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Tributes continue to pour in for former NBA Commissioner David Stern, who died on New Year's Day after suffering a brain hemorrhage. He was 77.
Stern transformed the NBA's hardscrabble players into polished gentleman by enforcing a strict dress code that required them to dress like the multimillionaires they are.
Stern's dress code required all players to wear business attire such as tailored suits when coming to work and while departing the sports arena. Injured or benched players were also required to dress like they were owners.
The dress code was implemented after fans complained that they couldn't tell the NBA players from the criminals on the street.
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The worst offenders were NBA legends Allen Iverson (left) and Tim Duncan (not pictured), whose slovenly attire included throwback jerseys and baggy jeans.
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Stern's dress code was initially met with fierce opposition, as many NBA players complained and accused him of forcing them to dress like "the man.”
But the players soon settled into a routine of dressing impeccably in custom suits and designer shirts and shoes.
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Pro athletes like Dwyane Wade (pictured), LeBron James, Chris Paul, and Russell Westbrook routinely made best dressed lists.
It looks like a men's fashion show when players arrive at arenas now. And that is all due to Stern's influence.
Turning NBA boys into men is among Stern's undying legacies.
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Michael Jordan weighed in on the controversy surrounding the Los Angeles Clippers decision to rest star Kawhi Leonard for certain games in a NBA trend called "load management".
The NBA season is still young, and Leonard has missed 6 or 7 games to decrease risk of injuries. But Clippers fans feel cheated and are yelling foul.
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Well-respected sports announcer and NBA analyst Doris Burke criticized Leonard for sitting out a recent game against the Milwaukee Bucks and the league MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo at the Staples Center.
"It is mind-boggling to me that Kawhi doesn't want to play against the reigning MVP and he'd rather play against Portland tomorrow night on TNT," Burke said. "Kawhi not playing is ridiculous at this point."
Leonard seems unfazed by the criticism. But when Michael Jordan speaks, everyone listens.
The NBA legend and owner of the Charlotte Hornets is making sure his own players don't get the wrong idea about the work ethic that is expected of them.
According to Steve Clifford, current Orlando Magic coach and former head coach of the Hornets, Jordan addressed the issue of load management in team meetings.
"Being with Michael in Charlotte, Michael used to tell them every year, you're paid to play 82 games."
Clifford added that lazy players stood out from the rest: "I've been doing this for 20 years, and playing 82 games used to be a badge of courage for a lot of guys. There were always a lot of guys who didn't want to play. They stood out more."
Last year, L.A. Lakers player Dwight Howard was outed by an effeminate man who claimed he was the NBA star's ex-boyfriend. Well, something strange happened over the weekend that added fuel to the rumors.
During the Lakers recent win against the Utah Jazz, Howard fell on another player and appeared to diddle the player with the middle digit of his left hand. The unwanted diddling prompted Jazz player Georges Niang to try to fight Howard.
A fan recorded the interaction and the video clip went viral. Many fans recall other incidents in which the 33-year-old Sagittarius molested and inappropriately touched other NBA players.
Last year, effeminate author and transsexual Masin Elije filed a lawsuit against Howard alleging that Howard and his camp "sexually harassed, threatened and manipulated" him. Howard vigorously denied the allegations and threatened to file a countersuit against Elije.
Elije dropped his lawsuit earlier this month.
Watch the video below and judge for yourself.
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The Lakers vs the Clippers was the most anticipated matchup of the start of the 2019-2020 NBA season. LeBron James, left, and Anthony Davis, right, took on Kawhi Leonard and the L.A. Clippers at the Staples Center on Tuesday, Oct. 22.
The Lakers shot out of the gate like a cannon, scoring easy layups, dunks and three point shots over the Clippers' seemingly weak defense. For a while it looked like the Lakers would coast to an easy victory.
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Then Kawhi Leonard took over, hitting seven straight shots to show he meant business. The superstar, who led the Toronto Raptors to their first NBA championship earlier this year, finished the night with 30 points as the Clippers upended their crosstown rivals by a score of 112-102.
LeBron finished with 18 points and 9 rebounds. It wasn't his best night in a Lakers uniform. He had three of the Lakers' six turnovers. "That was just very careless and they capitalized off of it," he said after the game.
The Lakers and the Clippers will face each other three times in the regular season. But, for now, Kawhi owns the L.A. bragging rights.
The fallout continues for NBA superstar LeBron James who sided with Communist China in the country's ongoing conflict with Hong Kong.
On Monday, LeBron commented about the tweet sent by Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey who said he supported Hong Kong.
LeBron chastised Morey, saying he was "not educated" enough to speak on the situation in Hong Kong.
The backlash was swift.
Protesters in Hong Kong took to the streets wearing LeBron face masks and waving 100 Chinese yuan bills.
Protesters accused LeBron of being a capitalist who chooses money over basic human rights. China has been accused of executing Muslims and anyone who speaks out against the regime.
Among LeBron's critics is Khalilah Ali, a Muslim who was married to the late boxing champ Muhammad Ali from 1967-1976.
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In an interview with TMZ, Ali expressed her disappointment in LeBron, saying LeBron is no Muhammad Ali.
Khalilah Ali said her late husband would have handled the NBA-China situation differently. She also believes that LeBron should support people "who are standing up for their rights."
Muhammad Ali was stripped of his heavyweight title and sentenced to prison rather than be inducted into the U.S. Army to fight in Vietnam.
He famously said, "I ain't got no quarrel with them VietCong. No VietCong ever called me nigger."
Referring to Hong Kong protesters burning LeBron's jerseys in the streets, Khalilah Ali said of her ex-husband: "They would not take Muhammad Ali's shorts and burn them anywhere, it would never happen."
You either love LeBron James or you hate him. The NBA superstar has a habit of infuriating fans with his opinions on everything from politics to tacos.
The latest drama began last week when Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey took sides in the ongoing conflict between China and Hong Kong. In a now deleted tweet, Morey angered the Chinese by saying he stands with Hong Kong.
LeBron uncharacteristically remained silent despite the prodding by the news media to say something.
On Tuesday, the 34-year-old father of three broke his silence by saying Morey wasn't "educated" enough to speak on Hong Kong.
The backlash was swift. LeBron is the only active NBA player to have his jerseys burned on 2 continents.
Protesters in Hong Kong took to the streets wearing LeBron face masks and waving 100 Chinese yuan bills. Other protesters torched and walked all over LeBron's jerseys in a sign of disrespect.
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Critics say LeBron sided with the Chinese to protect his financial interests over there.
According to the Daily Caller, LeBron pressured NBA commissioner Adam Silver to punish Morey.
The news media went on the attack, accusing LeBron of choosing money over basic human rights.
LeBron James Looks Like a Fraud The National Review.
LeBron James' only concern is LeBron James - The NY Daily News.
LeBron James's Big Miss on China - The Wall Street Journal.
Most Disgraceful Moment of Career - USA Today.
LeBron Bows to Communists - DrudgeReport.
The superstar also faced major backlash on social media platforms Twitter.com and Instagram.com.
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NBA superstar James Harden apologized to China on Monday for a tweet his general manager sent out on Friday. Unfortunately, his apology wasn't good enough.
The National Basketball League scrambled to get back on China's good side after the Chinese government blocked live broadcasts of NBA games on Monday. China was offended after Houston Rocket's general manager Daryl Morey tweeted that he chose democracy over Communism.
In the now-deleted tweet, Morey also supported Hong Kong, where pro-democracy demonstrators continue to protest in the streets against the pro-Chinese sector and the Hong Kong Police Force.
The Rockets are in Tokyo, Japan to play 2 pre-season exhibition games against NBA champions Toronto Raptors.
China banned live broadcasts of NBA pre-season games hours after Harden apologized for Morey's tweet.
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Harden, pictured left with teammate Russell Westbrook, said, "We apologize. You know, we love China. We love playing there. For both of us individually, we go there once or twice a year. They show us the most important love," Harden said.
He added: "We appreciate them as a fan base. We love everything there about them, and we appreciate the support that they give us individually and as [an] organization. We love you."
The Chinese government was further disappointed when NBA commissioner Adam Silver insisted he wouldn't gag owners or players from speaking their minds.
"The NBA will not put itself in a position of regulating what players, employees and team owners say or will not say on these issues. We simply could not operate that way," Silver said in a statement on Tuesday.
Morey's tweet resulted in the NBA losing advertisers and lucrative sponsorships, including Tiffany's jewelry.
The normally very opinionated NBA superstar LeBron James has so far remained silent on the controversy.
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James Harden, pictured left with Russell Westbrook, personally apologized to China after the Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey tweeted that he supports democracy - not communism.
Morey sparked controversy by saying he supported Hong Kong in a since-deleted tweet that has resulted in the team losing sponsorships and TV deals, according to Yahoo News.
Morey's tweet, "Fight for Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong", was in support of the semi-autonomous country that is the scene of protests and widespread civil unrest.
James Harden, one of the NBA's biggest superstars, apologized to China on Monday.
The Rockets are currently in Tokyo, Japan for 2 preseason games against the NBA's defending champions Toronto Raptors.
Harden, with teammate Westbrook by his side, spoke to the Japanese press on Monday:
"We apologize. You know, we love China. We love playing there. For both of us individually, we go there once or twice a year. They show us the most important love," Harden said.
"We appreciate them as a fan base. We love everything there about them, and we appreciate the support that they give us individually and as [an] organization. We love you."
Some NBA fans supported Harden and the Rockets, but others were furious at the superstar's apparent anti-democracy stance.
Chris Paul stripped down to his birthday suit for ESPN's Body Issue. The issue showcases sports superstars in provocative poses.
The 34-year-old, nine-time NBA All Star posted photos from the shoot on his Instagram account on Wednesday.
In the photos, Paul's fit body glistens and he is bathed in blue lights.
"Man listen! It seems counter intuitive to think you would start feeling better in your body as you get older, but that’s EXACTLY the path I’m on!! 34, recently turned plant-based, and feeling pretty damn good! Stay disciplined and take care of yourselves, it all starts here!"
After the shoot, Paul discussed his body and staying in shape as he approaches middle age.
"My abs. When I eat, that's where the weight comes immediately. If I eat french fries, one or two, they go right there."
When asked what keeps him going, Paul said:
"My competitive nature. And my family and my team -- all my homies that I grew up with and everybody who supports me. I think when I go out and play, it's never just about me; it's about my whole squad."
Paul named Grant Hill and LeBron James as his influences.
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