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New Orleans Pelicans Hire Stan Van Gundy As Head Coach

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Stan Van Gundy has agreed to a multiyear deal with the New Orleans Pelicans to become the franchise’s next head coach.

What We Know:

  • Van Gundy announced the news Wednesday on Twitter. “I’m excited to join a talented New Orleans Pelicans team. It will be an honor to work with our players and to work for Mrs. Benson and David Griffin, Trajan Langdon, their staff and the great people of New Orleans. I can’t wait to talk to our players and get the process started.”
  • New Orleans reportedly loved Van Gundy’s reputation as a teacher and a defensively focused coach for their young core. Van Gundy has coached for 11 seasons and his teams have finished top ten in defensive rating for eight of those seasons.
  • Van Gundy’s most recent coaching stop in Detroit may have left a slight stain on his reputation. His Pistons teams struggled to rise above mediocrity, but his coaching was not entirely to blame. The Detroit roster has never been exceptional and he juggled multiple roles in the organization as head coach and team president. He helped the Pistons reach the playoffs in 2016 after several years in the lottery.
  • Van Gundy has also coached for the Miami Heat and the Orlando Magic, where he had great success. He made multiple Conference Finals trips with both Florida teams and led Orlando to the 2009 NBA Finals where they lost to the LA Lakers. Van Gundy has a winning record in the regular season and in the playoffs.
  • The Pelicans struggled in the restart, but have an exciting roster for the future. The team features last year’s No. 1 overall pick Zion Williamson and Most Improved Player Award winner Brandon Ingram, as well as Lonzo Ball and Jaxson Hayes. The team also has a veteran presence with All-Defensive guard Jrue Holiday and sharpshooter JJ Redick, the latter of whom played for Van Gundy with the Magic.

The Pelicans dismissed former head coach Alvin Gentry at the end of the 2019-2020 season. Stan Van Gundy has spent the last couple of seasons as a commentator for the NBA on TNT.

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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.

Entertainment

Lewis Hamilton Crowned GQ’s Game Changer of The Year

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Formula One racing star Lewis Hamilton has been named GQ’s Game Changer of the YearThe sporting hero will be honored at the annual GQ Men of The Year Awards ceremony, which is going virtual for the first time this year (20) amid the Covid-19 pandemic. 

What We Know:

  • As of Dec 1st, the seven-time F1 champion has tested positive for COVID-19 and will miss the Sakhir Grand Prix. The Mercedes team released a statement on Tuesday, November 24th that Hamilton was tested three times last week and returned a negative result each time. The last time he was tested was on Sunday, November 29, at the Bahrain International Circuit. 
  • In a recent interview with GQ, Hamilton spoke about his experiences with racism when he was younger. “I started experiencing racism when I was five, and people looked upon it so lightly when someone would throw out these words, the bullying, and the beatings and the intimidation.”
  • The 35-year-old sportsman has vowed to continue to stand up for others, and big causes after racing stars were effectively banned from wearing T-shirts with political statements after he decided to raise awareness of the Breanna Taylor case during the Tuscan Grand Prix.
  • In the January/February 2021 issue of GQ, he added: “If I believe it is important enough, I will. I will do it again…Every weekend that I arrive, we have the spotlight on us, and every weekend there is an opportunity to raise awareness. We don’t live in a time when everything is OK. 

The GQ Men of the Year Awards 2020 took place on November 26th at 8 pm GMT.

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Sports

Kemba Walker To Miss Start Of Season With Knee Injury

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The Boston Celtics will be without their All-Star point guard for the first weeks of the 2020-2021 season.

What We Know:

  • Walker consulted with several specialists in October about a lingering knee injury. It was decided that he would take a stem cell injection to the knee and be put on a 12-week strengthening program that would take him into January.
  • Per the Celtics’ injury report, Walker will be out at least through the first week of January and he will be re-evaluated at that time. The team expects him to be back to on-court activities soon and will provide further updates in January.
  • Walker has been dealing with his left knee since the 2020 All-Star Weekend in February. He only played four games between the All-Star break and the season postponement. Walker was still feeling pain and discomfort in the knee when the season restarted in July.
  • Walker started off the restart on a minutes restriction and the restriction was lifted during the playoffs. Walker averaged a respectable 19.6 points and 5 assists per game in the bubble, but he still didn’t look quite right on the court.
  • Head coach Brad Stevens said at the time that Walker was still not 100 percent and it would be some time before he was “full speed”. During media availability on Tuesday, Celtics general manager Danny Ainge said the team felt good about Walker’s recovery and strengthening plan, but that they had perhaps brought him back too early after the initial injury.

The Celtics struggled with depth during the 2019-2020 season and it doesn’t help that they lost Gordon Hayward and Enes Kanter this offseason. They’ll miss Walker at the beginning of the season, but the most important thing is having him completely healthy.

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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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