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NBA

Knicks, Rockets Make A Stand Together During National Anthem

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NFL star Colin Kaepernick stirred inspiration and courted controversy as he took a knee and hand on heart decided to not stand for the singing of the United States of America’s National Anthem this season.

Whilst some followed suit, not standing in solidarity, many were all too quick to point fingers of hate at a stand similair to the 1968 Olympic podium black power salute. Without asking why Kaepernick was still respectfully taking a knee but making a stand by not doing so.

He was doing it for the Black Lives Matter movement and all the African-American men who lost theirs to the senseless killings from some U.S. police officers. Like late, great boxing legend Muhammed Ali not declaring for the draft of the Vietnam war he was doing it for peace.

And during this Summer stand that the San Fransisco 49er still takes to the field every game many wondered how the stars and players of the NBA would respond or follow suit. In a league where the majority of the players are African-American and those who are not would also be impassioned and moved into showing a solidarity stand of unity.

And this preseason that’s exactly what we’ve seen happen.

Following stars from Derrick Rose to Kobe Bryant wearing ‘I Can’t Breathe’ t-shirts last season, NBA whole teams, not just individual players have made their stand during the National Anthem…together.

Recently the Boston Celtics and nations capital Washington Wiards franchises stood for the National Anthem heads bowed and arms linked in a brotherhood bond together. But last night before an exhibition game between the New York Knicks and the Houston Rockets it got real special and meaningful. As Knicks franchise player Carmelo Anthony and new free agent signing teammate Joakim Noah inspired the Knicks and James Harden’s Rockets to all stand together and link arms during the singing of the national anthem and the raising of the flag.

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It was a beautiful moment orchestrated by Anthony and Noah as a choir of conducted children proudly sang “the land of the free” and “the home of the brave” perfectly. Carmelo has been instrumental in speaking out and standing up for social issue. Most recently standing with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Paul in all black suits for a soulful speech about coming together at the ESPY awards. Tears of inspiration haven’t been shed like that since the late, great broadcaster Stuart Scott stood proudly in the face of cancer and took his lifetime achievment.

The Knicks and Rockets stood together much like the womens U.S. national basketball team and Japan’s one for that postgame group photo during the 2016 Rio Olympic Games in Brazil. But respectfully this during the anthem meant so much more. It was a peaceful protest with all due respect that still stood for and meant something. The Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. will be smiling proudly from above. Come the NBA’s tribute to him in January on MLK day expect more hand on heart, head bowed to show respect.

But in this moment last night that surely will inspire every team to follow suit every game, this stand was for everybody. Those who have lost their lives, whether to law enforcement or for the flag itself. The veterans who have served and gone to war so we can live in peace. And also the police officers that do protect and serve the great nation of the United States.

Without taking anything away from what Kaepernick has started last nights stand together recognized and respected everyone and left all removing their hats with just one feeling that we all need…

…unity!

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NBA

Giannis Antetokounmpo Is The Real MVP

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Giannis Antetokounmpo, Veronica Antetokounmpo
You're The MVP Too Mom...

Santa Monica, California was on an award tour like A Tribe Called Quest for the NBA’s end of season grand prize spectacle last night. Hanging out in the coolest performing arts theatre in all of Los Angeles (my apologies to the Hollywood Bowl), the converted airplane Barker Hangar played host to the 2019 NBA Awards. The Emmy’s, Oscar’s and Grammy’s of hoops Tony.

The best of the Basketball best and the cream of the future hops crop descended on this hangar, suited and booted like they were flossing injured courtside.

Shaq sized in the perfect setting in a place that houses feats of brilliance that take flight like Mike, this event could only be hosted by the one and only, Big Aristotle of the Diesel, Shaquille O’Neal (sorry Drake. Although you troll NBA players better than Kevin Hart telling Kenny Smith he’s so ashy if he smiles his lips will bleed as he goes to take a sip of his water). And the most entertaining NBA player ever (give him his award) laughed, joked, sang, rapped and danced his way to an enjoyable evening in the place he racked up three rings on repeat.

But how about the prize giving? Well your real Most Valuable Player this year is Giannis Antetokounmpo. Say what you will about last year’s MVP and this year’s runner up in the closest of recent races as tight as the Rookie of the Year voting, James Harden racking up triple-doubles like Charles Barkley says Lonzo Ball does triple-singles, but it’s the Alphabet’s time now after slaughtering this season gone. Sure he didn’t come away with the ‘chip like worthy candidate Kawhi Leonard and his (we still hope) Toronto Raptors, but that is his next challenge for the Mamba Mentality tweeted in congratulation by Kobe Bryant who predicted this MVP years back. And in a beautiful and emotional speech, Giannis dedicated all this to his dearly departed dad and his brothers and mom in attendance as every eye not dry in the house got out their seats in unanimous ovation.

And in a truly global game flying the flag outside the United States for each category winner, Antetokounmpo almost doubled up, finishing in second place for Defensive Player Of The Year, under the stifling Eiffel of French fly swatter, Rudy Gobert. As Paul George after an incredible season-no lucky shot-came in third place like he did for the MVP voting. Toronto not only got the ‘chip in the Six however as their X-factor Pascal Siakam came up with the Most Improved Player award ahead of Sacramento sophomore De’Aaron Fox and Brooklyn’s own (if they play their free agent cards right), D’Angelo Russell.

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Coach of the Year was bucked by Milwaukee’s Mike Budenholzer dry-erasing for the MVP. And Bradley Beal was passed the Community Assist Award for all the good this All Star has done. Give him a hand for all the ones he has. Whilst the Sportsmanship award went to new Utah Jazz guard Mike Conley Jr., who also racked up the Teammate Of The Year award for his grit n grind time with the Memphis Grizzlies. But who else for the Sixth Man of the Year award then the ‘6 Man’ of all-time, Lou Williams?

And the House Of Highlights Moment of the Year of course went to Derrick Rose. Can you guess for what game?

We have a ball rattling around the rim forever in Toronto that shoots for even more stars though.

But how about that Rookie of the Year award? Who you got? Because in narrowly beating out Atlanta Hawk Trae Young it’s clear the award belongs to superstar right now Luka Dončić after a Maverick season in Dallas. Where the Texan gunslinger from Slovenia is about to draw on them all next season. Look out for the kid like Pat Garrett.

Sager Strong, broadcaster Robin Roberts took home that award named in honour after the suited courtside with a microphone presenter. And her “make your mess your message” speech was the most inspiring of the night after her fight against breast cancer and bone marrow disease, raising awareness. Executive of the Year went to Jon Horst of the Milwaukee Bucks (sorry Rob Pelinka…jokes) but the Lifetime Achievement? Well that went to a former President who has just left office. No not Obama (although POTUS does have game…WAP!). But the Magic man, Earvin Johnson. The Laker legend honoured in California for all he’s done since starting the fast-break of Showtime, to changing the game behind the back without taking a single shot. All the way to walking away from it bravely when he was diagnosed with HIV and then making a comeback so beautifully for the man who will always be purple and gold with all this entrepreneur pulls out the empire of his top hat. Say what you will about his presidency residency but as we look to free agency this crazy offseason, remember who started all this off by bringing the King to Hollywood last Summer, waiting outside his house in his car at one in the morning.

Now that can’t be tampered with.

But all in all last nights NBA Awards show of All-Stars showed us one thing like the NBA Finals. No matter who took home the gold, we all came away winners.

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NBA

Philadelphia 76ers’ make Marial Shayok Ottawa’s first-ever NBA draft pick

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Philadelphia 76ers Make Marial Shayok Ottawa's First Ever Nba Draft Pick

Ottawa’s Marial Shayok has achieved his ultimate dream — becoming the city’s first-ever NBA draft pick. The Philadelphia 76ers selected Shayok with the 54th-pick overall in the second-round of the 2019 NBA Draft.

The former St.Patrick’s Irish high school standout celebrated his special and emotional moment at home with family and friends.

“You did it bro, you did bro…”
“Let’s go baby! You going to Philly…”


For Shayok and his family the historic moment is a culmination of life-long sacrifices that started in South Sudan with his 6’9″ father Makor Shayok moving his wife and three-daughters to America. The elder Makor set post at Alvin Texas Community College and earned a scholarship to the Dayton Flyers, playing from 1990-1992.

Makor’s eldest, Shayok Shayok (born in Miami) and his sister Yar Shayok also followed dad’s footsteps and played NCAA basketball – Shayok going to Bradley and transferring to UMKC and Yar playing with Detroit Mercy Titans women’s program.

The family migrated to Ottawa, Canada in the mid-90’s and on July 26th, 1995 the youngest Shayok was born.

Marial left Ottawa for New Jersey’s Blair Academy after three-years with the St.Pats Irish — he originally committed to the Marquette Golden Eagles but transferred to the Virginia Cavaliers after the coach (Buzz Williams) that originally recruited him bailed on the program in 2015.

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Shayok had busy NBA draft process – showcasing his versatile skill-set to 14 NBA front offices. Here is footage of his 76ers’ work-out.

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