After a disappointing end to a disappointing season, the Philadelphia 76ers have fired head coach Brett Brown.
What We Know:
- The team fired Brown on Monday according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. This news has been anticipated as Brown has been on the hot seat for some time now. The Sixers’ 4-0 series loss to the Boston Celtics served the final blow for Brown’s career in Philadelphia. Getting swept out of the first round is bad news for any coach, but the Sixers have fallen short of expectations all year and much of the blame has rested on Brown’s coaching.
- The 2018-2019 Philadelphia 76ers ended their season in a Game 7 loss to the eventual champion the Toronto Raptors. Although it was heartbreaking, taking the champs to a Game 7 is an honorable way to lose and it was an improvement from the previous season. The future looked bright and the Sixers came into this season looking to take the next step: an NBA championship.
- Preseason predictions had the Sixers in the top tier of teams contending for the title because they have two franchise cornerstones in Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons and the rest of the roster seemed formidable, especially on the defensive end. The Sixers certainly showed up on defense for the 2019-2020 season, ranking in the top ten for team defensive rating and seeing Simmons vault himself into the conversation for best defensive player in the league.
- However, the Sixers severely underperformed in every other aspect for the season. Even though they finished with the best home record in the league, they had one of the worst road records, only going 12-26. They only finished 6th in the Eastern Conference and were easily handled by the Boston Celtics. This is the second time in three years that Boston has sent them home in five games or less. Brown has failed to make adjustments in the playoffs against better coaches and he hasn’t been able to make an offense work for Simmons and Embiid.
- Of course Brown deserves some of the blame for the Sixers’ failures and part of it is also due to Ben Simmons’ knee injury. But part of it is the front office and ownership who gave Brown a questionable roster to work with. They failed to re-sign Jimmy Butler and JJ Redick who were key to the Sixers’ success in 2019. They signed Al Horford to a $109 million contract and he has been an awful fit next to Embiid and Simmons. They also signed Tobias Harris to a $180 million deal. Harris and Horford are fine players, but overpaying for them meant that the team didn’t have the resources to sign other good shooters and playmakers. Brown was left to coach a roster with poor spacing and players that did not complement each other’s strengths.
- Brown served as head coach of the Sixers for seven seasons and shepherded their young team through “The Process” and led them to playoff success. For his first three seasons, the team’s goal was to lose as many games as possible so they could get top draft picks. Two of those picks turned into All-Stars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons and the Sixers switched from tanking to contending as soon as both of them took the floor together. The roster, the coaching, and the team’s health never worked out over the last three seasons and the Sixers are looking at some serious questions and big changes in the future.
LA Clippers assistant coach Ty Lue is expected to be a frontrunner for this Philadelphia position. As a head coach, he led the Cleveland Cavaliers to three straight NBA Finals appearances and the 2016 NBA Championship. Other potential candidates include Sixers assistant coach Ime Udoka and two-time NCAA Champion Jay Wright from Villanova.
MLB Legend Hank Aaron dies at 86
Legendary Atlanta Brave and Major League Baseball record holder Hank Aaron died Friday at the age of 86, according to Aaron’s daughter.
What We Know:
- Born in Mobile, Alabama, on Feb. 5, 1934, Henry Louis Aaron was one of eight children born to Herbert and Estella Aaron. His family was so poor they could not afford baseball equipment, so he began honing his baseball skill by hitting bottle caps with sticks.
- Aaron had his first major league tryout as a 15-year-old with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1949. He did not make that team and returned to school to get his diploma. In November 1951, at the age of 17, Aaron began his minor league career with the Indianapolis Clown’s organization of the negro leagues. Seven months later, in June 1952, Aaron chose to sign with the Boston Braves over the New York Giants, because the Braves offered $50 more a month. The team moved to Milwaukee in 1953, and one year later, Aaron made the big-league roster. That first season, Aaron wore No. 5. He switched to No. 44 in 1955. That same year, at age 21, Aaron made the first of his record 21 All-Star selections and his record 25 All-Star appearances. Aaron won the National League batting title in 1956 and won his only MVP award the following year after hitting 322 and finishing in the top three in all three triple crown batting categories. He capped his MVP ’57 season by clinching the pennant with a home run in inning 393 in a seven-game World Series victory over the New York Yankees. The Braves moved to Atlanta in time for the 1966 season, and within two years, Aaron was recording milestones in Georgia.
- Aaron became the first player in Major League history to record 500 homers and 3,000 hits. He went on to hit 40 or more home runs seven different times, finishing third in the MVP voting six times. At the age of 37, he hit his career high in home runs, 47 of them and set a new career best in slugging percentage. At age 39, Aaron recorded his eighth 40-homer season finishing that year with 713 for his career, just one home run shy of Babe Ruth’s major league record. That offseason, Aaron received numerous death threats and loads of racist letters.
A Hero to Some, A Nigger to Others
“Dear Hank Aaron, Retire or DIE!!! The Atlanta Braves will be moving around the country and I’ll move with them …”
- Aaron once recalled a hand-scrawled letter of threats that went on to lists dates and cities for Braves games that issued threats on his life. He often recalled that he slept at the ball park on several occasions, because for him that was a safe place. The U.S. Postal Service honored Aaron for receiving nearly 1 million pieces of mail, more than any non-politician.
- On April 8, 1974, against the Los Angeles Dodgers in front of 53,775 spectators and a national TV audience, Aaron broke the Babe’s record with home run No. 715. The threat of violence against Aaron required his family to join the millions of people watching him hit the record setting home run from home. Aaron’s son, Lary, who was 16 at the time, said he was terrified when his father made the historic hit. He hit his 733rd and final home run as a Brave on Oct. 2 of that year.
- The Braves traded Aaron to the Milwaukee Brewers prior to the 1975 season and Aaron broke Ruth’s RBI record and hit his final 22 home runs in a Brewer’s uniform, hitting a 755th final home run on July 20, 1976. After a 23-year career, Aaron retired in 1976 as Major League Baseball’s all-time leader in home runs. He remains the all-time leader in career RBIs, extra base hits and total bases. Aaron also ranks in the top five in career hits, runs at bat and games played. The Brewer’s retired Aaron’s No. 44 in 1976. The Braves retired his uniform in 1977.
- Aaron was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982 and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2002.
Civil Rights Icon
- After reaching the Major Leagues, Aaron quietly allied himself with the American civil rights movement. He campaigned for then-Sen. John F. Kennedy (D-Mass.) in Milwaukee in 1960 and was credited with helping the Democratic candidate win the Wisconsin presidential primary.
- In 1966, at the height of the civil rights movement, after the Braves moved to Atlanta, Aaron grew concerned.
“I have lived in the South, and I don’t want to live there again,” he said. “We can go anywhere in Milwaukee. I don’t know what would happen in Atlanta.”
- Aaron soon became as recognizable in Atlanta as civil rights leader Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
- Muhammad Ali once said that he idolized Aaron “more than myself.” He became known to the world as “Hammerin’ Hank.
No official funeral or memorial arrangements have been set at this time.
This is a breaking news story. This story will be updated.
New York Mets Fire GM for Reportedly Sending Female Journalist Sexually Explicit Texts
A general manager for the New York Mets is fired after sending a female reporter sexually explicit texts.
What We Know:
- Jared Porter was fired Tuesday after ESPN reported he sent unsolicited and sexually explicit texts. Porter was the general manager of the New York Mets. He sent a female reporter the texts back in 2016. The network obtained the messages in 2017, but it was never reported because of the woman’s fear of backlash.
- Steve Cohen, the owner of the Mets, went to Twitter to discuss Porter’s termination. The caption from Cohen reads, “There should be zero tolerance for this type of behavior.” Mets President Sandy Alderson commented on the situation, “Jared has acknowledged to me his serious error in judgment, has taken responsibility for his conduct, has expressed remorse, and has previously apologized for his actions.”
- According to NBC News, more than sixty texts sent by Porter were ignored by the reporter. Porter also sent a lewd photo. The Mets were unaware of the texts until the report. The woman remains unidentified but told ESPN that she met Porter while she was a Major League Baseball reporter and he was the Cub’s director of scouting. She said the messages began casual, but Porter later started to compliment her looks, invite her out and ask about her unresponsiveness.
- After Porter sent the nude photo, the woman responded to Porter, chastizing his behavior, saying the messages were “extremely inappropriate, very offensive, and getting out of line.” Porter then apologized to the woman, and the messages stopped. Initially, Porter denied sending any images at all. He later went back on that statement but claimed the photos were not of himself but instead stock images.
- Prior to his time with the Mets, Porter was employed by the Chicago Cubs in 2016, the time when the texts were sent. The Cubs have stated they were unaware of the incident.
The woman has since left the journalism career entirely but says the incident is not her sole reason for leaving. She has also returned to her home country, stating, “It’s a male-dominated industry. But it was a tipping point for me”.
Jets Make History, Hiring Robert Saleh to Become NFL’s First Muslim Head Coach
The New York Jets have announced their new head coach and the first Muslim coach in NFL history.
What We Know:
- The Jets recently fired their previous coach, Adam Gase, after going 9-23 last season. Now, San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh has been hired by the Jets making him the first Muslim head coach in the league’s history.
- Before signing a 5-year contract with the Jets, the 41-year-old Dearborn, Michigan native spent the last four seasons in Santa Clara, California. Here, Saleh transformed the 49ers‘ poor defense into one of football’s most elite units.
- Prior to working with the 49ers, Saleh was a defensive assistant for the Jaguars, Seahawks, and Texans. He has had over 16 years of NFL coaching experience and was reportedly eyed by teams in Philadelphia, Detroit, Atlanta, Jacksonville, and the Los Angeles Chargers before making a deal with the Jets.
- Saleh’s history-making deal was acknowledged by a Muslim civil rights advocacy group known as the Council on American-Islamic Relations or CAIR.
CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper said, “We welcome this development as another sign of the increasing inclusion and recognition of American Muslims in our diverse society.”
We’re interested to see if Saleh can continue to make history with the Jets.
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