NBA Commissioner: All-Star Game Could Still be Moved from Charlotte

The 2017 NBA All-Star Game could still be moved from Charlotte if North Carolina’s House Bill 2 remains unchanged.

The news comes from NBA Commissioner Adam Silver’s comments at an Associated Press Sports Editors’ meeting on Thursday, according to attendees.

The AP’s Brian Mahoney quoted Silver saying he believes the NBA has been “crystal clear” regarding the professional basketball league’s stance on the controversial legislation.

Mahoney quoted Silver saying:

“We’ve been, I think, crystal clear that we believe a change in the law is necessary for us to play in the kind of environment that we think is appropriate for a celebratory NBA event, but that we did have some time and that if the view of the people who were allied with us in terms of a change, if their view, the people on the ground in North Carolina, was that the situation would best be served by us not setting a deadline, we would not set a deadline at this time.”

The game and the associated festivities from All-Star weekend are scheduled to take place in Charlotte in February 2017.

In the wake of House Bill 2, PayPal announced the company would not move forward with a planned expansion in Charlotte. Deutsche Bank also announced it was freezing plans to create 250 new jobs in Cary.

http://chapelboro.com/news/state-government/nba-commissioner-all-star-game-could-still-be-moved-from-charlotte

Vince Carter: Good at Dunking

Vince Carter is good at dunking.

He might be the greatest of all time.

The NBA decided they needed to remind you.  The league’s All-Star game is coming to Toronto this weekend.  So, the NBA YouTube channel put together the ultimate mixtape from Carter’s time as a Toronto Raptor.

Enjoy it.  It is an impressive collection of slams.  Although, you might notice that they did sneak in a couple of lay-ups and even a pass or two.

After going to back to back Final Fours with the North Carolina Tar Heels, Vince Carter left Chapel Hill for the NBA Draft in 1998.  The Golden State Warriors took Carter with the fifth pick in the first round.  They immediately traded him to the Raptors for Carter’s college teammate, Antawn Jamison.

Carter played for the Toronto Raptors from 1998-2004.

During his time with the Raptors, Carter earned a reputation as one of the best (if not the best) dunkers in the game.  That reputation received a boost when he won the 2000 Slam Dunk Competition.

But, Carter displayed his dunking ability routinely over those years.  TNT analyst, and fellow Tar Heel, Kenny Smith called Carter “Half Man, Half Amazing.”

At 39-years-old, Vince Carter can still throw it down.  He is in his 18th NBA season and wants to play for at least two more years.

http://chapelboro.com/sports/professional/vince-carter-good-at-dunking

Vince Carter: Still Got It

Vince Carter is 38-years-old.

With the possibility of one very notable exception, Vince is the best dunker in Carolina basketball history.

But, Vince Carter is 38-years-old.

He turns 39 on January 26th.

When the former Tar Heel and current member of the Memphis Grizzlies elevates, everybody in the crowd still anticipates something amazing.  On Sunday, Carter delivered.

With his team trailing 70-79 against the Boston Celtics, Vince beat his defender off the dribble.  Then, he hammered it home with his right-hand.

Vintage Vince Carter.

Carter and the Grizzlies came back and defeated the Celtics, 101-98.

Vince finished the game with 8 points.  He’s coming off the bench for the Grizzlies and averaging 3.6 points a game.  It’s been several years since Vince Carter was a starter on an NBA team.  But, he’s outlasted every other player picked in the top 5 of the 1998 NBA Draft, including his Tar Heel teammate Antawn Jamison.  Only three players in that draft remain in the NBA: Carter; Dirk Nowitzki; and Paul Pierce.

The 2000 Slam Dunk Contest and a leap over a seven-footer in the 2000 Olympics are two of the biggest dunk moments for Carter.  But, Vince had plenty of highlights as a Tar Heel.

http://chapelboro.com/sports/professional/vince-carter-still-got-it

Stroman On Sports: 16-0?

The Carolina Panthers are 13-0 following another big win this weekend. They’ve clinched a division title and a first-round bye in the NFL playoffs. Is it time to sit Cam Newton and make sure he’s rested, ready and healthy for the playoffs? Or do the Panthers owe it to the fans (and themselves) to play to win every week, especially with a historic 16-0 season still on the line?

Deb Stroman is a professor at UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School and an expert on the business of sport. She discussed the Panthers – and other topics – on WCHL Monday with Aaron Keck.

http://chapelboro.com/sports/professional/stroman-on-sports-16-0

Stroman On Sports: Chapel Hill, Football Town

The Tar Heel football team is doing so well this year that it’s even keeping the spotlight off basketball – in a year when the basketball team is a favorite to win it all, no less. Is Chapel Hill still a basketball town first and foremost, or is it time to re-evaluate?

Deborah Stroman is a sports analyst and a professor at UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School. She discussed the football team’s success on Monday with WCHL’s Aaron Keck. (They also talked about the legacy of Kobe Bryant, who just announced his impending retirement.)

http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/stroman-on-sports-chapel-hill-football-town

Chansky’s Notebook: Heeee’s back!

The Hornets are giving Tyler Hansbrough one last chance.

Psycho T knew exactly what he was doing when he stayed at UNC all four years. A bruising power forward in college, Hansbrough figured he would be an undersized pro, and he opted to stick around and become the Tar Heels’ all-time leading scorer and rebounder. Good move. He never considered turning pro early and for that, plus his ferocious style of play, was beloved in college. As the ACC Player of the Year as a junior, a four-time All-American and the 13th pick of the 2009 NBA Draft, he made his guaranteed money and now is in the twilight of his NBA life.

For me, he never looked comfortable as a pro, because he was the quintessential college star. A young man of few words who did his talking on the court, he never took a possession off and only missed a couple of minutes for rest in every game.

What better place to see his basketball career end, or see if he can rekindle that fire back in the state he electrified for four years – leading Carolina to two Final Fours, one national championship and, perhaps more important, four straight victories at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Ah, the good old days.

Hansbrough being signed by Charlotte means that owner Michael Jordan and GM Rich Cho are trying to bring fans back to Time-Warner Cable Arena, after missing the playoffs last season, with a popular name. Hansbrough had his worst season as a pro in 2015, coming off his lowest scoring and rebounding averages and declining numbers in every other category in his second year with Toronto after five in Indiana. Now it’s on to Charlotte.

Hansbrough joins a cast that already includes Cody Zeller and Frank Kaminsky, two big men who do what Hansbrough does, only better. Best plan for Psycho T is to be a popular sub bounding off the bench to show the same kind of aggression he did at UNC. At the very least, he should be comfortable back in the building where he had some of his greatest post-season games. Remember his o-rebound and buzzer-beater over Virginia Tech in the 2008 ACC Tournament semifinals and his two jumpers that buried Louisville in the East Regional Final two weeks later?

Sad to say for one of the greatest Tar Heels ever, but Hansbrough is now a journeyman pro. Let’s hope he can draw some fans, make some magic and not have that journey end too soon.  If he’s heading for his last hurrah, it should where he got his first.

http://chapelboro.com/sports/chanskys-notebook-heeees-back

Tokoto Projected 2nd-Round Selection in Tonight’s Draft

Three Duke Blue Devils are projected to be taken in the first round of tonight’s NBA Draft.

The National Basketball Association will welcome 60 new players during the two-round draft tonight in Brooklyn, New York.

NBA Draft Express is projecting Center Jahlil Okafor to be selected second overall by the Los Angeles Lakers, Guard Justise Winslow to the Orlando Magic at number five, and finally Guard Tyus Jones to the Houston Rockets with the 18th selection.

The impressive trio from the reigning national champions may be outnumbered by Kentucky Wildcats in this year’s draft.

Kentucky seven footer Karl-Anthony Towns is projected to be the number one overall selection by the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The Charlotte Hornets may come away with a pair of Wildcats to add to former Kentucky star Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. The Hornets are projected to select Guard Devin Booker with the ninth selection followed by Kentucky teammate Dakari Johnson in the second round.

UNC Junior JP Tokoto surprised many by leaving school early but now is projected to be a second-round selection of the Miami Heat.

http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/tokoto-projected-2nd-round-selection-in-tonights-draft

Tar Heels in the Pros: Harrison Barnes

The University of North Carolina has a long-standing tradition of sending its basketball players to the NBA. A breeding ground for sensational talents such as Michael Jordan, James Worthy, Rasheed Wallace, and Vince Carter, UNC has produced a star more recently in Harrison Barnes.

***Listen to the story***

A two-year member of Roy Williams’ program, Harrison Barnes entered the NBA draft in 2012 after his sophomore season at UNC. Since then, the standout shooting guard has been a starter for the Golden State Warriors in two of his three years in the league. In his second season with the Warriors, Barnes only started 24 of their 78 games, a change that he did not acclimate to very well.

Barnes at Cameron Indoor (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Barnes at Cameron Indoor (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

“After my rookie season I felt like we had a good year, I felt like we could have kept the same guys and continued doing what we were doing. We just made some changes and it was just a different experience for me because I had come to the league and I was used to playing a certain way my rookie year, and to come and play a different role and play with a different unit and all that was why I struggled statistically,” Barnes recently told NBA.com.

Barnes’ statistical averages did take a hit in the 2013-2014 season coming off the bench; his field goal and three-point percentages dropped in his sophomore slump.

This season, his third, has by far been Barnes’ best. He started all 82 of the Warriors’ regular season games; he shot 48% from the field as well as 41% from three-point range, and took care of the ball, averaging less than one turnover per game in the regular season.

The rising star has not forgotten his collegiate experience, saying how his wish growing up was to play at North Carolina.

“That was a dream to play at Carolina. I remember I used to tell kids when I was 14 or 15 years old, I was like ‘I’m gonna play on the big stage, I’m going to go play at Carolina’ and these kids used to laugh me out of the gym. ‘Come on man, stop it. North Carolina? That’s the big stage.’ And that was always something I dreamed for and worked for, North Carolina was always the spot for me,” Barnes says.

Barnes has quickly found himself yet another family outside of his home state of Iowa in the Bay Area of northern California. The Golden State fans there have embraced him and have even given him a nickname: “The Senator.”

“That came from Jim Barnett [Warriors TV color analyst],” Barnes says. “I think we were just doing like a little Q&A interview my rookie year and he was like ‘You know you’re always going into politics and your answers are always so well-parsed I’m gonna start calling you “The Senator”,’ and I thought he was joking but he kept calling me that and calling me. Now every time he sees me he says ‘How’re you doing, Senator?’.”

Barnes has been known for his calm and often stately demeanor, even during his time at UNC, but his competitive side is no secret, either. As an important starter for the best team in the NBA, Barnes’ reputation grows with each passing game. Along with stars like Klay Thompson and MVP Stephen Curry, the Warriors have their eyes set on the highest of goals: winning an NBA championship.

Barnes at the 2014 NBA All-Star Dunk Contest (LA Times)

Barnes at the 2014 NBA All-Star Dunk Contest (LA Times)

“You know obviously it’s a very big accomplishment to win the division, that’s something we didn’t do obviously my first two years here. So, it’s a big goal, big milestone but it’s still a long journey to where we want to go,” Barnes says.

Starting their second round series this week against the Memphis Grizzlies, the Warriors are hoping to move on to the Western Conference Finals and face either the Houston Rockets or Los Angeles Clippers.

Next week on “Tar Heels in the Pros,” we’ll feature an ageless wonder – Vince Carter of the Memphis Grizzlies.

http://chapelboro.com/heels-in-the-pros/tar-heels-pros-harrison-barnes

Lessons of Peace and Possibilities Through the Sport of Basketball

Although sport media headlines often accentuate the misdeeds and inappropriate actions of athletes, few can doubt the overall national interest in athletic competition and its benefit to America. As a guest of the National Basketball Association (NBA), I recently had the wonderful opportunity to travel to South Africa for the 2015 NBA Africa Game to witness firsthand the investment and impact of basketball on the entire Africa continent. If the influence and outcomes of the NBA Africa Game is any indicator of how sport can foster collaboration, economic development, and business partnerships in a community, we all need to immediately rally and support more sport-related entrepreneurial activities.

The NBA Africa Game, a “startup” venture hosted by NBA Africa in Johannesburg, featured two teams of NBA players whose birthplace (or one parent) is Africa versus players who hail from the United States, Spain, and Montenegro. The highly competitive game was played in a sold out facility that mesmerized the fully engaged African fan-base. The team captains, Chris Paul (Los Angeles Clippers and Wake Forest University) and Luol Deng (Miami Heat and Duke University), led their teams in a run and shoot battle that was won in the closing minute by Paul’s hot 3- point shooting squad. The NBA did its best to transform this event such that it mirrored a regular season game located in the USA by shipping in a regulation floor, goals, pre-game entertainment, and several NBA mascots. Prominent governmental and basketball dignitaries from other African countries, U.S. Ambassador Patrick Gaspard, South African Minister of Sport and Recreation Fikile Mbalula, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, NBA corporate partners, and entertainers sat at courtside for this historic occasion. The only thing missing at Ellis Arena were the high-tech spotlights and colorful illumination!

Dr. Stroman with Chris Paul

Dr. Stroman with Chris Paul

Over the past few decades, under the former leadership of Commissioner David Stern and now Silver, the NBA has arguably surpassed America’s favorite pastime of Major League Baseball and the National Football League to lead the professional sport industry in many creative business strategies. The NBA’s forward-thinking executives, staff, and owners have implemented many policies and programs to greatly propel interest in basketball across the USA and the entire world. Still beaming from its media broadcast contract of $2.6 billion dollar per year through the 2024-2025 season, the NBA has even managed to garner the attention of sport lovers without winning teams in two of the largest media markets: Los Angeles and New York City! Undoubtedly, operating as a global sport business matters a great deal to the NBA. This determination is demonstrated in the following ways:

  • The ability to effectively manage labor negotiations has spurned a very attractive employment opportunity such that NBA players are the highest paid athletes in the world earning an average of $4.5 million per year (2014- 15 season).
  • The NBA scores very well in matters of diversity and racial equality issues. The league scored an A+ for racial hiring practices from the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport. From employment (e.g., Becky Hammond, of the San Antonio Spurs, recently became the league’s first female coach) to the All-Star Weekend’s Newsmaker Breakfast, whereby an invitation-only audience hears a message from a prominent leader, the NBA desires to be a world-class business organization – not just a basketball league.
  • The NBA Tech Summit is a way for the league to demonstrate its commitment to youth and the implementation of new media and advanced digital technological tools. It is of no surprise and very much by design that the NBA is highly popular on newer social media platforms such as Vine and Snapchat. In addition, the NBA (17 million followers) and its league stars are the most active and popular professional athletes on Twitter.

Arguably, these business successes pale in comparison to the vast investment — social, economic, and political – by the NBA to their commitment to the global expansion of basketball. Charitable efforts such as NBA Cares and with more than 100 players born or raised outside of the United States, the NBA has created a plentiful marketing platform to engage most of the entire world with its numerous product extensions. Since 2001the NBA has implemented grassroots programming through partnerships with Basketball Without Borders (BWB) and the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) to offer more than 41 BWB camps in 23 cities in 20 countries on five continents! Having more children play basketball and learn life skills through sport participation is the ultimate mission of the NBA global initiatives.

In conjunction with the 2015 NBA Africa Game, the NBA and BWB hosted youth clinics, refurbished a library and donated two basketball courts at the SOS Children’s Village and a Boys and Girls Club at Protea Glen. As a public-private partnership, the NBA worked collaboratively with governmental and community leaders to support the SOS Children’s Village at Ennerdale, which creates and supports the family structure for orphaned and abandoned children. Current NBA players were joined at these events by notable NBA alumni Dikembe Mutumbo, Hakeem Olajuwon, and Curtis “Muggsy” Bogues (Wake Forest), five-time NBA championship Coach Gregg Popovich, NBA owner RC Slocum, NBA Africa managing director Amadou Fall, and NBA Coach of the Year Mike Budenholzer.

Similar to global immersion programs, this trip by the NBA players and guests was so much more than the opportunity to teach and expose basketball to soccer and cricket aficionados. Yes, South Africa clearly received the sport skills and influence of the NBA brand. However, the buzz on the ground centered on the visitors being moved by the powerful symbols, monuments, and museums throughout the city. The shrines and tributes fully represent the past struggle and determination to unify the country. All who were a part of the NBA contingent felt the impact of Pres. Nelson Mandela’s love, forgiveness philosophy, and promotion of an intentional democratic governmental structure. In particular, the visit to the Apartheid Museum was very emotional as the experience brought one seemingly face-to-face with the injustice, horrors, and cowardice of a racist power structure. Players were provided a very unforgettable experiential history lesson that many never received in their U.S. classrooms.

Apartheid Museum

Apartheid Museum

Although I am back home in America, I still feel the drumbeat of Africa from one of the most rewarding business trips one could ever imagine. The inaugural NBA Africa Game reflected Mandela’s spirit and goal to use sport to bring people together. For many years the South African apartheid regime cleverly manipulated barriers and political policy to uphold the immoral government. However, the country’s minority white population and President F.W. de Klerk could not understand nor accept the isolation and exclusion imposed by the sporting world. Countries refused to play ball with South Africa. As Mr. Mandela noted, this rejection made the difference; peace and the long journey to reconciliation was indeed sparked by the power of sport. We remain ever grateful for this unique platform of sport to touch the hearts of humankind to imagine and build solutions for tomorrow. And isn’t it amazing that in 2015 basketball is still remains one of the most effective ways to foster new ideas, increase diversity, and promote collaboration? The possibilities are endless for this children’s game that makes us smile and cheer. A big salute to the NBA for its entrepreneurial spirit to ignite that feeling across the world!

http://chapelboro.com/columns/lessons-of-peace-and-possibilities-through-the-sport-of-basketball

Duke’s Jabari Parker, Rodney Hood Declare For NBA Draft

Duke freshman Jabari Parker is entering the NBA draft.

Coach Mike Krzyzewski says in a statement Thursday it was “an honor for us to have him in our program.” In an essay posted on SI.com, Parker says the NBA offers him the best chance to develop both as a player and off the court.

There is a strong chance Parker could be the No. 1 overall pick in June. The All-American was the highest-scoring freshman in Duke history and became the first freshman to be selected team MVP since Johnny Dawkins in 1983.

He is the fifth Blue Devils player to enter the draft after his freshman season, joining Corey Maggette, Luol Deng, Kyrie Irving and Austin Rivers.

Duke sophomore Rodney Hood also announced Thursday that he would forego his junior and senior years and enter the NBA draft. According to SI.com, Hood is a top-15 draft pick.

http://chapelboro.com/sports/acc/dukes-jabari-parker-rodney-hood-declare-nba-draft