Kyrie Irving Defended By Danny Ainge Amid Heavy Criticism In Boston

At the beginning last season, Kyrie Irving told a raucous Boston Celtics crowd that he would re-sign with the team if they wanted him. Fast-forward a whole season later and we know exactly what happened with that promise. Irving ended up leaving the team and joined the Brooklyn Nets alongside Kevin Durant. Towards the end Kyrie’s tenure in Boston, he was heavily criticized for being a bad leader and breaking up the team’s chemistry. In a recent interview, Celtics president basketball operations, Danny Ainge, defended Kyrie and said he shouldn’t take all the responsibility for what went down.

Kyrie Irving Defended By Danny Ainge Amid Heavy Criticism In Boston

Jonathan Daniel/Getty s

Per Toucher & Rich on 98.5 the Sports Hub:

“I continually tried to remove that pressure from Kyrie and tell him to] just be yourself, just go play, just have fun, find joy in the game. Quit trying to be something you’re not. Just forget about all this nonsense about, ‘You have to get other people involved, you have to be the leader the team, you have to be Superman to our team.’ He didn’t need to do that. I think he did feel that burden, that he had to be too much, and wasn’t able to do that. Yes, we had chemistry issues during the season and I did say on the show that it was not all on Kyrie. It was a lot people who were responsible for chemistry issues. I don’t like the fact that all the blame is on him. I’d like everyone to take responsibility for that. So I feel like the Kyrie bashing is unfair. That’s all.”

Now that Irving is playing alongside KD, he won’t have to worry too much about being the leader as it assumed that Durant will want to take over that role. It’s interesting to see Ainge make these comments though especially considering Irving “ghosted” the Celtics near the end.

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Charles Barkley Reveals The Best Player He Ever Guarded

Charles Barkley will most likely go down in history as one the best NBA players ever, who never won a championship. Barkley played 16 years in the NBA and was known for being a beast out on the court. While Barkley developed quite a few rivalries over the years, he’s never been shy to pay respect to those who he felt were worthy adversaries. He knows when to give people their flowers and at a recent charity event, the NBA on TNT analyst revealed who he thought was the best player he’s ever gone up against.

Barkley gave a surprising answer as he said Kevin McHale the Boston Celtics was the best player he ever had to guard. McHale played 17 years in the NBA and won three championships with the Celtics throughout the 80s. He may not be a household name to today’s NBA crowd, but he was definitely a great player at the time.

“He’s one the greatest basketball players ever, and I actually work with him now on television,” Barkley said Sports Illustrated. “He’s the best player I ever played against and had to guard.”

Barkley also said that McHale was practically impossible to stop on defense and that he used to have nightmares about him. Considering Barkley played against the likes Michael Jordan, Hakeem Olajuwon, and Magic Johnson, McHale is getting some pretty high praise here.

UFC’s Henry Cejudo Spotted With New Love Interest, Brazilian Actress Sandra

Check out more photos the two in the tweet embedded below.

Cejudo last fought in June, when he KO’d Marlon Moraes to retain his Bantamweight title. The 5’4 powerhouse had flirted with the idea challenging for the Featherweight title, but UFC President Dana White recently told TMZ that Cejudo’s next fight will be in the Flyweight division, likely against title contender Joseph Benavidez.

“You’d have to look at Joe Benavidez],”White said. “At 135] I don’t know but next he should defend that title. He would go to 125, defend that title, then we would decide who he would fight next. As long as Cejudo is willing to defend both titles, I think he is a guy that can carry both them, and by both them I mean both divisions.”

Charles Barkley Reveals The Best Player He Ever Guarded

Charles Barkley will most likely go down in history as one the best NBA players ever, who never won a championship. Barkley played 16 years in the NBA and was known for being a beast out on the court. While Barkley developed quite a few rivalries over the years, he’s never been shy to pay respect to those who he felt were worthy adversaries. He knows when to give people their flowers and at a recent charity event, the NBA on TNT analyst revealed who he thought was the best player he’s ever gone up against.

Barkley gave a surprising answer as he said Kevin McHale the Boston Celtics was the best player he ever had to guard. McHale played 17 years in the NBA and won three championships with the Celtics throughout the 80s. He may not be a household name to today’s NBA crowd, but he was definitely a great player at the time.

“He’s one the greatest basketball players ever, and I actually work with him now on television,” Barkley said Sports Illustrated. “He’s the best player I ever played against and had to guard.”

Barkley also said that McHale was practically impossible to stop on defense and that he used to have nightmares about him. Considering Barkley played against the likes Michael Jordan, Hakeem Olajuwon, and Magic Johnson, McHale is getting some pretty high praise here.

Nicki Minaj Stepped Down In Saudi Arabia For Janet Jackson, 50 Cent, Chris Brown, Future & Tyga To Step Up?

New York, NY – Nicki Minaj was scheduled to headline Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah World Fest but the “Megatron” artist pulled out of her performance due to human rights concerns over the country’s strict gender policies, chiefly affecting women and the LGBTQ community.

“After careful reflection, I have decided to no longer move forward with my scheduled concert at Jeddah World Fest,” Minaj exclusively told The Associated Press Tuesday (July 9).

As Nicki stepped down from her position as the controversial fest’s headliner, American superstars Janet Jackson, 50 Cent, Chris Brown, Future and Tyga, reportedly stepped up, the AP reports.

The festival is slated to take place Thursday (July 18) at the King Abdullah Sports Stadium.

The Human Rights Foundation have asked performers to protest the Middle Eastern country and to instead, stand in solidarity with women and the LGBTQ community.

In a statement to AP, Human Rights Foundation president Thor Halvorssen, criticized and expressed disappoint that the latest fest additions “have chosen money over morals.”

“These individuals constantly make public statements of support for LGBT rights and women’s rights, except, apparently, when a seven-figure check is attached,” Halvorssen added. “The hypocrisy is breathtaking. Principal apparently matters to them far more than principles.”

It’s only been recently that women have been allowed to drive and attend sports games as a result of Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s top-down reform efforts. However, gender segregation between single women and men is still heavily enforced at restaurants, public schools and universities.

Mariah Carey, Enrique Iglesias, The Black Eyed Peas, Sean Paul, David Guetta and Tiësto are just a few entertainers the Saudia Arabia kingdom have commissioned to perform over the past six months.

Damian Lillard On Game 5 Series-Winner: “That Was For Seattle”

Portland Trail Blazers All Star Damian Lillard delivered one the greatest game winners in NBA Playf history this past season, when he drilled a 40-foot dagger in front the hometown fans to eliminate the OKC Thunder in Game 5 the first round. 

The image Lillard calmly waving goodbye to the Thunder players and coaches while the crowd at the Moda Center went absolutely berserk won’t soon be forgotten. Dame’s shot ultimately sent the Thunder into a complete rebuild, as the team traded away All Stars Paul George and Russell Westbrook.

During a recent interview with Sports Business Radio, Lillard touched on that epic, series-clinching, game-winner. Says Dame, “What can I say? That was for Seattle.”

Obviously, Lillard is referring to how the beloved Seattle Supersonics franchise was picked up and moved to Oklahoma City in 2008. Sonics fans, as well as NBA fans in general, are still pleading with the NBA to bring a team back to the Emerald City but they can all take solace in knowing that Dame has dedicated his Game 5 dagger to their fanbase. 

Shannon Brown Is Doing Just Fine Amid Divorce From Singer Monica

Former NBA player Shannon Brown has found his name in the headlines, not only because he’s a co-captain BIG3’s Aliens team, but due to his divorce from singer Monica Brown. The 33-year-old sports star has been silent in regards to the dissolution his nine-year marriage, but he let everyone know that he’s doing just fine.

Brown told Sister Circle TV for TVOne that contrary to anything people may hear in the media, things aren’t as dramatic as they may seem. “I haven’t been going through a lot nothing,” he said when asked about everything he’s been enduring as late. “I feel like a lot people take stories that they hear and they kind blow it up for entertainment purposes. I learned how to ignore the negativity and just keep pushing forward. I feel like that’s what it’s all about. It’s funny because I think a lot people got the same idea. Like, when they see me they’re like, ‘Are you OK?’ And I’m like, ‘I’m fine, what’s wrong?’ It’s part it, though, when you’re in the public eye. You’ve got to be able to deal with whatever come along with it. I’m strong in my faith and my spirituality, so that’s what pull me or push me.”

During a recent episode  T.I. & Tiny: Friends & Family HustleMonica admitted that things have been rough for her as she adjusts to the shifts that have been going on in her life. “Things in my personal life have been changing a lot, and it has not been easy,” Monica stated. “I cannot lie. My personal relationship is taking a major toll on me. I’m feeling it every day. I’ve been keeping everything to myself and I feel overwhelmed…I’m everybody’s go-to, and I think it makes people think I’m pretending to be perfect when in actuality, I just don’t believe in pausing. ‘Cause it’s like you pause and you get stuck.”

 

Lamar Odom Is Determined To "Break The Cycle" Of His Past, Announces MicDrop Partnership

It’s been a difficult road for Lamar Odom. He’s battled trauma, pain, abuse, addictions, a near-death experience, and recovery. He is now facing a life without basketball, something that is counted as yet another loss, as it was recently announced that he’s been deactivated from the BIG3 League. The former Los Angeles Lakers star shared his disappointment with the league’s decision on Instagram, but he made it clear that he’s walking away from his brief experience with a positive outlook.

Days later, the Darkness To Light best-selling author decided to be transparent with his 473,000 followers on IG in hopes inspiring them with his story. “We think we live, but many us we really don’t; we are on auto pilot,” Odom wrote. “We are not even aware this until conflict knocks down our doors. These moments or periods make us reflect back on ourselves. Who is really in control my life? Me or my past? Have I become everything I hated? My beautiful escape from the pain life has always been basketball. The first thing I did when I heard that my Mom passed away, was run to my childhood court in Lincoln park and escape there. Being deactivated from the Big 3 has made me realize that I can no longer depend on basketball to find emotional relief from the inevitable hurdles life. I’ve made a decision to stop this time, reflect for real and not run away or escape – not into basketball or anything else.

Odom said that in this time, he’s dedicated to rebuilding his relationships with his children because he doesn’t want them to inherit his dysfunctions and traumas. “Together with my daughter Destiny and the mother my children, Liza Morales, I am going to use this opportunity to connect to my children and break the cycle my past,” he wrote. “All three us have been through extreme difficulties, individually and as a family, that we have not spoken about.”

He also announced that he’s partnered with MicDrop, a motivational public speaking firm that helps people heal through effective communication. The company shared a promo video starring Odom that begins with them asking if the sports star is happy. He responds by telling them no. When they ask why not, he quickly states that there are many reasons, none which he wanted to talk about. Check it out below.

Ciara Channels Momma Shark While Milly Rocking To "Baby Shark" Remix

If you have kids your own or have young nieces and nephews, you’re probably more than likely aware the “Baby Shark.” You’ve probably heard it a few times which is enough to have the song drilled into your memory. It became a global phenomenon that took over pop culture this year. Travis Scott was even seen turning up in the club to “Baby Shark” which we can only assume Stormi put him onto. 

Ciara‘s the latest celebrity to hop on the “Baby Shark” wave but she did it with her own twist. Here’s the thing, Ciara can essentially make anything look good at this point but the fact that she busted a whole move over “Baby Shark” is pretty impressive. Mind you, she hit the Milly Rock with a remix to “Baby Shark” which, even in a minute-long clip, is more tolerable than the original. Her kids are definitely to thank for putting her onto the song. Maybe the remix she was dancing to will be included in the new Nickelodeon TV series based on the song.

Aside from Ciara’s “Baby Shark” tribute, she recently celebrated her three-year anniversary with Russell Wilson earlier this month. Days later, Ciara revealed that she and Russell were hoping to expand their family in the near future. That probably means that “Baby Shark” will remain the backbone their child-friendly playlists. 

50 Cent, Chris Brown Added To Saudi Arabia Festival After Nicki Minaj Pulls Out

Nicki Minaj caught a ton backlash a few weeks ago after she announced she’d be performing in Saudia Arabia. Human Rights Foundations, her fans, and many other people urged her to back down from performing in the conservative kingdom that’s been highly criticized for their human right violations, specifically towards women and the LGBTQ+ community. Nicki Minaj backed down from the performance in support the marginalized communities. However, the Jeddah World Festival has now added some other large names to the line-up to compensate for Nicki’s absence.

Some hip-hop’s heavyweights will be touching down in Saudi Arabia tomorrow for Jeddah Music Festival following Nicki’s cancelation. 50 Cent, Tyga, Chris Brown, Future, and Janet Jackson have been announced as performers for the controversial festival at King Abdullah Sports Stadium. They’ll be joining the likes  the previously-announced performers, Liam Payne, and Steve Aoki.

The HRF weren’t solely at Nicki’s neck about performing in Saudi Arabia. President the Human Rights Foundation told AP that it was “proundly distressing that they have chosen money over morals.” 

“These individuals constantly make public statements support for LGBT rights and women’s rights, except, apparently, when a seven-figure check is attached. The hypocrisy is breathtaking. Principal apparently matters to them far more than principles,” he said in a statement. It’s clear that, after losing Nicki Minaj on the basis the Saudi regime’s atrocious human rights record and their treatment women and the gay community, the Crown Prince has chosen to spend whatever it takes to give the appearance that things are normal and that this is just another music concert. Except it isn’t.”

 

Dwight Howard Reveals How He Felt When Kobe Bryant Called Him "Soft"

Dwight Howard recently sat down with FS1’s Kristine Leahy for an in-depth conversation about his career and his personal life. During their conversation, which will debut in full later today, Howard spoke about his relationship with Kobe Bryant and how the two didn’t get along when they played together on the Los Angeles Lakers. As Howard explains, both players had opposite personalities that didn’t mesh well.

“I just think we were on two different levels mentally,” Howard said. “He hadn’t never seen a person like me. Someone who could enjoy basketball but at the same time not be so serious]. That’s not me.”

Once Howard was traded from LA to Houston, the two got into an altercation during a game which led to Bryant calling him “st.” Howard says he was pissed f at the time and held some resentment towards Kobe.

“I kinda hated him for saying that because I looked at it the wrong way,” Howard explained . “I think he was more so talking about my mentality…not how I am on the court. And I didn’t realize that because all the noise surrounding him saying I was st. And I hated him. I hated him for that moment.”

Howard says he’s since found peace with Kobe’s comments and that today, he would actually thank the Lakers legend for being tough on him.

“Everybody reaches different levels maturity at different times,” Howard stated. “I think at that time I was ignorant to the level that he was at. So I appreciate you, Kobe. Thank you for saying I was st. I didn’t realize what you meant until now.”

The newest member the Memphis Grizzlies also talked about his sexuality and claimed that he’s not gay, despite the rumors out there.

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LeBron James Comments On Rich Paul’s Latest Power Move

Rich Paul has taken the NBA world by storm thanks to his reputation as being one the most powerful agents in the game. Paul was discovered by LeBron James and together, they have been able to build Klutch Sports from the ground up. Paul represents a plethora NBA stars and continues to be secure big-money deals for his clients. Today, it was reported that one the biggest talent agencies in the world, United Talent Agency, would be investing in Paul and his Klutch Sports brand. This means he will also become the head  the agency’s brand new division dedicated to sports.

LeBron was recently asked about Paul’s latest move and as you would expect, he had high praise for his agent. 

LeBron James Comments On Rich Paul's Latest Power Move

Erika Goldring/Getty s for Remy Martin

“I knew from day one Rich was going to build something totally different,” James told Joe Vardon The Athletic. “He understood players needed a new way to operate on and f the floor. And I know Klutch is just beginning. I’m so proud what he’s built and to be able to call a real innovator my brother.”

Paul has been LeBron’s agent since 2012 which is the same year he created Klutch Sports.

Colin Kaepernick’s Nike "Dream Crazy" Campaign Nominated For Emmy

Colin Kaepernick is one the most polarizing names in all sports because his political stances that have both divided and united football fans. The former San Francisco 49ers quarterback received hefty criticism after he started kneeling during the National Anthem at football games. Sports fans felt as though he was disrespecting the flag, despite Kaepernick’s insistence that he was standing up for racial inequality and injustice. Kaepernick has yet to find work in the NFL since his protests although he is still sponsored by Nike who have used his services on a number occasions.

Back in September, Nike dropped their “Dream Crazy” campaign which was narrated by Kaepernick. This particular campaign was a celebration Nike’s 30th anniversary the “Just Do It” slogan. After it aired, Nike saw an increase in sales and some praise for their inclusion Kaepernick.

Nike has received further recognition for the ad as it was recently nominated for an Outstanding Commercial award at the 2019 Emmys. The annual award show will take place on September 22nd and will see the best names in television make their way to the red carpet. 

Kaepernick and Nike will be up against heavy hitters in the media industry such as Netflix and Apple.

Legendary Utah Jazz Coach Jerry Sloan Is Reportedly "Dying"

If you’re a longtime Utah Jazz fan, then you know who Jerry Sloan is. Sloan was with the Utah Jazz as their head coach from 1988 to 2011 and even helped the team to get two NBA Finals in 1997 and 1998. While the Jazz lost both times to Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls, it was clear that Sloan was one the best coaches in the league. The legendary head coach was inducted into the Basketball Hall Of Fame in 2009 before he had even retired from coaching, which just goes to show the reverence people have for him.

Unfortunately, according to a report from Gordon Monson The Salt Lake Tribune, Sloan is suffering from dementia and Parkinsons. The report states that Sloan’s conditions are getting worse and that “he is dying.” Due to his condition, he won’t be able to attend Jazz games anymore.

Legendary Utah Jazz Coach Jerry Sloan Is Reportedly "Dying"

Brian Bahr /Allsport

“Every day is different for him, some better than others, most not so good,” Monson wrote. “It’s basically a slide into oblivion. He’s frail. He’s physically and mentally limited. Around the clock care is required for him. Although, in the more recent past the old coach has been able to attend Jazz games, he will go no more.”

In addition to his career as a head coach, Sloan played 11 years in the NBA and spent time with the Baltimore Bullets and more notably, the Chicago Bulls.

Lakers’ 2019 Roster Parodied Into Hilarious Family Matters Intro: Video

The Los Angeles Lakers added a bunch new pieces this f-season, most notably All-NBA center Anthony Davis, who recently got the invite to LeBron’s “Taco Tuesday” extravaganza

In addition to Davis, the Lakers also reached deals with free agent center DeMarcus Cousins, as well as two-time NBA champion Danny Green, Jared Dudley, Avery Bradley, Troy Daniels and Quinn Cook. With all those new faces joining LeBron, Kyle Kuzma, Rajon Rondo, JaVale McGee, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Alex Caruso, the Lakers could certainly use a little “family bonding” to really get to know one another.

With that theme in mind, online sportsbook BetOnline.ag recently created a parody the intro to the popular ‘90s TV sitcom “Family Matters” featuring many the aforementioned players. For instance, LeBron’s face on the body Carl Winslow, Anthony Davis as Harriette Winslow, and Rajon Rondo as Steve Urkel.

Check out the Lakers x Family Matters parody below.