One day in June of 2012, the Portland Trail Blazers’ offices were abnormally quiet. It was only a few weeks before the draft and we had two lottery picks, so the previous few weeks had been a whirlwind of activity, with draft workouts and long meetings.
A federal trial is telling an important story about the buying and selling of young basketball prospects.Mr. Sokolove is the author of “The Last Temptation of Rick Pitino: A Story of Corruption, Scandal and the Big Business of College Basketball.
At 10:02 a.m. on a sunny day last winter in the gym at the National Basketball Players Association’s Midtown Manhattan headquarters, dozens of nervous prospective N.B.A. agents sat at folding tables, hunched over the first test many had taken in years. Copies of the N.B.A.
The NBA and National Basketball Players Association are struggling to reach an agreement on lowering the age limit to 18, differing on the league's desire to attach two conditions to ending the one-and-done NBA Draft era, league sources told ESPN.
Toronto Raptors star forward Kawhi Leonard will be rested against the Washington Wizards and will not play Saturday, one day after leading Toronto to a victory over the Boston Celtics. The Raptors announced that Leonard and guard Delon Wright (hip) will both miss their road game in Washington.
The rules of basketball, thankfully, are fairly straightforward. However, for the younger players, some rules can be easily forgotten. The three-second rule addressing how long an offensive player can be in the key before clearing out is a good example.
There are slideshows on the Internet of the house, stately and fountained, where Stephen Curry lived as a boy — the house his parents built in 1996, the year Steph turned 8, on a 16-acre plot a few minutes’ drive from the center of Charlotte, North Carolina. It’s a big house, six bedrooms.
The most exciting play in basketball somehow happens five times a game. It’s always Russell Westbrook grabbing a rebound or an outlet pass, then deciding to dribble 70–80 feet for another defiant layup. Does he care how many opponents might be in his way? Not really.
Bound by professional obligation, the announcer is feigning impartiality but a wobble in his lilt, a slip of exasperation, gives him away. It’s March, 2012, the third round of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament, and Royce White is running free.
He’s an Instagram phenomenon who fascinates college coaches—but he’s not quite a sure thing. He’s also a high school freshman trying to navigate the awkward phases and social mysteries that come with being a teenager. Meet Nico Mannion, a 15-year-old (sorta-maybe) basketball prodigy
It’s funny, I’d just been celebrating. When I got the call from Danny, I was leaving the airport — my wife, Kayla, and I were coming back from having celebrated our one-year wedding anniversary. We’d gone to Miami for a couple of days — and now we were back in Seattle, driving home.
PHILADELPHIA — In mid-April, on the last day of the N.B.A.’s regular season, a group of reporters gathered at the Wells Fargo Center here, buzzing with an urgent question: Would Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Milwaukee Bucks’ impossibly elastic 6-foot-11 phenom, be in the lineup that night?
How long does it take to become elite at your craft? And what do the people who master their goals do differently than the rest of us? That's what John Hayes, a cognitive psychology professor at Carnegie Mellon University, wanted to know.
When Ben Falk first conceived Cleaning the Glass, the NBA site he launched last year, he tried to balance hope and realism. Hope: that basketball fans like him might find the site interesting enough to pay for; realism regarding how many other such humans actually exist.
If fans remember Oklahoma City's improbable comeback in Orlando last Wednesday, it will be as the capstone of Russell Westbrook's wild, screaming, relentless MVP case.
Jared Dubin is a freelance sports writer and lawyer based out of New York City. We caught up with Jared to chat about his path to becoming a full-time writer, how he decides what topics to write about, why the Knicks are such a mess, and what he’s been reading and finding interesting lately.
For decades, basketball sneakers weren't like other sneakers. Take Reebok's "The Question," Allen Iverson's signature shoe: truly ridiculous, enormous moon-boot type high-tops with a whopping four visible bubbles of Reebok's "Hexalite" shock absorption technology in each shoe.
Before this year’s NBA season started, I had a conversation with a Golden State Warriors fan. He was excited about his team and was keen to explain its success: It was perfectly balanced, with perfect chemistry, role players, coaching and management.
I didn’t write an NBA Bag on Thursday because I knew David Letterman was stepping down. I wrote an NBA Bag because I’ve been doing mailbags ever since I started writing this column in 1997 … and only because I loved Letterman’s “Viewer Mail” gimmick.
For all that the ongoing FBI investigation into college basketball’s underground economy has and could yet reveal, nothing is more obvious and undeniable than this: The on-stage performers in a multimillion-dollar entertainment industry do, in fact, have value beyond athletic scholarships and smal
Which prospects boosted their stock at the combine? Which tweeners are best positioned to shoot up draft boards? And what the hell does Frank Mason III have to do to get some NBA love?The only NBA draft guide that promises little to no discussion of Markelle Fultz and Lonzo Ball is back with Part I
Fueled by desperation and long-shot hopes, a twentysomething huckster agent leads 10 end-of-the-line players on a European exposure tour. It could be their final chance at basketball glory, but will anyone buy what he’s selling? Jon Solomon has the same birthday as Michael Jordan.
Leave it to the San Antonio Spurs. Just one day after celebrating one of the most emotional title clinchers in NBA history, the “Ozymandias” episode of the Duncan-Pop era was rendered irrelevant by America’s first World Cup game.
This story appears in ESPN The Magazine's May 29 Issue. Subscribe today! LeBron James shouldn't be shooting this free throw.
Jaylen Brown is one the most intelligent and interesting young athletes I’ve met in years and it seems fitting that, midway through our interview in Boston, he should retell a parable that brings together Martin Luther King and the great American writer David Foster Wallace.
On Sunday afternoon, I was watching my daughter play soccer in Parts Unknown, California, right as Sergio Garcia was stealing the Masters from Justin Rose. The Masters app kept freezing on me, so I settled on clandestinely following the last few holes on Twitter.
As someone who watches almost exclusively college basketball for five straight months every year, I always find it jarring to start closely following the NBA after the Final Four ends. The college and NBA games are both technically basketball, but they feel like two completely different sports.
My grandfather is missing an ear. Melanoma was eating away the left one, so it had to be removed. He’s hobbled by bad legs, particularly the right one, banged-up since college—two members of a forgotten Big Ten special teams unit both decided to tackle his kneecap at the same time.
Jahlil Okafor pulls a blanket over his lap, leans back in the leather recliner, and gazes up at the projector screen. The lights dim and Reese Witherspoon begins to narrate the opening sequence of Home Again, a romantic comedy that proves to be light on both romance and comedy.
Is Nikola Jokic a basketball unicorn? Should Paul George be traded immediately? What would it take to get Anthony Davis out of New Orleans? Plus, 27 more deals from the Picasso of the Trade Machine.The NBA trade deadline is Thursday. I repeat: THE NBA TRADE DEADLINE IS THURSDAY.
CLEVELAND—Doris Burke has never spoken a single word to Drake. And they never had dinner together, despite what the internet says.
On Wednesday night, Joel Embiid nearly made me miss an airplane. I watched his coming-out party from a hotel room in New York, where I had planned on falling asleep early before my cross-country flight the next morning.
The M-V-P chants shower Kyrie Irving as he toes the line for two free throws. The point guard is putting the finishing touches on a 35-point masterpiece against the Atlanta Hawks, and the crowd bellows with praise from every corner of the arena.
This story appears in ESPN The Magazine's Oct. 30 NBA Preview issue. Subscribe today! The sanctuary for the early check-ins, the merely laid-over and the maddeningly delayed is tucked between Gates 25 and 26 in Terminal 2 at Oakland International Airport.
This post has been updated to reflect additional reporting done the week of the NBA Draft. Jaylen Brown has been quite busy in his typical eccentric fashion since coming to New York City for the draft.
The NBA draft is less than a month away, which means that if you haven’t already decided how the next 15 years of every prospect’s career will play out based solely on DraftExpress breakdown videos, it’s time to get your ass in gear.
No one looms over the sports universe right now quite like LaVar Ball. From the moment his boys could walk, he’s been molding them into basketball prodigies. His wife calls it “LaVar-ology.” Now Ball’s dream is becoming a reality: getting all three sons into the NBA.
The Bucks are trying to build Maker's muscle mass, but gradually. He's gained about 10 pounds since the summer to bring him up to 215. Eventually, perhaps, he will settle into the 230-240 rangeGarnett's playing weight for much of his careerbut that could be years away.
From the moment I started rolling my dad’s tube socks And shooting imaginary Game-winning shots In the Great Western Forum I knew one thing was real: I fell in love with you. As a six-year-old boy Deeply in love with you I never saw the end of the tunnel. I only saw myself Running out of one.
Sitting on a park bench overlooking Lake Ontario in Toronto on a brilliant summer day in 2015, I was approached by a woman looking for directions.
Mock draft season is now officially here, with the Boston Celtics winning the NBA draft lottery on Tuesday night. As is typically the case, most of the discussion surrounding the 2017 draft will likely focus on the first five to 10 picks.
But first, it’s a Grantland Basketball Hour alert! On the heels of last night’s “Hardcore Playoff Preview” with me, Jalen Rose and Zach Lowe …
In the 24 hours before Koby Altman pushed to complete the three deals that resurrected a season and reshaped a franchise, the Cleveland Cavaliers general manager sought a most elusive engagement: a sit-down with LeBron James.
This story appears in ESPN The Magazine's May 29 issue. Subscribe today! It has been, what, six months since the world met LaVar Ball and his brood of big ballers?
The FBI announced Tuesday that 10 people, including four college basketball assistant coaches, were arrested as part of a two-year investigation into bribes and other corruption in the sport.
It’s September 1 and LeBron James is on his knees, teetering on a purple medicine ball. He balances himself while holding up a weight in each hand before a trainer puts a lighter weight on top of each. Neither James nor the weights falls. To the fans that make up James’s 33.
Larry O’Brien, fresh off propelling John F. Kennedy to his first Senate term, is busy plotting the young politician's ascent to the presidency, and in Minneapolis, the Westernmost city in the NBA, a professional basketball game is going down to the wire: It's Nov.
Marvin Bagley III raps like he plays basketball, smooth and fast. Dressed in Duke sweats, Bagley wedges his 6-foot-11, 234-pound body into a recording booth just outside of downtown Raleigh, North Carolina.
R.J. Barrett shook up the basketball world last weekend. The 17-year-old prodigy led Canada to its first gold medal in basketball in the FIBA U19 World Championship, and he was named MVP of the tournament despite being two years younger than most of the other players in Cairo.
It might have been a second, or a millisecond, or a milli of a millisecond. Even were it the absolute slightest measure of time, Bryce Dejean-Jones had an opportunity to turn around.
From the stands, Jay Mullen didn’t like what he saw. He didn’t like that the Soviet basketball team was humiliating its overmatched Ugandan opponents. He didn’t like that the visitors were bigger, stronger, faster, and more skilled than the amateurish Ugandan army and prison guard teams.
After the Lakers lost to the Cavaliers on Sunday, a transcript passed around to media said that LeBron James had labeled D’Angelo Russell “a special player.” Russell had scored a career-high 40 points with six assists, so it seemed appropriate.
The spark to ignite all-out nuclear hellfire pierces through a moonlit sky in the early minutes of Jan. 24, 1961. An American B-52 bomber's right wing has snapped off, undone by a fuel leak, sending the aircraft into a barrel roll.
This story appears in the Jan. 25, 2016, issue of Sports Illustrated. To subscribe, click here. Kristaps Porzingis sits in stages, folding his 7'3" frame into a leather chair, collapsing his legs under a coffee table, squeezing his elbows inside an arm rest.
Let's start with the truth. The 3-point shot was created for people who couldn't play basketball. It was made for people who couldn't grow tall enough, dribble well enough, drive hard enough or move fast enough. It was for the last kid picked on the playground.
The NBA is becoming a positionless league. Coaches are more comfortable playing nontraditional lineups, cross-switching defensive assignments, and sliding players between positions. However, there are still five spots in a lineup, and what spot a player occupies still matters.
His first winter in Philadelphia was brutal. The team was terrible. The weather was worse. Sam Hinkie went to high school and college in Oklahoma. He did his postgrad stint at Stanford. He was Daryl Morey’s most trusted lieutenant in Houston.
In a quiet moment during the Slovenian national team training camp before last summer's Eurobasket championship run, the team's coach, Igor Kokoskov, pulled aside Luka Doncic, his star prospect, for a history lesson. Doncic was not even born when Drazen Petrovic died in a car crash 25 years ago.
A month with Luke Walton and the youthful, fast-paced, fun-as-hell Lakers, who are getting along, winning games, and waking up after the Kobe eraMuch of what you need to know about the Lakers — these Lakers, now mercifully absent Kobe’s interminable farewell tour and free of Byron Scott’s
This weekend, The New York Times Magazine will publish its annual “The Lives They Lived” issue, which recalls notable people who died in 2015.
Yeah, I read LeBron James’s classy letter in Sports Illustrated. I believe him. I think he wanted to come home. I think he always wanted to come home. In the summer of 2010, LeBron handled everything wrong. He knows that now. His hometown turned on him. His former owner excoriated him.
Ricky Rubio looks confused. He’s standing near midcourt on a Wednesday night in November at Vivint Smart Home Arena in downtown Salt Lake City, surrounded by teammates and screaming fans, and he is staring blankly, registering the weight of the moment.
LOS ANGELES — O.J. Mayo broke down in tears when he heard the NBA was going to ban him for at least two years for a failed drug test, and he surely would have cried even harder if he had known the embarrassment, loneliness and aimlessness that would follow.
He couldn't bear to watch.
The first paycheck of Giannis Antetokounmpo's big new contract will hit his bank account next month. In the modern NBA, that means the Milwaukee Bucks are now on the clock.
Joe Harris, fresh from the D-League, couldn't believe what Brooklyn's new coaching staff was telling him in training camp. But the Nets knew Harris could shoot 3s, and they would figure out the rest later.
IT'S MID-APRIL, less than 24 hours before the Golden State Warriors open their postseason march toward a third straight NBA Finals appearance, and Warriors assistant coach Bruce Fraser is taking his post for what he calls "the easiest job in the world.
James Harden knew what he was getting into, back in 2016, when he signed with Trolli, arch-nemesis of candymaker Haribo, the dominant player for decades in the Gummi space. He approached Trolli, and together they were taking a shot at the king—Haribo, the Golden State Warriors of the Gummi world.