Becky Hammon: From the WNBA to the NBA

The San Antonio Spurs today hired Becky Hammon as an assistant coach, the first woman to get a full-time contract as a coach in the NBA.

That’s right, NBA, not WNBA.

So, some frat boys will ask, what does a girl know about basketball?

When the NBA launched, I had season tickets to the New York Liberty for a few years and was in Madison Square Garden when Hammon was a rookie. She was a crowd favorite, and has been popular in all 16 years of her WNBA career.

It is shocking that she wasn’t selected for the U.S. basketball team that competed in the Olympics. Mainly because a couple of years ago, she was named at one of the top-15 all time WNBA greats.

But this is her last season as a player. Again, the aging process hits me, because I can only think of Becky as a 21-year-old kid sinking three-pointers all over Madison Square Garden.

Of course, the question is, can she coach? Can she teach guys who are a foot taller than she is?

That’s pretty good.

WNBA All-Star Game: What? They had it already?

I’m not sure what happened, but I completely missed the WNBA All-Star Game this year, and I was really looking forward to it because Shoni Schimmel, the former Louisville Cardinals superstar, was voted in as a starting guard representing the Atlanta Dream.

And now that I realize what happened, I’m really upset I missed seeing this:

I was at Shoni’s last game as a Louisville Cardinal, when she almost pulled out a win against Maryland in the NCAA tournament’s Elite Eight. Had certain juniors on the team at least made their average (Sarah, Bria, Jude:  I’m looking at you), the Cards would have gone to the Final Four.

The worst part is, I can’t even find a rerun of the All-Star game, because Watch  ESPN doesn’t have it on its repeat rotation.

Racist Donald Sterling’s life is beautiful

Back when the Donald Sterling “I don’t want my mistress to be seen with black guys” scandal broke, I wrote that the guy may be a scumbag, but he’s never going to be punished. Here’s what I said:

So current estimates are that the Clippers will sell for more than $1 billion. And that money goes to …

Donald Sterling.

He owns the team. He gets the paycheck.

I’m sure he’s in agony right now because the NBA won’t let him be involved in a sport that features a race of people he doesn’t want to associate with.

Well, I’m here to admit I was wrong. Because, as you’ve all seen, this happened:

Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer will buy the Los Angeles Clippers for $2 billion, and Donald Sterling reportedly won’t stop the sale with a lawsuit against the NBA.

Bobby Samini, one of Sterling’s lawyers, told NBC4 that the soon-to-be former owner wouldn’t pursue legal action against the league as he had previously threatened, instead accepting the sale (and money that comes along with it).

Yesterday, Sterling said that he was ready to move on from the struggle:

“I feel fabulous, I feel very good. Everything is just the way it should be, really. It may have worked out differently, but it’s good. It’s all good,” Sterling said.

Breathe a sigh of relief, everyone. Sterling feels good.

See, my mistake was I underestimated how much he was going to pocket … by ONE BILLION DOLLARS!!!

Yes, Donald Sterling can move on from the scorn the world has heaped upon him … with an added $2 billion in his pocket.

Tell me, what’s the point of having contempt for a person when even in his worst moment life is beautiful?

The ESPN test

I have a relative who used to work for ESPN in a pretty high profile position. Let’s just say there were times I’d be away from home and I’d glance up at a television screen and, “Wow. My relative is on ‘Sportscenter.'”

In all our conversations about getting a job and working at ESPN, the subject of an entry test never came up.

But today, I see on Deadspin that ESPN tests its new employees. If you’re thinking about working there some day, here’s what you have to answer in 45 minutes. Think fast!

A racist NBA team owner hits the jackpot

BmZJSRQIYAADSwCYou know about Donald Sterling, right? The Los Angeles Clippers owner who chastised his mistress … (Can we call her a mistress? I mean, she wasn’t his wife. He’s ancient and she’s definitely old enough to be his great granddaughter. And every major media outlet describes her as “his girlfriend.”) … sorry, I got distracted. Who chastised his mistress … who’s half black and half hispanic … for taking pictures with black men and bringing black people to basketball games.

Because if you don’t want to be seen with black people, the first place you want to be at is a basketball game.

The tape, of course, is a tour de force on how to claim you’re not racist as you say the most racist things you can think of. Then when your mistress (girlfriend?) says you’re being racist, call her a racist.

Wow!

So the NBA today did this:

Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling was banned for life from the NBA, Commissioner Adam Silver announced Tuesday, because of an audio recording in which he made racially charged comments to his girlfriend.

Silver said he would urge the Board of Governors to force the sale of the team and fined Sterling $2.5 million, the maximum Silver can levy under the NBA constitution and bylaws. The money, the league announced, will be donated to anti-discrimination and tolerance organizations that will be jointly selected by the NBA and the Players Association.

Now let’s consider the real impact of this ruling.

Donald Sterling has to sell his team. He bought the team in 1981 for $12.5 million. The team is currently in the NBA playoffs.

Now, a bad NBA team was sold just a few days ago (via ESPN.com).

Longtime Milwaukee Bucks owner Herb Kohl announced Wednesday that he has reached an agreement to sell the team to hedge-fund billionaires Wesley Edens and Marc Lasry for about $550 million. The deal is subject to approval by the NBA and its board of governors.

In January, Forbes valued the Bucks at $405 million, last among the league’s 30 franchises.

Kohl, a longtime U.S. senator who bought the team for $18 million in 1985, made keeping it in Milwaukee a condition of the sale. It’s also believed Kohl, while relinquishing majority control, will retain a significant percentage of the team.

Los Angeles isn’t Milwaukee. It’s a major media market. And the Bucks aren’t in the playoffs. The Clippers are.

So current estimates are that the Clippers will sell for more than $1 billion. And that money goes to …

Donald Sterling.

He owns the team. He gets the paycheck.

I’m sure he’s in agony right now because the NBA won’t let him be involved in a sport that features a race of people he doesn’t want to associate with.

I think the Northwestern and Princeton professors in the news recently will agree that there is merit to living in an oligarchy. If you’re an oligarch.

Montrezl Harrell is returning to Louisville

The power forward decided Monday to return for his junior year, when he’ll serve as captain of the basketball team with senior Wayne Blackshire.

Last week, when Cardinal fans believed Harrell would enter the NBA draft, where he was predicted to be a late first-round choice, the expectations were that the year would be ugly. Now that Harrell is going to be wearing No. 24 again, people are thinking Final Four, and looking forward to a lot of this:

That’s 98 dunks in one year. That’s a record for one year. With 20 more, he’ll pass the Louisville career record of 156. Folks think he’ll get 100 next year.

This year’s three-point star: Shoni Schimmel

The University of Louisville’s basketball season is over. But here’s a last second highlight.

Way to go Shoni. Luke Hancock also participated in this. He got knocked out in the first round of the men’s competition.

Interesting though how Louisville’s basketball season ended. In both matches, the teams’ best players — Russ Smith and Shoni Schimmel — needed to make a three-pointer late in the game to give the team a chance at sending it into overtime. And in both games, they missed.

But neither of them should be blamed for the losses. Had their teammates made any contribution to the effort (I’m looking at you Stephan Van Trese and Bria Smith with a big fat 0 in the box score), I would be holed up this weekend in my apartment watching more games. Now, I’ll just look at reruns from last season. (Aaaaahhhhh. Baylor!  Ooooooohhhh. Michigan!)