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Miami Heat President Pat Riley Fined $25K for Tampering Over Comments About Los Angeles Lakers Star LeBron James

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Miami Heat president Pat Riley told Dan Le Batard he would happily consider Lebron James rejoining the team if James wanted to. That comment cost him $25,000.

What We Know:

  • The National Basketball Association (NBA) placed a heavy fine on Riley because his words went against its anti-tampering rule. The NBA orders that its teams, players, or coaches cannot approach or lure rival athletes bound to a contract. Remarks such as Riley’s, which stated interest in acquiring a player’s talents or contacting agents about a possible trade, count as tampering.
  • Once the NBA learns about a possible tampering event, they begin investigating. The league will then determine monetary punishments based on the action’s severity. Payments can go up to a million dollars.
  • Riley accidentally expressed his desire for James to return during Le Batard’s 24-hour podcast marathon on June 4th. The host asked Riley would he ever welcome Dwayne Wade back on the team; the Miami Heat president believed the question was about James. In turn, Riley declared he would “leave a key under the doormat” if James told him he would come back. He proceeded to say that “the key is rusted now.” He also acknowledged his proclamation may result in a fine.

“LeBron, look, he’s one of the greatest of all time, and for four years down here, if we want to go back and remember what those four years were like… It was the best time for the Heat. So I wish him nothing but the best, and if he ever wanted to come back, I’ll put a new shiny key under the mat,” said Riley.

  • After finishing his statement, Le Batard corrected Riley and informed him the question was about Wade. Riley responded he did not hear that portion and affirmed Wade can always join the Heat again.

  • James’ former teammates Wade and Chris Bosh shared their thoughts on Riley’s blunder in an appearance on The Jump. Bosh stated he thought Riley wanted the NBA to consider his comments as nonchalant; however, he also believes that there may be some truth in his words. In addition, Bosh thinks Riley might just be considering ways to win and improve the roster and ended up thinking about their “last run to the Finals.” Since Wade now works as part of the ownership of the Utah Jazz and can’t talk on the matters, he just said it’s “Pat Riley doing Pat Riley things.”
  • James still has not responded to Riley’s bombshell.

The NBA legend played for the Miami Heat from 2010 until 2014. During that time, the team appeared in the NBA finals for four consecutive years. Alongside this, James helped the Heat win two straight championships in 2012 and 2013 with the help of Wade and Bosh.

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ESPN Cancels Rachel Nichols Show After Racist Comments About Maria Taylor

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In addition to cancelling The Jump, ESPN also removed Rachel Nichols from NBA coverage.

What We Know:

  • The network confirmed Nichols’ departure on Thursday. ESPN’s Senior Vice President of Production David Roberts declared in a statement that Nichols and ESPN mutually agreed that ending her time with the channel was the best approach for NBA coverage. Roberts went on to call Nichols “an excellent reporter, host, and journalist;” he also thanked her for her contributions to NBA content.
  • Nichols confirmed her time with the sports network ended on Twitter. On social media, she thanked The Jump’s production crew for assisting her for the past five years and declared there was “more to come.”

  • Nichols’ deadline with ESPN comes after The New York Times released a recording of her bashing coworker Maria Taylor. In a conversation with Lebron James’ adviser Adam Mendelsohn and agent Rich Paul, Nichols implied ESPN only selected Taylor to host  NBA Countdown during the NBA finals because of her skin color. Nichols stated the channel would not take her “thing” away because officials felt pressure about their “crappy longtime record on diversity.”
  • After her comments became public, ESPN removed Nichols from her NBA Finals assignment. She also apologized for her statements on The Jump. Nichols affirmed she respected her colleagues and apologized for disappointing anyone she hurt, especially Taylor.
  • Despite the apologies, Taylor quickly left the channel. After she and ESPN could not reach an agreement on her salary, Taylor proceeded to host the 2021 Tokyo Olympics with NBC Sports. Taylor will also cover Football Night in America, the Super Bowl, and Prime Plus with Mike Trico.

ESPN will continue producing episodes of The Jump without Nichols for the next few weeks. After its run, ESPN will replace it with a new afternoon NBA show.

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Michael B. Jordan Launches Basketball Showcase for HBCU Athletes

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The “Hoop Dreams Classic,” a one-night event in Newark, New Jersey, will feature the nation’s top Division 1 HBCU men’s and women’s basketball teams.

What We Know:

  • HBCU Gameday reported that Hoop Dreams Classic would include two games featuring the teams with the biggest HBCU basketball rivalries. North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University will play against Howard University, and North Carolina Central University will go against Hampton University.
  • The showcase will also celebrate HBCU culture and tradition through live musical performances, a Battle of the Bands competition, and film festivals. It will also provide educational resources for students to learn more about opportunities for college and career advancement.
  • Actor Michael B. Jordan first announced the basketball showcase in December 2020. The Black Panther actor stated he felt inspired to put on the event following the increased global awareness of the Black Lives Matter movement, especially after the deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, among others. In a statement, Jordan wrote 2020 was a “tipping point” for many, including himself, who is “revving up support” for the Black community. He further said as a Newark native, he feels committed to bring change to the community and will do so with the Hoop Dreams Classic.

“Through our shared love of basketball, I look forward to bringing the communal spirit of HBCUs to the city that helped shape me into the man I am today,” said Jordan.

  • In addition to the event, Jordan amplifies Black voices and stories through his #ChangeHollywood initiative. This movement aims to hold Hollywood accountable for showcasing Black stories and hiring Black creators.

The Hoop Dreams Classic will take place at Newark’s Prudential Center on December 18, 2021. In addition, a percentage of the proceeds will go to organizations working to advance HBCUs in the area.

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Olympics: Simone Biles out of team gymnastics final ‘due to medical issue,’ officials say

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((BREAKING NEWS))

Biles withdrew due to a medical issue, according to a statement from USA Gymnastics.

“She will be assessed daily to determine medical clearance for future competitions,” officials said in the statement.

The four-time Olympic gold medalist competed in Team USA’s first rotation on vault Tuesday, bailing out of her Amanar and only completing a 1.5 twist on a 2.5-twisting Yurchenko, then taking a big stumble backward on the landing.

She scored a 13.766 and was seen walking off the floor with her bag and a trainer.

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