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Created with Adobe Photoshop. Original images courtesy Getty

When the business of sports meets the world of politics, only chaos ensues

IF THERE WAS any doubt over whether or not NBA players were willing to become “political” as the United States elected its 45th president, it took less than a year for an answer to arise.

In the aftermath of the Golden State Warriors’ second title in their extended dynastic run, they, as a team, decided not to visit the White House as NBA champions — something which had become a tradition of sorts in the league. Donald Trump, in response, tweeted that he was forgoing the invitation to the White House altogether.

Of course, this wasn’t a one-time occurrence for Trump: he has sub-tweeted athletes from most major U.S. professional sports, with little rhyme or rhythm to it. …

A brief insight into the thoughts of best-selling author and former walk-on at Marquette, John Willkom

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Courtesy John Willkom

John Willkom (@John Willkom on Medium) might not be the first name that comes to mind when thinking about Marquette Basketball, but he has become a prominent name in the sports world for his detailing of the world of Division 1 basketball.

Whether you are an aspiring college athlete or a normal basketball fan, there is value and learning about the lessons, hard work, and sheer competitiveness it takes to make it to the next-level of athletics after high school, as well as the lifelong values that sports teaches.

In 2003, as he graduated from Marshfield High School in small-town Wisconsin, Willkom began to write down his experiences, perhaps to save a few memorable sports stories for the future. He received a scholarship at Minnesota-Crookston, a D-2 basketball program, but transferred to Marquette after one season. …

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Made with Photoshop (Created on BBALL University)

The top performers, best narratives, and key decisions of the 2020 championship

The Los Angeles Lakers won their 17th NBA Championship on Sunday night, dominating in Game 6 of the 2020 NBA Finals to overtake the young, pesky Miami Heat.

After a disappointing Game 5 loss in the black and gold “Black Mamba Jerseys — which which would have created a Hollywood-like ending to this season for L.A. — the team redeemed themselves in Game 6.

Meanwhile, Miami appeared to be gassed, with a distinct lack of energy after winning a brutally difficult Game 5. …

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Created with Google Slides and edited with Photoshop

How LeBron weaponized his memory to aid him in his championship quests

IT WAS MAY OF 2018, and LeBron James’ Cleveland Cavaliers were in the midst of another extended playoff run. A disappointing Game 1 performance, in which James and the Cavaliers were lethargic throughout, had the young Boston Celtics feeling confident in a potential Finals berth.

In the only time they were threatening a comeback, down 14, the Cavaliers gave away a quick 7–0 run, sealing the night for the Cavaliers (James, in these 2018 Playoffs, in particular, was so taxed offensively that coach Tyronn Lue rested him whenever a game seemed in doubt).

It was in the post-game press conference where James, who is most notable for his hulking 260-pound, 6' 9" frame, revealed another God-given trait of his: memory. …

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Edited with PhotoShop, original courtesy Getty

How the league’s title favorite team collapsed — and now face an uncertain future

IN THE MOST surprising result of these 2020 NBA Playoffs, the L.A. Clippers lost in a Game 7 against the young, unproven Denver Nuggets. It was a horror story for the seemingly better L.A. team, as whispers of the fabled “Clippers Curse” returned to haunt a franchise that hasn’t been able to exorcise its playoff demons.

These Clippers, in a year where the Warriors dynasty was put on hiatus (or ended altogether), were supposed to have the depth, star talent, and two-way ability that made them the clear-cut title favorites.

Yet, as the buzzer sounded in Game 7, and reports of players asking out of the game after 3-minute stretches due to sheer exhaustion, Paul George postgame comments to the media and teammates drew “bewilderment” and ire from fans and teammates, and Doc Rivers wallowed in the wake of another 3–1 series loss, everything we knew about these L.A. …

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Edited with PhotoShop and made with Google Slides. Images courtesy Getty and Nike.com

The story of the game’s most popular star turning his shoes into the most popular sneaker

IT’S OPENING NIGHT in the NBA: a nationally-televised marquee matchup between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Boston Celtics. It was LeBron James’ first meeting against Kyrie Irving since the latter requested a trade in the offseason, and it was the Celtics debut for Gordon Hayward and Jayson Tatum.

But after Hayward’s gruesome injury, LeBron’s 29–16–9 performance, and a nail-biting finish, the prevailing headline was… LeBron James’ shoes?

That’s right, LeBron’s shoes, with sharp gold font calling for “EQUALITY” contrasted against a creamy black knit, stole the headlines around the NBA. …

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Edited — Original: Boston Globe

Why Houston believes their “small-ball” approach is more than a gimmick

IN THE WANING hours before the NBA trade deadline, Mike D’Antoni and Daryl Morey had a pressing choice to make. Their starting center, Clint Capela, was nursing a significant heel injury, having missed the past 11 games, and Houston was playing P.J. Tucker at center full-time.

D’Antoni, for the record, was on a hot seat, on the last year of his contract with his team no longer playing like the juggernaut they were from 2017–2019.

So he and Morey made their choice: it was time to go all-in.

The collective basketball world was shocked when Houston traded Capela to the Hawks in a three-team deal that landed them Robert Covington, a former undrafted forward who was originally picked up by Morey. Covington was supposed to a the ideal piece for Houston, a player whose “3 & D” skillset made Morey’s statistical models identify him as a hidden gem all those years ago. …

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Edited with Photoshop. Original: NBAE-Getty Images

The events that turned a dream season for L.A. into a nightmare

WHEN ANTHONY DAVIS, LeBron James, and the Los Angeles Lakers took the court to begin their season, they came with a purpose.

Davis came to L.A. with some proverbial extra baggage, having just drawn the ire of fans outside California for his mid-season trade demand — where he didn’t hide his desire to join a large market team with another superstar.

James, meanwhile, disappointed in his Hollywood debut after sustaining a groin injury on Christmas Day, ruining the Lakers’ playoff chances before the calendar switched to 2019.

Their mission began in a location all too familiar for James: the Bay Area. …

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Three Takeaways From the End of Regular Season Action:

  1. The Lakers Poor Offense (and Some Role Player Spotlights)

The Lakers looked like a top-two choice for the NBA title before the shutdown, now they look like they’ll have to fight just to make it to the Conference Finals. Their defense has traveled to Orlando, but they left their offense in L.A., posting an ORTG under 100 and shooting under 28% on threes.

Two players in particular need to step up: Danny Green and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.

Green’s veteran savvy and defense haven’t made up for his sharp decline in three-point shooting. One issue that’s caused this is LeBron’s preference for having the offense be set up before attacking means Green has taken a lower volume of open catch-and-shoot threes and has taken far too many contested pull-up threes in transition. …

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Made with PhotoShop. Images courtesy the Philadelphia Inquirer and Getty Images

Why the Sixers’ medical team and the franchise’s history of injury is quickly becoming one of the biggest mysteries in the sport

This piece was written as Ben Simmons suffered a dislocated knee-cap, yet another horrific injury that might end Philadelphia’s season prematurely. Simmons, one of the most durable players in the league, has seemingly fallen victim to the injury curse that plagues the Sixers.

THE DECISION SEEMED curious at best, horrific at worst. Once again, the Sixers’ medical team was at the forefront of it all.

Coming out of the All-Star break, with intense workouts and a historically competitive All-Star game, Ben Simmons had been pushing himself physically, trying to ramp up his conditioning for what he hoped would be a strong finish to his team’s season. …

About

Spencer Young

Student. Fan. Writer. Words in Bleacher Report, others. Check out our official website: https://officialbballuniversity.com

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