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Shaq Calls Out Ben Simmons for Playing Poorly During Semifinals

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Basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal scorned Ben Simmons for not stepping up for the 76ers during the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

What We Know:

  • Simmons, one of the main players of the Philadelphia 76ers, faced plenty of criticism after the team lost to the Atlanta Hawks. Throughout Sunday’s game, he scored five points in 35 minutes. Alongside this, he was 2-for-4 from the field and 1-for-2 from the foul line. During the fourth quarter, he scored one point from the foul line but did not hold a field-goal attempt. However, his help did not get the team very far, as they lost the game 103-96.
  • Additionally, Simmons ended the semifinals with an average of 9.9 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 8.6 assists per game. The player knows he did not try his best and acknowledged this during a press conference.

“I ain’t shoot well from the line this series… Offensively, I wasn’t there. I didn’t do enough for my teammates. … There’s a lot of things that I need to work on,” Simmons told reporters via ESPN.

  • Simmons also told the press he would take the offseason to relax and work on possible mental obstacles.
  • Despite Simmons taking accountability for his poor playing, O’Neal did not hold back. Prior to their loss, O’Neal spoke to Simmons and told him to “man up” on Saturday night. After Sunday’s loss, he did not accept any excuses from Simmons.
  • He believes Simmons needed to take the necessary steps to help the team earlier in the series. For example, O’Neal implied Simmons took the games for granted by not clearing his mind prior to the games.

“It don’t take seven games for you to know that you’re not playing right, get right. He didn’t get double-teamed, just be aggressive, that’s all I want. I don’t want to hear all that, stop that,” O’Neal said.

  • The TNT analyst also made a shocking comment when discussing Simmons’ playing. He declared if he played on Simmons’ team, he would “have knocked his a** out.”

  • Most of O’Neal’s disappointment comes from the fact that Simmons was the National Basketball Association (NBA)’s no. 1 draft pick in 2016. Someone who the NBA expected to bring home championships should not play so poorly, especially in a crucial period for the team.

The 76ers last appeared in the NBA Finals and Eastern Conference Finals in 2001. Many believed the team purposely lost their games to acquire Simmons’ talents. As of right now, it is uncertain if the 76ers will keep Simmons on the team after his lack of participation in the semifinals.

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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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Maria Taylor Signs with NBC after Parting Ways with ESPN

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ESPN announced Maria Taylor would begin work with NBC Sports by covering the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. The news comes after she and ESPN could not reach an agreement about her contract extension.

What We Know:

  • In light of her departure, ESPN chairman Jimmy Pitaro celebrated Taylor’s “ability and work ethic;” additionally, he mentioned he was proud of the work she did for the company. Pitaro stated the network remains determined to build a “deep and skilled talent roster” to reflect the athletes and topics they report and fans they serve.
  • In regards to leaving her former position, Taylor expressed gratitude for her time at ESPN; she thanked Pitaro and others for encouraging and motivating her, and declared she would “make them proud.”
  • Taylor began at ESPN by working for the SEC Network covering college sports and hosting College GameDay. Her skills and screen presence eventually landed her as the host of NBA Countdown. With NBC, she will work as a host and contributor at Football Night in America and the Super Bowl. Taylor will also co-host Prime Plus with Mike Trico.
  • When asked about her new position, Taylor said she was excited to start. She said she always dreamed of hosting events like the Olympics and the Super Bowl. Taylor added that the opportunity would be impossible without “standing on the shoulders of all those” who came before her.
  • Taylor’s future at ESPN entered limbo earlier this month after racist comments made by colleague Rachel Nichols. In released audio footage, Nichols is heard on a phone call complaining to Lebron James’ adviser Adam Mendelsohn about Taylor hosting the NBA Finals. She implied that the network only chose Taylor to improve diversity. After footage surfaced, Nichols quickly apologized but was pulled from sideline coverage.

Taylor covered Game 6 of the 2021 NBA Finals as her last assignment with ESPN.

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Olympic Opening Ceremony Director Fired for 1998 Holocaust Joke

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Organizing committee president Seiko Hashimoto announced the news a day before the Olympics’ July 23 Opening Ceremony.

What We Know:

  • The organizing committee dismissed director Kentaro Kobayashi due to a joke about the Holocaust made during a 1998 comedy act. Throughout his performance, Kobayashi includes the use of the phrase “Let’s play Holocaust.”
  • Hashimoto stated that when the committee learned Kobayashi used a phrase mocking a historical tragedy, they were extremely disappointed. He also apologized for “causing such a development” just a day before the Olympics began; Hashimoto proceeded to express remorse for troubling the involved parties and people across Japan. After the news was released, footage of Kobayashi’s skit appeared on the internet.

  • Many expressed disdain at the sketch. Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean and global social action director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, said nobody holds the right to mock victims of Nazi genocide. Cooper further mentioned how Nazis gassed disabled Germans, stating that any association of Kobayashi with the Tokyo Olympics would mock the Paralympics and insults the memory of 6 million Jews.
  • The 2021 Tokyo Olympics has been at the center of many scandals. These include banning Namibian female athletes for testosterone levels, removing Sha’Carri Richardson for marijuana, and more. According to Hashimoto, the postponed Games were supposed to send a positive message; however, the many incidents will give the Tokyo event a negative image.
  • In addition, Japan faces global criticism for proceeding with the Olympics against medical experts’ advice. Recently, Japan declared a state of emergency due to a spike in COVID-19 cases. However, ESPN reports the country partially feels pressure from the International Olympic Committee (IOC); if the Games were not held, the IOC would lose an estimated  $3 billion to $4 billion in television rights. Alongside this, government audits suggest this year’s Olympics cost more than $15.4 billion, with all but $6.7 billion being public money.

The Tokyo Olympics will continue until August 8.

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