not released an official statement or commented on the matter to reporters as of early evening on Monday. He did, however, appear to offer a reaction to the move via Twitter and hinted at an imminent landing spot.

Pierce played 15 of his 19 NBA seasons with the Boston Celtics and averaged 19.7 points on 45% shooting for his career. He was the No. 10 pick in the 1998 NBA Draft out of Kansas and also played for the Brooklyn Nets, Washington Wizards and Los Angeles Clippers late in his career. The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame recently named Pierce as one of 14 finalists for its 2021 class, and he seems like a strong bet to be inducted as a first ballot Hall of Famer.

“Just to be recognized — if I do make it — just to be recognized in basketball lore forever,” Pierce said on ESPN’s “The Jump” via Boston.com. “When I’m long gone and away, I’ve always said — look, the Hall of Fame is forever, and having my number hung up in the Boston Garden is forever. So it’s a true honor if it were to happen. I’m blessed that I was able to put time in on my craft.”

Source: 247Sports

UCLA Advances To First Men’s Final Four Since 2008 Thanks To Johnny Juzang, Who Could Be First Asian American NBA Lottery Pick

Johnny Juzang’s impact at UCLA has been immediate since he transferred from Kentucky, giving the Bruins the scorer and dynamic player they had been missing in recent years.

The junior guard is playing his best at just the right time, leading the Bruins into the Final Four for the first time since 2008.

Juzang also has had a much broader impact, even if it’s been unintentional.

Projected to be the first Asian American NBA first-round pick, possibly in the lottery, he’s become an inspiration for younger players at a time when hate crimes against Asian Americans are on the rise.

“It’s not something that’s on the top of my mind or really think about. I’m just Johnny,” said Juzang, who’s mother is Vietnamese. “I will get messages or hear stories about how I inspire people, regardless of their heritage. Sometimes there are people of Asian decent. But just being able to inspire people is something that’s touching and inspires me and something I don’t take lightly.”

Juzang’s older brother Christian played at Harvard and led the Saigon Heat to the 2020 championship in the Vietnamese Basketball Association.

Christian was the top pick in the VBA draft, and the younger Juzang looks like he has an even brighter professional future. He has thrived on the court since transferring to Westwood. A former five-star recruit, the 6-foot-6 guard was a role player on a loaded Kentucky team, averaging 2.9 points and 1.9 assists in 28 games as a freshman.

Not long after the coronavirus pandemic shut down the season, Juzang announced he was transferring and later picked UCLA to be closer to his family in Tarzana, California.

Juzang missed the first four games of the 2020-21 season with a foot injury, but he is a big reason the Bruins were able to overcome senior Chris Smith’s season-ending knee injury in early January.

Juzang was the Bruins’ leading scorer at 15.5 points per game while shooting 34% from the 3-point arc and seemed to get better as the season progressed. He scored at least 20 points three times in the NCAA Tournament, including 28 against Michigan to clinch a spot in the Final Four.

And he’s done it on an ankle that’s been bothering him for weeks.

“He’s more of a scorer than a shooter and I think that’s what he got labeled at Kentucky,” UCLA coach Mick Cronin said. “I wanted him to get rid of that mindset. We really worked hard on his mid-range and him going to the basket. He’s grown immensely.”

Juzang’s length and skill set have him projected as a possible lottery pick in next year’s NBA draft. It will be history if he is.

Jeremy Lin was a standout at Harvard before his Linsanity days in the NBA and lengthy professional career. Kihei Clark, who’s Filipino American, made one of the biggest plays during Virginia’s run to the 2019 championship and just completed his junior season.

Arizona State’s Remy Martin had a stellar four-year career in the desert and Jordan Clarkson, who is also Filipino American, has a steady NBA career going after playing at Tulsa and Missouri.

Rui Hachimura of Gonzaga was a lottery pick, but he is a native of Japan. Yao Ming never played college basketball, going straight from the Chinese national team to the NBA.

Juzang is a rarity as an Asian American in college basketball with clear NBA potential.

“I think it’ll be a really significant moment and I think the more that it can just be felt where that is normal, I think is what can make it even more significant,” Miami Heat coach Eric Spoelstra, who’s mother is Filipino, said without talking specifically about Juzang. “It doesn’t matter what your race is or what your background is. As long as you can hoop, then people can see you in that way.”

A high draft pick or not, Juzang has been an inspiration for players, particularly young Asian Americans. Hate crimes against Asian Americans have spiked during the pandemic, as has the vitriol on social media and beyond toward people of Asian decent.

Juzang’s success and UCLA’s run into the Final Four has drawn positive reactions from Vietnam and all over the world.

“That’s always a good feeling to hear from people, but I wouldn’t say it’s on the forefront of my mind,” he said.

Maybe not, but it’s helping — at least a little.

Source: NBA

How Some Collegiate Athletes Are Making It Clear They’re #NotNCAAProperty​

Rece Davis talks with Michigan Wolverines’ Isaiah Livers, Jordan Bohannon of the Iowa Hawkeyes and Geo Baker of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights about their college experiences and what they are hoping to accomplish from the #NotNCAAProperty​ movement.

0:00​ Livers, Bohannon and Baker describe what their college experiences have been like throughout their four years at their respective schools.
4:56​​ They describe the reaction on social media, especially with Livers wearing the shirt that says “Not NCAA Property.”
12:24​ Bohannon explains what they hope to accomplish in their upcoming meeting with NCAA president Mark Emmert.
17:00​ Livers says the Michigan coaches, including Juwan Howard, have been very supportive of what he is trying to achieve.
21:07​ Baker and Livers explain what the impact would be if college athletes are able to make money off their likeness.

Why Jeremy Lin Turned Down Millions In China’s CBA To Play For Warriors’ G League Team

For years after the three-week stretch that made him an international phenomenon, Jeremy Lin went out of his way to avoid saying “Linsanity.”

The word, which he trademarked in 2012 to prevent strangers from profiting off his image, carried too much trauma. It had been coined by Knicks fans to describe their excitement for an unheralded reserve who blossomed — seemingly overnight — into a franchise hero, but it took on a less complimentary meaning when Lin failed to recapture the greatness he exhibited during those 18 days in February.

As Lin ping-ponged among six franchises in seven years before heading to China in August 2019 when no NBA team signed him in free agency, he came to view Linsanity as a painful reminder of his unfulfilled promise. His legacy was seemingly distilled to less than a month’s worth of games when he couldn’t do enough to be remembered for more.

But over the past year, therapy sessions and a memorable season in his maternal grandmother’s home country helped Lin come to terms with his place in basketball history. His recent decision to forgo a seven-figure contract in China and sign with Golden State’s G League affiliate, the Santa Cruz Warriors, for less than the average elementary school teacher’s salary was rooted in little more than a desire to prove to himself that he still belongs in the NBA.

As one of the faces of the Chinese Basketball Association, Lin lived in a penthouse apartment in downtown Beijing, rode to practices in the backseat of a luxury sedan and often navigated throngs of autograph-seekers to reach the hotel elevator. Now, nine years removed from his last G League game, he is back in a level he remembers best for the time he and his Erie BayHawks teammates ate saltine crackers all day before a game in Portland, Maine, because the team bus had broken down during a snowstorm.

“In China, I had so much fan support and so many amazing things going on,” said Lin, who paced the Beijing Ducks last season in scoring (22.3 points per game), assists (5.6 per game) and steals (1.8 per game). “To surrender all of that and to come here, honestly, some people think I’m crazy.”

After his Ducks were beaten in the CBA’s semifinals in early August, Lin returned to his parents’ house in Palo Alto. Each morning, around 4 or 5, he awoke as questions about his future raced through his mind: Would he be comfortable finishing his career in front of adoring fans in China? Would he always have a gnawing regret that he hadn’t given the NBA another shot?

Lin had heard from his agent that NBA teams weren’t impressed by gaudy stats against inferior competition in the CBA. His quickest route back to the sport’s top level would be through the G League, from where 35 players were called up to the NBA last season.

At age 32, Lin recognizes that he can’t afford to waste time. His hope is that, after a dozen or so games with Santa Cruz at the Orlando bubble, he’ll land an NBA contract and show that he should never have had to leave the league in the first place.

That is important personal growth, but he isn’t content stopping there. Instead of returning to China, where he could revel in being one of the biggest celebrities in a basketball-crazed country of nearly 1.4 billion people, Lin figures he owes it to himself and his fans to see whether he can author another inspirational story.

Source: SF Chronicle

1952 Mickey Mantle Baseball Card Sells For $5.2 Million, An All-Time Record For Trading Cards

A 1952 Mickey Mantle — one of baseball cards’ holy grails — has sold for a whopping $5.2 million, setting a record for the most expensive trading card ever and nearly doubling its value since a 2018 sale.

The card is one of nine known in existence in its condition. It sold to Rob Gough, an entrepreneur and actor, who started the DOPE clothing and CBD line and whose credits include the 2018 film “Billionaire Boys Club.”

This particular card is graded as Mint 9 by PSA — the go-to grading service for cards — and sold for $2.8 million in 2018 to an unidentified buyer, who then sold it to Gough in a deal brokered by PWCC Marketplace, a leader in the trading card investment market.

“Based on our research, this is the nicest looking 1952 Topps Mantle PSA 9 in existence,” Jesse Craig, director of business development at PWCC Marketplace, said in a press release.

The sale further illustrates the trading card boom that has hit the industry in recent years, with 2020 being a particularly strong year for sports cards. Cards these days aren’t just a hobby — they’re seen as investments, in the way people play the stock market.

It’s now a playground for the rich to either invest or live out their childhood dreams.

“I’ve dreamt of owning a 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle since I was a kid collecting cards,” Gough said in a statement. “It’s the Mona Lisa of sports cards and I’ve been searching for this high graded example talking to industry experts, dealers, auction houses, friends and I’m ecstatic that I’m now the proud owner of this iconic card.”

A combination of factors led to a red-hot sports card market in 2020: ESPN’s “The Last Dance” made the market boom for Michael Jordan-specific products. The pandemic led many fans and collectors to rediscover cards. In many cases, even normal modern sports-card products were hard to come by at big-box retailers like Walmart and Target.

Source: Yahoo Sports

Houston Rockets Player Christian Wood Admits Girlfriend Left Him After Going Undrafted, Now Has $41M Contract

Houston Rockets star Christian Wood has revealed that his girlfriend left him the same night he went undrafted as a 19-year-old in the 2015 NBA Draft.

Christian Wood is enjoying life in Houston now but the story was different five years ago in 2015. The then 19-year-old sophomore out of UNLV had anticipated hearing his name announced during the 2015 NBA Draft, and later celebrating with loved ones at Caesar’s Palace. However, things did not pan out well, and it was a night to forget for young Christian Wood who went undrafted. 

In an interview with The Ringer, Christian Wood spoke about his career so far and the horror night in which he went undrafted five years ago. Wood was pegged as a late first-rounder during the 2015 NBA Draft by most mocks, but those hopes soon faded as he went undrafted. He had rented an event space at Caesar’s Palace and had invited a few dozen family and friends. His worst fears came true when he went uncalled in the second round. 

And while Christian Wood went undrafted, his despair that night reached a tipping point when he was dumped by his girlfriend. Wood reveals that he dropped her off at the airport after the draft and never saw her again. In the years that followed, Wood became an NBA journeyman and even signed with the Chinese Basketball Association in 2017. He was later waived by the Fujian Sturgeons which Wood reveals was a ‘new low’. 

Five years since the fateful night saw Christian Wood undrafted and dumped by his girlfriend, the 25-year-old has redeemed himself and has become one of the rising stars in the league. After bouncing around and playing limited minutes for the Charlotte Hornets, New Orleans Pelicans and Milwaukee Bucks, Wood finally had a chance to make his mark in Detroit. Wood averaged 13.1 points and 6.3 rebounds in 62 games for the Pistons but was eventually let off.

Christian signed with Houston Rockets in the off-season, signing a three-year, $41 million contract. While it is still early days, the 25-year-old has already shown signs that the Christian Wood contract could be a steal by Houston, having averaged 27.0 PPG and 8.0 RPG in 40.0 MPG for a depleted Rockets squad.

Source: Republic World

Rob Van Dam: How To Move Up In WWE Through Backstage Politics

In this exclusive clip from “Retrospective” with ECW legend Rob Van Dam, “The Whole F’n Show” explains how to build up a wrestling career in WWE, navigating the politics with the McMahon family, taking care of ‘the guys’ to earn your opportunity, and Shane McMahon telling RVD ‘the one thing’ he fell short on in getting a push while John Cena was on hiatus from the company.