Mike D’Antoni will not return as head coach of the Houston Rockets next season.
What We Know:
- ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski originally reported the news that D’Antoni informed the Rockets that he would not be back. Wojnarowski also tweeted a statement by D’Antoni and his wife Laurel. D’Antoni’s contract expired at the end of the 2020 season and he will now become a coaching free agent.
Mike and Laurel D’Antoni statement to ESPN on departure from Rockets pic.twitter.com/XypyT8bgC0
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) September 13, 2020
- D’Antoni’s future with Houston has been in question for some time now. Since Tilman Fertitta bought the Rockets in 2017, no agreement has been reached on a new contract for D’Antoni. D’Antoni reportedly turned down multiple extension offers before the 2019-2020 season.
- There are several head coach positions available in the NBA, including the Bulls, Thunder, Pelicans, 76ers, and Pacers. D’Antoni has reportedly drawn heavy interest from the Indiana Pacers and Philadelphia 76ers, both of which have playoff-ready rosters and All-Star talent.
- D’Antoni, 69, became an NBA head coach in 2003. He has been at the helm for the Phoenix Suns, New York Knicks, Los Angeles Lakers, and Houston Rockets. A two-time Coach of the Year winner, D’Antoni is known for popularizing the fast-paced, offense-oriented style of play in the modern NBA.
- D’Anotni went 217-102 in four seasons with Houston. He won the 2017 Coach of the Year Award and led the Rockets to their most successful seasons since the 90s. The farthest the Rockets got during his tenure was the 2018 Western Conference Finals where they lost in Game 7 to the eventual champion Golden State Warriors.
The Houston Rockets’ season ended on Saturday in a crushing Game 5 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers. With another disappointing defeat, the Rockets have lost in the second round of the playoffs three out of the last four seasons.
New England Patriots Coach Bill Belichick Says He Won’t Accept Presidential Medal of Freedom
Head coach of the New England Patriots, Bill Belichick, declined to accept the Presidential Medal of Freedom on Monday following Trump supporters’ violent ambush at the U.S. Capitol.
What We Know:
- In a statement, Belichick announced he would not go through with receiving the award after agreeing to accept it prior to last week’s riots in D.C. Belichick said he was flattered to be offered the medal, the country’s highest civilian honor, but the “tragic events of last week occurred, and the decision has been made not to move forward with the award.”
- Having been a noted supporter of the President’s, Belichick says, “above all, I am an American citizen with great reverence for our nation’s values, freedom, and democracy.” He also mentions to have had “conversations” and “actions” about “social justice, equality and human rights” earlier in the NFL season, which he claims were among the most rewarding in his career.
- “Continuing those efforts while remaining true to the people, team, and country I love outweigh the benefits of any individual award,” he said. The award, established in 1963, is given to people who have “made exceptional contributions to the security or national interests of America, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors,” according to the White House.
- The coach, who claims to stay out of politics, wrote a letter of support to the President in 2015, which Trump then read at a campaign rally in New Hampshire, on the night before the 2016 election. At the time, the candidate claims the letter offered “best wishes for great results” on election day and “the opportunity to make America great again.”
This decision is among the latest of political statements being made by various athletes and sports organizations. On Sunday, The Professional Golfers’ Association of America said that its 2022 championship would not be held at Trump’s golf course in Bedminster, New Jersey.
Chris Webber Developing ‘Fab Five’ Limited TV Series
A Fab Five TV series is in development with Chris Webber involved.
What We Know:
- The Fab Five was the 1991 University of Michigan Men’s basketball team. Often considered one of the best recruiting classes in college basketball history, the team consisted of Chris Webber, Jalen Rose, Juwan Howard, Jimmy King, and Ray Jackson.
- Webber will be working with Russel Redeaux, head of development at Cashmere Originals, to develop the series. The series will be based on Webber’s autobiography By God’s Grace, says the Grio.
- Webber joined the Michigan Wolverines in 1991, eventually becoming NBA Rookie of the Year, a five-time NBA All-Star, and a five-time All-NBA team member. Currently, he works as an NBA analyst for TNT.
- Redeaux told The Hollywood Reporter, “There’s definitely an alignment with our vision at Cashmere Originals to tell multicultural stories of inclusion… with that alignment and me being a guy who grew up in the same era of the Fab Five, it was sort of a dream come true project to bring it into our company fold and work with Chris.”
- Webber did not participate in the 2011 ESPN 30 for 30 documentary on the Fab Five, so this will be the first time his point of view will be shared on TV. During the documentary premiere, Webber was estranged from his former teammates and former best friend, Jalen Rose. The documentary was ESPN’s highest-rated documentary at the time, seen by 2.7 million.
“What I think is different about it is I’ve never spoken about my time with the Fab Five…There’s a lot of behind the scenes that not many people know about, and it’s about so many things. Hopefully, I’ll be able to express those things, whether it’s about Detroit or the work ethic of the city and the factories — all those things that made us.” said Webber
- The team fell short of an NCAA championship in 1993 due to Webber calling a time-out. Webber called a time-out when the team didn’t have one, leading to North Carolina converting two shots on the technical foul. North Carolina won the championship 77-71.
Webber’s perspective in the series is sure to bring new stories. The series has yet to release a premiere date.
Red Sox Hire Bianca Smith for Minor League Team, First Black Woman to Coach in Pro Baseball
Bianca Smith becomes the first Black woman to coach a professional Baseball Team.
What We Know:
- Bianca Smith was announced as the new coach for the Red Sox Monday, becoming the first Black woman to coach in professional baseball. Smith currently works as a hitting coach for Carroll University in Wisconsin says an NBC report.
- Before working at Carroll University, Smith worked at Case Western Reserve University as an athletics compliance assistant. Additionally, Smith interned with the Texas Rangers and worked with the Cincinnati Reds as a baseball operations trainee. Smith earned her J.D. in sports law at Case Western Reserve and a master’s in business administration.
- In an MLB Network interview, Smith talked about the opportunity means for other women. “I think it’s a great opportunity also to just kind of inspire other women that are interested in this game.”
- In the interview, Smith said learning about athletes’ bodies has changed how she will train. She will focus on training drills appropriate for each individual and their body. Smith also commented that she would work with players based on their statistics and metrics.
Smith is among a group of women entering professional baseball. She will begin coaching in a few after finishing coaching with Carroll University.
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