Shaq slams James Harden as Brooklyn trade ends Houston era


NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal has slammed James Harden following his move from Houston to Brooklyn yesterday.

Harden did everything in his power to force a trade out of the Rockets, including not showing up to pre-season training, partying in direct violation of league COVID protocols, gaining weight and speaking of his desire to leave in the media.

With the situation untenable and his teammates frustrated, Houston made the call to move Harden to the Nets, in exchange for four unprotected first round picks and four rights to swap picks.

Cleveland and Indiana were also part of the deal, with the Rockets landing former All-Star Victor Oladipo, while Brooklyn gave up Caris LeVert and Jarrett Allen.

Harden’s tenure in Houston, as Shaq points out, can be summed up by three players. The Rockets did everything in their power to build a championship team around the 2018 NBA MVP, trading for All-Stars Dwight Howard, Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook in three different intervals.

In all three instances, Harden asked for the player to be brought in and subsequently asked for them to be traded away.

In the Paul case, the Rockets also had to trade away draft picks to Oklahoma City in order to bring in Westbrook. Paul would go on to outplay Westbrook the following year, rubbing salt in the wounds of that deal.

Taking everything into account, O’Neal did not hold back in his assessment of the Harden era in Houston.

“When you say you gave the city your all, that ain’t true,” Shaq told NBA on TNT.

“You asked for Dwight Howard, (they) gave him to you, didn’t work out. You asked for Chris Paul (they) gave him to you. You asked for some shooters, (they) gave it to you. (You) asked for Russell Westbrook, your home boy from little league, (they) give him to you and it didn’t work out.

“And when you say ‘I gave you everything’, I say no you didn’t because the last five games when it came to (playoff) elimination, you’re one (win) and four (losses), you’re shooting 41 per cent, 24 per cent from three, 32 assists and 27 turnovers.

“I used to be like James. I used to come home and complain ‘man he didn’t do this, he didn’t do that’ and my father, rest in piece, would say ‘well what the hell did you do?’

“(Harden) ain’t done nothing. He hasn’t stepped up when he was supposed to step up.

“When you’re the man and you make $30 or $40 million a year, it’s a big responsibility. (Charles Barkley) had said this many times, when you’re the man, you’ve got a big responsibility and it’s all on you.

“So when it was time to show up, he ain’t shown up. So I know a lot of people in Houston are glad he’s gone.”

The Nets will have to put their star trio of Harden, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving together fast, with the shortened season not giving them the usual 82 games to build chemistry.

On top of that, Irving is currently away from the team and was spotted at his sister’s 30th birthday without a mask, violating the league’s COVID protocols.

Despite that, O’Neal said if Brooklyn doesn’t get it together and win the championship this year, then they have failed.

“Now (Harden’s) got his little super team. He’s got to win this year. If he doesn’t win it this year, it’s a bust. Period,” he said.

It’s unclear when we will see the trio together for the first time, given Irving’s absence.

Durant has returned from a torn Achilles and looks as dominant as ever, while Harden will need to work himself into playing shape after a poor start to the season.





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James O’Connor’s blunt message for star Queensland Reds recruit Suliasi Vunivalu


For Vunivalu, returning to rugby after featuring in Melbourne’s 2017 and 2020 NRL premierships was a matter of attending to “unfinished business”.

“I’ve done my time in rugby league and I’ve achieved what I wanted to achieve. It’s something different, a new challenge and I’m looking forward to it,” he said.

When Vunivalu speaks about unfinished business, he’s referring to childhood dreams ignited by the England team which won the 2003 Rugby World Cup on Australian soil.

Despite being born and raised in Fiji before moving to New Zealand as a 16-year-old, it was fellow cross-code star Jason Robinson who Vunivalu wanted to emulate as a child.

Like Robinson, Vunivalu wants to dominate on the international stage. But before he can worry about Wallabies duties, he has a pre-season under Reds coach Brad Thorn to work through.

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That shouldn’t be too much of a mountain to climb, given Storm coach Craig Bellamy is notorious for running the hardest pre-seasons in the NRL.

“Storm’s [pre-seasons] are really tough but it’s a different sport. We focus more on ruck speed and all of that (at the Reds),” Vunivalu said. “You have stop-start. League is pretty much full on. Training wise, it’s hard but it’s a different sport.”

Vunivalu spent about one month with the Wallabies squad as they completed their Tri Nations campaign at the end of last year.

The 25-year-old was never a hope of making his Test debut at the end of last year. He was brought in simply to begin the process of transitioning from rugby league back to rugby – a sport he dominated as a star schoolboy for famous New Zealand nursery St Kentigern’s College.

The best player in recent years to have made the transition from rugby league winger to rugby winger is a fellow Fijian who followed the same path from the Storm to the national side – Marika Koroibete.

“That’s what I did when I went into Wallabies camp – I was just watching how he positioned himself,” Vunivalu said. “He’s everywhere around the field. He’s got a good engine. I need to work on mine.

“That was really good. My focus going into that camp was just trying to get rugby back into me so when I started here at the Reds, I knew a couple of things rather than coming here and starting all over again.

“That was helpful for me and I got a big focus on the work ons I need to improve.”

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NBA: James Harden reported to be joining Brooklyn Nets as they beat New York Knicks


James Harden joined the Houston Rockets in October 2012

The Brooklyn Nets fought back to beat the New York Knicks 116-109 on a night they reportedly signed James Harden.

US reportsexternal-link say Harden, NBA top scorer for the past three seasons, has left the Houston Rockets after nine years.

The 31-year-old was asked to miss Rockets training on Wednesday, having said that they were not good enough to be title contenders after Tuesday’s defeat at the Los Angeles Lakers.

Kevin Durant scored 26 points in the Nets’ win over the Knicks.

Star forward Durant, a former Oklahoma City Thunder team-mate of Harden, led seven Nets players in double figures as they moved sixth in the Eastern Conference on seven wins and six defeats.

The deal for Harden – which has been reported in the US but not confirmed – is said to be part of a huge trade that also involves the Indians Pacers and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

As part of the trade, Houston would receive guard Victor Oladipo from the Pacers, guard Dante Exum from the Cavaliers and forward Rodions Kurucs of the Nets.

The Rockets would also get three first-round draft picks from the Nets, one unprotected 2022 first-round pick from the Cavaliers – via the Milwaukee Bucks – and the right to swap four first-round picks with the Nets.

After Tuesday’s defeat against the Lakers, 31-year-old Harden – the NBA’s Most Valuable Player in 2018 – said Houston were “not even close, honestly” to the league’s top competition.

James and Lakers win away (again)

LeBron James attempts a lay up
LeBron James was again influential for the Los Angeles Lakers

Elsewhere in the Western Conference on Wednesday, Giannis Antetokounmpo recorded his 20th career triple-double with 22 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists as the visiting Milwaukee Bucks beat the Detroit Pistons 110-101.

The win leaves the Bucks second behind Boston Celtics in the west, while the Los Angeles Lakers, the Eastern Conference leaders, were helped by 26 points from LeBron James in a 128-99 win at the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The success means the Lakers have won their opening seven away matches in a season for the first time in their history. They remain favourites to win the NBA title this season and have now trailed for just 11 seconds in total during their last three games.

The Los Angeles Clippers moved second in the Western Conference as Kawhi Leonard scored 28 points, nine assists and six rebounds, in a 111-106 win over the New Orleans Pelicans.

Luka Doncic collected 34 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists to lift the Dallas Mavericks to a fourth win in a row as they proved too strong for the Charlotte Hornets, their hosts, in a 104-93 victory.

The Mavericks sit sixth in the West, a place behind the Portland Trailblazers, who won 132-126 at the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday.

Damian Lillard notched 40 points and 13 assists for Portland as they overhauled a 19-point third-quarter deficit to record a fourth win in a row and elsewhere, the Memphis Grizzlies earned a 118-107 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

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James Harden to Brooklyn Nets, Ben Simmons stays, mistake, ecstatic


Ben Simmons is reportedly “pretty ecstatic” about being left alone as NBA superstar James Harden left the Houston Rockets for the Brooklyn Nets.

The move sees the eight-time All-Star joining top dogs Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant in New York in a team now overflowing with alpha personalities who like the ball in their hands.

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The Athletic’s Shams Charania reports the Nets are giving up four unprotected first-round draft picks and four first-round pick swaps to get their man in a wild deal that also involves Cleveland and Indiana.

ESPN’S Adrian Wojnarowski called Houston’s return “one of the strongest draft packages in league history”.

“Whatever the future of Kyrie Irving with the Nets, this trade does one more important thing for Brooklyn: It makes a strong case to help keep the franchise’s most important player — Kevin Durant — beyond his current contract,” Wojnarowski added.

The Rockets will also get Victor Oladipo, Aussie Dante Exum and Rodions Kurucs.

But the man they won’t get is Ben Simmons.

While his offensive production has been down to start the season, Simmons has proven himself to be one of the best defenders in the NBA.

An All-Defensive first team member last season and 2018 Rookie of the Year, Simmons’ relationship with Joel Embiid has long been criticised as not being strong enough to bring a championship back to Philadelphia.

But with shooters brought into the team to allow Embiid and Simmons to operate in the paint, ESPN’s The Undefeated reporter Marc J. Spears tweeted that the Aussie believes this season is different.

“Hearing Ben Simmons was pretty ecstatic to not be traded from the Sixers to Houston for James Harden and believes his team is capable of bringing a title to Philadelphia. Doc Rivers is also a huge fan of Simmons and believes the best is yet to come with two-time NBA All-Star,” he tweeted.

Joe Vardon of The Athletic said Simmons is “fine” after the deal went down with Shams Charania reporting that Simmons was put on the trading block.

In the end, the Rockets believed “the Nets offer just supplanted that” and that the 76ers didn’t want to “mortgage their entire future” on Harden, according to Charania.

The Simmons deal reportedly had Simmons and Matisse Thybulle but the Rockets also wanted rookie Tyrese Maxey.

But CBS’s Brad Botkin, who said he didn’t believe Simmons was a franchise player but that the Aussie was the one thing the Rockets didn’t get with the big trade haul.

“It’s not a terrible bet. Still, not coming away with Simmons in a situation like this is a risk. You can pile up picks all you want and never end up with a franchise player, which some people still believe Simmons can be with the right supporting cast,” he wrote in a piece pondering if the Rockets got too greedy with the deal.

For the Nets, Harden has proved to be a divisive player with his petulant tantrum to get out of Houston.

It will also have a lot of money tied up in its best three players.

Irving, Durant and Harden all have two years left on their deals worth $34 million ($A44m), $40m ($A52m) and $44m ($57m) a season, at least $236 million ($A305m) according to The Athletic.

The Ringer’s Bill Simmons said in November that a Harden trade to Brooklyn could become a “beautiful disaster.”

“It’s three guys who are used to having the ball all the time,” he said on the Bill Simmons podcast.

“Harden and Durant are really good friends from way, way back. Kyrie is somebody that likes to have the ball. I don’t know how I feel about it. It could be a beautiful disaster, or it could be absolutely devastating.”

Just yesterday, Harden slammed the franchise.

“(The Rockets are) just not good enough. Chemistry, talent-wise, it was clear,” he said in a press conference.

“I love this city. I literally have done everything that I can. I mean, this situation is crazy. It’s something that I don’t think can be fixed.”

But it bent his former teammate’s noses out of shape with DeMarcus Cousins

“Me, personally, I don’t feel betrayed at all,” Cousins said. “My interest was playing with John Wall to be brutally honest. With that being said, the disrespect started way before any interview. Just the approach to training camp, showing up the way he did, the answers off the court. I mean, the disrespect started way before.”

And the move has also drawn a target on the Nets’ back with anything short of a championship to be considered a failure.

The New York Post’s Mike Vaccaro said the offensive talents of the team could see 150 points being put on some nights – but it’s come at the expense of the side defensively.

“Taking the Bucks to seven games in an epic Eastern final won’t be enough. Falling to the Lakers in a memorable Finals? Nope. The Nets aren’t just all-in for the next 2-3 years, they are all in for the rest of the decade. Their viability exists in the here and now, defined by a simple equation: Parade or no parade?”

Only time will tell if any of these gambles will pay off.



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James Harden gets long-awaited move away from Houston, joins Kevin Durant at Brooklyn Nets


The James Harden saga ended on Wednesday when the Houston Rockets traded him to the Brooklyn Nets as part of a four-team trade, according to multiple reports.

Earlier reports suggested the Philadelphia 76ers were preparing to trade Australian star Ben Simmons for Harden, before the Nets deal was announced.

The move sees Harden, 31, reunited with former Oklahoma City Thunder teammate Kevin Durant. They played together for three seasons before Harden was dealt to the Rockets in 2013.

The trade comes one day after a disgruntled Harden went on a postgame rant following Tuesday’s 117-100 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers.

“I mean, this situation is crazy. It’s something that I don’t think can be fixed,” Harden said.

“We’re just not good enough — chemistry, talent-wise, just everything. And it was clear these last two games.

The Rockets told Harden not to attend Wednesday’s practice, with coach Stephen Silas saying it was “best for the group and for James”.

Harden has been upset with the Rockets since the departures of coach Mike D’Antoni and general manager Daryl Morey after last season.

An eight-time All-Star, Harden has three years, $133 million with a player option for the final season remaining on his current deal.

Harden is averaging 24.8 points per game — down from his career average of 25.2 — after reporting late to training camp. However, his assists are up to 10.4 per game from a career average of 6.3.

Harden has led the NBA in scoring in each of the past three seasons with averages of 30.4, 36.1 and 34.3.

Aussie Dante Exum switches as part of multi-player, multi-team deal

Dante Exum, right, is heading to Houston.(AP: Ben Gray)

Australia’s Dante Exum will move from the Cleveland Cavaliers to Houston as part of the deal.

As well as Exum, Houston reportedly received guard Victor Oladipo from the Indiana Pacers and forward Rodions Kurucs of the Nets.

It also received three first-round draft picks from the Nets, one unprotected 2022 first-round pick from the Cleveland Cavaliers (via the Milwaukee Bucks) and the right to swap four first-round picks with the Nets.

Guard Caris LeVert and a second-round pick will go from the Nets to the Pacers, and centre Jarrett Allen and forward Taurean Prince go from Brooklyn to the Cavaliers with Cleveland sending a 2024 second-round pick to the Nets.

The first-round picks Houston received from the Nets are in 2022, 2024, 2026. The swaps are in 2021, 2023, 2025 and 2027.

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Ben Simmons’ Philadelphia 76ers out of running as James Harden leaves Houston Rockets for Brooklyn Nets


The Nets will reportedly send Rodion Kurucs, first-round picks in 2022, 2024 and 2026 and swaps in 2021, 2023, 2025 and 2027 to Houston. Brooklyn will also reportedly send centre Jarrett Allen and Taurean Prince to the Cleveland Cavaliers, who will send Dante Exum and a 2022 first-round pick to the Rockets.

The Rockets, meanwhile, will reportedly reroute LeVert to the Indiana Pacers for Victor Oladipo. ESPN.com first reported the framework of the Nets deal, while The Athletic first reported Indiana’s involvement.

Any move from Philadelphia for former NBA MVP Harden, right, was likely to result in Ben Simmons being traded.

After a pair of demoralising blowout losses to the Los Angeles Lakers, Harden candidly expressed his belief that the struggling Rockets were not salvageable, accelerating long-standing trade talks for the 2018 MVP.

“We’re just not good enough,” Harden said after the Rockets fell at home 117-100 to the defending champions. “I love this city. I literally have done everything that I can. The situation is crazy. It’s something that I don’t think can be fixed.”

The dire assessment from Harden, who has been the face of the Rockets since 2012, comes little more than one month after he reported to training camp late. Multiple reports at the time linked the Rockets with the Nets and 76ers in trade talks involving the three-time scoring champion, who has seen Houston’s roster and organisation change dramatically around him.

When the Lakers eliminated the Rockets from the 2020 play-offs, Harden said that he believed Houston was “a piece away” from title contention. Instead, the Rockets parted ways with Coach Mike D’Antoni, lost general manager Daryl Morey and traded Russell Westbrook to the Washington Wizards. Those sweeping, abrupt changes left Harden, 31, to adjust to first-time coach Stephen Silas, first-time general manager Rafael Stone and a new backcourt partner in John Wall.

James Harden is officially off to Brooklyn.

James Harden is officially off to Brooklyn.Credit:Getty Images

There has been little in the way of instant chemistry, as Harden’s effort has been spotty and his fit with Wall has yet to develop. After eight straight play-off trips, the Rockets have the West’s second-worst record at 3-6 and Harden is scoring 24.8 points per game, his lowest average since he arrived in Houston.

While Harden never issued a public trade request, he arrived at training camp late after partying in Atlanta and Las Vegas without a mask during the coronavirus pandemic. The NBA fined him $US50,000 (about $66,000) for violating the league’s health and safety protocols. Harden is earning $US40.8 million this season and is under contract through at least the 2021-22 season.

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The Rockets elected to keep Harden away from the team’s practice on Wednesday as trade talks with the Nets and 76ers unfolded, and centre DeMarcus Cousins was highly critical of Harden’s recent behaviour.

“The disrespect started way before any interview,” Cousins said Wednesday. “The approach to training camp, showing up the way he did, the antics off the court, the disrespect started way before. This isn’t something that all of a sudden happened last night. This is the nasty part of the business. It is what it is.”

The Rockets, who had their season opener postponed after several players were sidelined by positive or inconclusive coronavirus tests and contact tracing, weathered that early turbulence. Hopes that Harden’s trade value might increase or his personal investment in the Rockets might stabilise if he played well to start the season never came to fruition.

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Los Angeles Lakers vs Houston Rockets, LeBron James 3-pointer, basketball news


Four-time NBA champion LeBron James has sent the basketball world into a frenzy with a no-look three-pointer against the Houston Rockets on Tuesday AEDT.

During the second quarter of the Los Angeles Lakers’ 117-100 victory in Houston, teammate Markieff Morris threw the ball towards James in the corner, who calmly attempted a three-pointer.

But the 36-year-old was so confident he had made the shot, he spun around and faced his teammates on the bench before it went in.

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The 16-time NBA All-Star was promptly mobbed by his ecstatic teammates as the Lakers lead extended to 24 points.

After the game, James said he made a bet with teammate Dennis Schröder during his freakish three-pointer. He claimed to have shot the ball, turned around, looked Schröder in the eyes and said, “Bet it.”

Lakers teammate Kyle Kuzma said after the game: “He’s one of the greatest to play this game. The things he does, it’s always crazy to watch in real-time.”

Rockets coach Stephen Silas said after the defeat: “They’re obviously a together group, and they’re having fun at our expense. So it doesn’t feel good at all, and we should take umbrage. It’s like they’re dancing on our home court. We’ve just got to fight. We’ve got to fight through it.”

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LeBron James finished with 26 points in the defending champions’ thumping win, while Anthony Davis scored 19 points and pulled down 10 rebounds.

The Lakers held the Rockets to just 14 points in the first quarter as they grabbed a 21-point lead, while James Harden finished with 16 points on five-of-16 shooting.

The Lakers out-rebounded the Rockets 55-42 and had 23 second-chance points to Houston’s 11. They remained unbeaten in six road games and improved their league-leading record to 9-3.

— with AFP



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LaMelo Ball triple-double, Anthony Davis downs James Harden, Heat-Celtics postponed


LaMelo Ball has made history as the youngest player in the NBA to record a triple-double as the No. 3 Draft pick continues to make his mark.

Ball was in Australia last year to play in the NBL and showcased his all-round talents with a rare triple-double down here but he’s done it on the biggest stage possible.

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While the talk of the town in Australia last year was whether the NBL provided a good professional pathway for draftees, it clearly seems to have done the job.

Ball beat previous record holder Markelle Fultz by 177 but it could have been 179 days after he missed out on the milestone just two days ago in the win over the New Orleans Pelicans.

But playing the Atlanta Hawks, Ball hit 22 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists on Saturday night.

“A 19-year-old rookie does not look like this,” Hornets coach James Borrego said. “This is rare what you’re seeing.

“He’s not rattled by the moment. It’s like he’s been doing this for a number of years.”

Ball said he was still trying to comprehend what he had done.

“I live my life and I know what I’m capable of, so stuff like doesn’t move me like that,” Ball said. “I know that’s supposed to happen.”

He also got plenty of praise from Atlanta star Trae Young who believes there’s a big future ahead of him.

“He’s a tall PG who can pass, can rebound and he’s a smart player,” Young said. “Things are going to become even easier for him in this league as he plays more and more games.”

NBA fans were going equally mad for LaMelo.

The Observer’s Charlotte Hornets beat writer Rick Bonnell said: “I thought through 30-some years of the NBA in Charlotte for a @MELOD1P comparison; the only @hornets rookie that feels similar in talent and impact: Larry Johnson.”

Johnson was a two-time NBA All-Star, 1992 Rookie of the Year and decade-long player in the NBA.

AD EXPLODES IN NBA BLOW OUT

Anthony Davis scored a game-high 27 points as the Los Angeles Lakers delivered a dominating all-around performance on Sunday with a crushing 120-102 defeat of the Houston Rockets in Texas.

The Lakers finally hit their stride in the new NBA season, running the Rockets ragged on offence and bottling up their top scorers on defence, especially three-time league scoring champion James Harden, who was held to 20 points and committed seven turnovers.

LeBron James scored 18 points as he and fellow all-star Davis had plenty of help from the bench.

Talen Horton-Tucker (17 points), Montrezl Harrell (16) and Kyle Kuzma (13) all came off the bench to reach double figures for the Lakers, who are now a perfect 5-0 on the road to start the season.

The defending NBA champions scored a whopping 32 fast break points and 62 points in the paint, finally looking like the juggernaut team that many had envisioned at the start of the season.

But where they really excelled Sunday was on defence, grabbing 39 defensive rebounds and forcing 13 steals.

“We’ve got to be a team who lead games with defence,” Davis said, who returned to the line-up Sunday after sitting out with a sore groin. “Tonight we made shots, but there are going to be nights when we don’t make shots and we can’t control that.

“What we can control is how we play defence. The coach came in at halftime and said our defensive effort was off the charts.”

With both James (ankle) and Davis nursing nagging injuries, getting 54 points from their bench and holding the Rockets to just 46 points in the first half is good sign for the future.

— AFP

COVID REARS ITS UGLY HEAD

It’s never too far from the spotlight but COVID-19 has reminded the NBA it will arguably be the biggest player in the 2020-21 season.

The Boston Celtics’ home game against the Miami Heat didn’t even get on court, the contest postponed because of COVID-19 safety measures.

Miami did not have the required number of available players to play the game while the Celtics were down to the NBA minimum of eight.

Also, Nikola Jokic posted another double-double by finishing with 22 points and 10 rebounds for the visiting Denver Nuggets, who cruised to a 114-89 win over the New York Knicks.

— AFP



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NBA-‘We live in two Americas’, LeBron James says, after Capitol siege



January 8, 2021

(Reuters) – Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James said the violent mob of President Donald Trump’s supporters forcing their way into the U.S. Capitol showed that there were “two Americas”.

Hundreds of Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday in a bid to overturn his election defeat, forcing Congress to postpone a session that would have certified President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.

James watched on television as the events took place, and on Thursday wondered what would have happened if the intruders had been mostly Black.

“We live in two Americas,” James said, following the Lakers’ 118-109 loss to the San Antonio Spurs.

“And that was a prime example of that yesterday, and if you don’t understand that or don’t see that after seeing what you saw yesterday, then you really need to take a step back.”

The 36-year-old added: “There’s no ifs, ands or buts: we already know what would’ve happened to my kind if anyone would have even got close to the Capitol, let alone storm inside the offices, inside the hallways.”

James has been a fierce critic of Trump, and has spoken out against racial inequality in the wake of the death of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man killed last year after being seen lying face down in the street while a white police officer knelt on his neck for several minutes.

The incident led to protests worldwide.

“The events that took place yesterday were a direct correlation of the president that’s in the seat right now – of his actions, his beliefs, his wishes,” said James.

“We saw the tweets along the whole path to this destruction. Over the last four years, we all knew.”

Tuesday’s decision by Wisconsin prosecutors not to bring charges against Rusten Sheskey, a white police officer who shot Jacob Blake, a Black man, seven times at close range, also drew ire throughout the NBA.

James wore a shirt as he walked into Staples Center which read “DO YOU UNDERSTAND NOW?” and featured the slogan: “In memoriam of the countless Black lives lost to police brutality and racial injustice.”

When asked what he meant by the messages, James said he believed Black people were not treated as equals in America.

“You will never understand the feeling of being a Black man and woman in America,” James said. “Everyone jumps on the bandwagon of what we provide, what we bring … the way we dress, our music, our culture, our food.

“Everyone steals from what we do and then they want to act like they did it. We don’t get … anything back for what we’ve given to this country besides a slap in the face.”

(Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Mike Collett-White)

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James Brayshaw commentary, Sunil Gavaskar, Sachin Tendulkar


A simple slip of the tongue has delivered a hilarious gaffe after Channel 7 commentator James Brayshaw mistakenly introduced Sunil Gavaskar as Sachin Tendulkar.

Brayshaw was in the hosting chair nearing the end of the Indian innings when he was throwing to a change of commentators.

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But as can happen in a commentary box when you’ve got to keep the conversation going for eight hours, Brayshaw made the error.

While Gavaskar is a legend in his own right, Tendulkar is one of the most recognisable cricketers in the world seven years after his last professional games of cricket.

And joining Gavaskar and Brayshaw was former Australian quick and larrikin Damien Fleming, who was never going to let it go past without comment in a hilarious exchange:

Brayshaw: “Sachin Tendulkar, welcome, and also Damien Fleming.”

Fleming: “Sachin Tendulkar’s in the commentary box?”

Brayshaw: “We were just talking …

Fleming: “[This is] the great man, the little master.”

Brayshaw: “My apologies Sunil, we were just talking about him a second ago.”

Gavaskar: “I am flattered, I am flattered to be called Sachin Tendulkar.”

Brayshaw: “We were just talking about him a second ago.”

Fleming added: “We share a birthday Sachin, the 24th of April”, to which Gavaskar quipped “not the same year though”.

It was Fleming who shares the birthday with Tendulkar with the 50-year-old Aussie three years older than the 47-year-old Indian.

The 71-year-old Gavaskar took it in his stride however and gave him a pass.

Brayshaw tried to dig himself out of the hole, revealing the conversation that took place off air.

“Suni, we can share with the audience why we were talking about Sachin Tendulkar,” Brayshaw said. “I asked you, I said ‘Is he the most loved Indian cricketer of all time?’ There have been a few, yourself included.”

Gavaskar said: “I think so. I think amongst the cricket followers, if you look at Dhoni, Kapil Dev, Virat Kohli and Sachin Tendulkar they are all loved by millions and millions of not just Indians, but other nationalities as well. I would imagine in India it would be perhaps Sachin Tendulkar.”

Gavaskar was also a former Indian skipper and the first man to score 10,000 Test runs as well as the most Test centuries — both records which are now held by Tendulkar.

While Gavaskar was happy to let it slide, some fans weren’t as forgiving with one saying “how embarrassing” while another called it “peak Brayshaw”.



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