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Shaq, Dwyane Wade Bet Finals MVP Trophies on Lakers-Heat Series

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Dwyane Wade and Shaquille O’Neal made a friendly bet ahead of Game 1 of the NBA Finals, each wagering one of their Finals MVP trophies.

What We Know:

  • The two legends talked about the Finals on NBA TV and made the bet for their Finals MVP trophies. Shaq is riding with the Lakers and Wade is sticking with the Heat. Dwayne Wade is arguably the best player in Miami Heat history and won Finals MVP with the team in 2006. Shaq spent his prime years with the Lakers winning three Finals MVP’s from 2000 to 2002.
  • Although it’s easy to see why Wade and Shaq are so loyal to their teams, they both have history with the other team. Shaq of course spent three years playing with Wade in Miami and was a part of their 2006 championship team. For Wade, the Lakers are led by his former teammate and best friend, LeBron James.
  • Based on Game 1, it looks like Shaq will be adding another trophy to his case. The Lakers entered the series as heavy favorites, but I don’t think anyone was ready for the annihilation that took place.
  • The Heat started out great and got out to a 23-10 lead early in the first quarter. However, the Lakers got hot from three and ended the quarter on a 21-5 run. From that point on, the game was pretty much over. The Lakers shot 11-17 from three during the first half, which is surprising because shooting is their main weakness.
  • Lakers coach Frank Vogel made the adjustment early to move Anthony Davis to center and the Heat had no answer. The only word to describe Davis last night was “devastating.” The Lakers outscored the Heat by 35 points in the minutes Davis was playing center. The Lakers were up by 30 at one point and won the game 116-98. Davis scored 34 points and LeBron ended with a near triple-double of 25 points, 13 rebounds, and 9 assists.
  • The Heat will have a chance to bounce back, but they sustained some unfortunate injuries. Jimmy Butler rolled his left ankle twice, Bam Adebayo left the game with a shoulder strain, and Goran Dragic suffered a left foot injury. Butler stayed in the game, but Dragic’s injury turned out to be a plantar tear. Adebayo and Dragic are doubtful for Game 2 and Dragic could be done for the series. Dragic has been the Heat’s leading scorer during these playoffs and his absence could lead to a quick ending for this series.

Wade and Shaq were among the virtual fans for Game 1. The fan wall was full of NBA legends like Dirk Nowitzki, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and many others. Fans watching from home were delighted to see one virtual fan in particular: President Barack Obama.

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Sagar is a Digital Intern at UnmutedCo. He graduated from Northwestern University with a bachelor's degree in Trumpet Performance and Economics. Sagar writes for Black News Alerts and the BNA Daily Podcast. He also produces the BossFM Morning Show.

Coronavirus

NFL Fines Saints And Patriots For Covid-19 Violations

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The New England Patriots and New Orleans Saints have been ordered to pay major fines for Covid-19 protocol violations.

What We Know:

  • The NFL fined the Saints $500,000 after the team posted a video on social media showing unmasked players celebrating their Week 9 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In addition to the fine, the NFL is also taking away a seventh-round draft pick for the violation.
  • The steep fine and loss of draft pick stemmed from the Saints having multiple Covid-19 violations and warnings. The team was fined $350,000 back in September after head coach Sean Payton was seen without a face mask during a game. Payton tested positive for coronavirus in March. Payton responded to the fine by saying “It’s something we’re just going to have to remind ourselves to do.”
  • The Patriots were also fined $350,000 for violations related to the positive tests of several of their players. Patriots QB Cam Newton tested positive for coronavirus in early October. Although he did not play in their October 4 game against the Kansas City Chiefs, 20 teammates and staff members who had been in contact with him flew out for the game. Just after the game, CB Stephon Gilmore also tested positive.
  • The NFL is also investigating the Baltimore Ravens and Denver Broncos for Covid-19 violations. The two were supposed to play on Thanksgiving Day, but the game was postponed after 19 members from the Ravens tested positive, including QB Lamar Jackson.
  • Broncos QB Jeff Driskel also tested positive for coronavirus before Thanksgiving and the team apparently had a meeting with all of their quarterbacks without masks just after Driskel contracted the virus. The other players in the meeting allegedly took off their tracking devices which are meant to help with contact tracing.
  • The whole debacle led to the Broncos entering their Sunday night game against the Saints without a quarterback. They had to play wide receiver Kendall Hinton at QB to avoid a forfeit and lost 31-3. Broncos head coach Vic Fangio was also fined earlier this season for not wearing a face mask.

Dr. Allen Sills, chief medical officer for the NFL, expects the situation to get harder because of how rapidly the virus is spreading across the country.

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Business

Under Armour Launches Curry Brand

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Under Armour is launching an offshoot brand for their biggest star athlete: Stephen Curry.

What We Know:

  • Under Armour announced the launch of Curry Brand on Monday. Steph Curry and Under Armour have a longstanding relationship and he is their most visible and popular athlete.
  • The new line will feature athletic apparel for a number of sports, mainly basketball and golf. Curry Brand’s first basketball sneakers will be available starting December 11. Curry has said that playing multiple sports growing up was a big part of his development.

“I always played other sports, got exposed to a lot of different skill sets and people, and that was big in my development. I feel like whatever a kid is interested in, we want to be able to present an opportunity to kind of live that out. We are going to start with basketball, and we want to make sure we have the product, programming and the arenas they would be able to go to and participate and hopefully scale out and brand out from there.” – Steph Curry

  • Under Armour hopes that Curry Brand will help them reach younger consumers like their competitor Nike. According to Piper Sandler’s biannual survey, Nike is far and away the favorite apparel brand for teens whereas Under Armour is on the “no longer worn” list.
  • Curry Brand will act similar to Nike’s relationship with the Jordan Brand. Michael Jordan was the face of the NBA and Nike for a long time and Jordan Brand has become one of the most iconic brands of all time. Under Armour is hoping that Curry’s status as one of the best and most popular players in the NBA will help the brand grow.
  • Curry has played his entire career with the Golden State Warriors and is largely recognized as the greatest shooter of all time and one of the best players ever. He is a two-time league-MVP and three-time NBA Champion. He will also be the highest-paid player in the NBA this season, slated to earn just over $43 million for 2020-2021.

The Curry Brand will also partner with the Oakland Unified School District and Positive Coaching Alliance to improve youth access to sports, particularly in lower-income communities.

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Sports

NBA Moves Kobe Bryant’s Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony to May 2021

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The coronavirus pandemic has delayed yet another monumental event. The NBA has announced the late Kobe Bryant’s introduction to The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame will not be taking place this year.

What We Know:

  • Originally, the ceremony was set to be held earlier this year in Springfield, Massachusetts. Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the NBA announced on Saturday that they had set the date to celebrate its new Hall of Fame inductees on May 13th through the 15th of 2021.
  • Kobe Bryant, the Los Angeles Lakers star who passed in a tragic accident in January, will be inducted next year as part of the class of 2020. The 18-time NBA Allstar is set to be inducted along with players Kevin Garnett, Tim Duncan, WNBA star Tamika Catchings, coaches Kim Mulkey, Rudy Tomjanovich, Barbara Stevens, and Eddie Sutton.
  • Bryant leaves behind a phenomenal athletic record, including playing for the 2008’s Gold Medal Game in Team U.S.A, 5 times NBA Champion, 15-time member of the All-NBA Team, 2 time NBA Finals MVP,  and making over 35 game-winning shots in his career.
  • John L. Doleva, President and CEO of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, said earlier this year, “In 2020, the basketball community has suffered the unimaginable loss of iconic figures Commissioner David Stern and Kobe Bryant, as well as the game itself due to COVID-19. We have also banded together like never before in appreciation of the game and those who have made it the uniting force it is today. Today we thank the Class of 2020 for all they have done for the game of basketball, and we look forward to celebrating them at Enshrinement.”

Fans worldwide will be tuning in to the ceremony to celebrate all of the Black Mamba’s unforgettable achievements.

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