LeBron says has beaten stacked teams like Warriors before

UNTV News   •   May 29, 2017   •   2751

May 25, 2017; Boston, MA, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) warms-up before the start of game five of the Eastern conference finals of the NBA Playoffs against the Boston Celtics at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers may need a Herculean effort to upset the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals but the game’s most prolific playoff scorer said he has beaten similar teams before.

James acknowledged that toppling a Warriors team boasting two-time reigning league MVP Stephen Curry, four-times scoring champion Kevin Durant, defensive specialist Draymond Green and sweet-shooting Klay Thompson will be among the toughest tasks of his career.

But the three-times NBA champion was also quick to point out that he has faced such a talent-laden squad on the NBA’s biggest stage before — in 2013 against San Antonio while playing with Miami — and came out on the winning side.

“It’s probably up there,” James said after practice on Sunday when asked if the upcoming Warriors clash represents the toughest task he has ever faced on court.

“Obviously, I mean, I’ve played against four Hall of Famers as well too with Manu (Ginobili), Kawhi (Leonard), Tony (Parker) and Timmy D (Tim Duncan) on the same team. And if you add Pop (Gregg Popovich) in there, that’s five Hall of Famers.”

James even brought up the Boston Celtics teams he battled in the playoffs, both as a member of Cleveland and Miami, which featured Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo and head coach Doc Rivers.

Cleveland may be the reigning champions after having beaten Golden State in last year’s Finals and are 12-1 this postseason but are underdogs against a top-seeded Warriors team sporting an unblemished playoff record.

But James is always up for a challenge and should never be ruled out. Last year he carried his team back from the brink as the Cavs became the first team to rally from a 3-1 deficit in the best-of-seven NBA Finals and win the title.

After Golden State failed to repeat as champions following a campaign in which they had a record 73 wins during the 82-game regular season, they acquired Durant, by far the biggest prize of the free agent market.

James knows he will have his hands full when the series opens on Thursday in Oakland but said he likes his team’s chances of pulling off what Las Vegas would consider an upset.

“Those guys are going to challenge me, they are going to challenge our ballclub,” said James, who last week surpassed Michael Jordan as the all-time playoff leading scorer.

“This is a high powered team … it’s going to be very challenging not only on me mentally but on our ballcub and on our franchise.” — By Frank Pingue

(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

Vince Carter retires after NBA record 22-season career

UNTV News   •   June 26, 2020

Atlanta Hawks guard Vince Carter officially announced his retirement from professional basketball on Thursday (June 25) after an NBA record 22-season career during which his high-flying dunks made him one of the game’s top players in his prime.

Carter, widely regarded as one of the greatest dunkers of all time, had previously said the 2019-20 NBA campaign would be his last but had not addressed his playing status since the NBA suspended its season in mid-March due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

“I am officially done playing basketball professionally,” Carter, 43, told the “Winging It” podcast.

Carter, the first NBA player to feature in four different decades, signed a one-year deal with the Hawks last August.

However, their season is over as they did not qualify for the NBA’s 22-team format for restarting action in late July at Disney World amid the novel coronavirus.

Carter played for eight teams during his career but will be most remembered for his time with the Toronto Raptors, where he put the Canadian city on the basketball map and earned the nickname “Air Canada” for his feats above the rim.

After his first season in Toronto, Carter was named the NBA’s rookie of the year in 1999. He was then named an All-Star for each of the following eight seasons.

In his second season, Carter won the Slam Dunk Contest during All-Star Weekend with a dazzling display that further increased his stardom and helped ignite basketball’s popularity in what had otherwise been an ice hockey-mad country.

Carter, who ranks 22nd on the NBA’s all-time scoring list, averaged 16.7 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game during a career that also included stops in New Jersey, Orlando, Phoenix, Dallas, Memphis, Sacramento and Atlanta.

He also helped USA Basketball win gold medals at the 2000 Sydney Olympics and 2003 FIBA Americas tournament. (Reuters)

(Production; David Grip)

League approves plan to resume NBA season in July at Disney World

UNTV News   •   June 5, 2020

REUTERS – The National Basketball Association (NBA) Board of Governors have approved a plan to restart the suspended season with a tentative July 31 start at Disney World, Florida amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, the league said on Thursday (June 4).

The plan would see 22 of the NBA’s 30 teams play eight games to determine a 16-team playoff field that would follow the traditional post-season format with four best-of-seven series that would crown a champion no later than October 12.

The league said approval from its Board of Governors, which came on the day originally scheduled for the start of the NBA Finals, is the first formal step among the many required to resume the season.

According to ESPN, the vote on the format was 29-1, with the Portland Trail Blazes voting against the proposal.

All games, practices and housing would be at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex which is inside the Orlando resort and has multiple hotels and arenas, and would allow the league to limit outside exposure.

The NBA was the first North American sports league to suspend its season due to the COVID-19 pandemic after one of its players tested positive for the new coronavirus in mid-March.

The 22 returning teams would be comprised of the eight teams from each of the two conferences currently in playoff positions plus the six clubs that are six games or fewer behind the eighth seed in their respective conferences.

If everything goes according to plan, the NBA said the 2020-21 season would begin on Dec. 1.

The league also said it plans to hold its 2020 NBA Draft Lottery to determine the order of the first 14 selections on Aug. 25. Lottery teams would be comprised of the eight clubs that do not participate in the restart and the six that go to Florida but do not qualify for the playoffs.

The actual NBA Draft, typically held in June, is now scheduled for Oct. 15.

(Production: Kurt Michael Hall)

Jordan’s autographed game-worn sneakers from his rookie season sold for record $560,000

UNTV News   •   May 18, 2020

NBA great Michael Jordan’s autographed game-worn sneakers from his rookie season fetched a record $560,000 (463,380 pounds) in an online auction, Sotheby’s said on Sunday (May 17).

The Air Jordan 1s, designed for Jordan in 1985 and the first ever signature sneakers, were expected to sell for between $100,000 and $150,000 in the auction.

Known for selling multimillion-dollar art, Sotheby’s held its first auction dedicated entirely to sneakers last year and had then set a world record of $437,500 for a pair of 1972 Nike running shoes known as the “Moon Shoe.”

“We saw tremendous bidding up until the moment the sale closed, with the value more than doubling in the final hour alone,” said Brahm Wachter, Sotheby’s director of eCommerce development.

“That coupled with strong international bidding from six countries on four continents shows not only the incredible appeal of Michael Jordan… but also that sneaker collecting is truly a global and growing market.”

Like most of Jordan’s basketball shoes, they are a mismatched pair in a size 13 (left) and size 13.5 (right).

The auction coincided with the 35th anniversary of the Air Jordan brand and the screening of the 10-part ESPN documentary “The Last Dance” about the Chicago Bulls and Jordan. The final two episodes of the show are set to air later on Sunday.

The shoes were sold by collector Jordan Geller, the founder of the sneaker museum Shoezeum in Las Vegas. (Reuters)

(Production: David Grip)

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