Everything you need to know heading into the weekend in the world of sports.
Last weekend, TMZ released an audiotape of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling making racist remarks.
On Tuesday, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver handed down a lifetime ban, plus a $2.5 million fine to Sterling for his actions.
After the press conference ended, Adam said that the new commish got it right. He elaborated on that take Wednesday.
Sterling had a history of making racist comments throughout his tenure as the owner of the Clippers, but former commissioner David Stern never disciplined him for that in the past. Now, there’s a new sheriff in town who made an emphatic statement by banishing Sterling for life. There is no place in the NBA for this type of bigotry and hatred, and it will not be tolerated. Period.
Interview of the Week
Roger Mason Jr., longtime NBA guard and the first vice president of the NBPA, joined Schein on Sports on Wednesday and talked about the players’ point of view on the Sterling controversy. He said NBA players would not be satisfied until there is new ownership in Los Angeles. The players want Sterling out sooner rather than later – as early as the NBA Draft in June.
Mason also talked about how NBA players had planned to boycott the NBA playoff games if they weren’t satisfied with Silver’s ruling. Fortunately, a boycott never happened, but Mason talked about how there was one planned for Game 5 between the Warriors and Clippers. It would’ve been interesting to see if there were league-wide boycotts, as Mason mentioned that similar protests were planned in Washington and Oklahoma City during their playoff games on Tuesday night, but it appears that the players are satisfied with Silver’s decision.
Underrated Story of the Week
Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal joined the show on Monday, a day before Washington eliminated the Chicago Bulls in five games, and talked about how his team couldn’t afford to look past Chicago. The Wizards certainly didn’t, holding Chicago to 69 points in Game 5 and beating the Bulls at their own game by playing great defense.
The Wizards will draw either the top-seeded Indiana Pacers or the No. 8 seed Atlanta Hawks in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Frank Vogel’s Pacers are as vulnerable a top seed as we’ve ever seen in the NBA playoffs, and the Atlanta Hawks finished 6 games under .500 for a reason. Regardless of how that series ultimately plays out, the upstart Wizards will probably be the favorite to advance to the Eastern Conference finals.
GIF of the week
During Game 3 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinal series between the Charlotte Bobcats and Miami Heat, LeBron James appeared to stare down something (or someone) during this breakaway dunk. Bobcats owner Michael Jordan was sitting courtside, so there was some speculation that King James was sending a message to the best player in the history of the NBA. LeBron denied doing so.
Either way, the Heat advanced and will take on the Raptors-Nets winner in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Maybe he’ll ask his buddy Drake for a lint roller if the Raptors finish off the Nets this weekend.
5 Things to Watch This Weekend
- The best second round matchup in the Stanley Cup Playoffs is the Anaheim Ducks-Los Angeles Kings series. These SoCal rivals had never met in the postseason before now. The LA Kings are coming off of a historic comeback, defeating the perennial playoff choke artists, the San Jose Sharks, after trailing 3-0 in the series, while the Ducks took care of the Dallas Stars in six games. Game 1 is Saturday night.
- We saw on Thursday night a trio of Game 7’s in NHL. This weekend, it’s the NBA’s turn, starting with Game 7 of Hawks-Pacers ...
- … followed by Game 7, Grizzlies-Thunder …
- … and Game 7, Warriors-Clippers. And that’s just Saturday!
- If that’s not enough, Friday’s NBA schedule features a trio of Game 6 matchups, with Raptors-Nets, Spurs-Mavericks and Rockets-Blazers on the docket … and if Brooklyn, Dallas or Houston win on Friday, that’ll force – you guessed it! – Game 7 on Sunday. Awesome!
As always, you can hear our predictions every week on the Schein Nine!