Tag: Basketball

Enes Kanter Plans to be a WWE Superstar One Day

Enes Kanter has established himself as one of the most productive big men in the NBA. During the 2018 season, he was 6th in the league in rebounds per game (11.0), 4th in offensive rebounds per game (3.8), and 3rd in rebounds per 48 minutes (20.5).

In the midst of his 8th season in the league, Kanter has gotten off to an auspicious start, averaging 22.5 points and 10.5 rebounds per game. The evolution of his game over the past five years has made him a premier player in the league who will be around for years to come, but he is already planning on a career change once his time as a professional basketball player is up.

So what’s next from the Turkish center? Professional wrestling.

Kanter is an avid fan of the WWE and has made several connections in the industry including wrestlers and executives.

“I’m actually talking to the people over there now. Vince McMahon, he knows me,” said Kanter. “I had dinner with [Paul Heyman] two, three days ago. I asked him how long he’s gonna do this and he said ‘as long as Brock [Lesnar] goes, I go, and then I’m with you.’ I’m like yes! Seriously. I’m really serious about it.”

Kanter’s fandom of the WWE, which he describes as his”most intense obsession,” can be traced back to 2010 when he introduced himself as The Undertaker during Kentucky’s Big Blue Madness. “It was funny as hell, and the fans flipped out,” said Kentucky head coach John Calipari. “There were people falling from the upper deck to the lower deck when he came out.”

Years later, he was actually able to meet The Undertaker, which made him so nervous that his knees began to shake.

As one of the top trash talkers in the game, coupled with his fiery personality, Enes Kanter is an ideal candidate for a career in the ring. Don’t be surprised if you here the name “The UnderKanter” in the future.

 

Featured Image via Wikimedia Commons

Knicks Fans Can Cross Kyrie Irving Off Their Wish List

The Knicks have made it known that they want to make a big splash in 2019 free agency as the team is expected to have plenty of cap room. There are several high profile stars who they planned on pursuing, a list that had Kyrie Irving at the top.

This dream appears to be dead as Irving has announced his intention to re-sign with the Boston Celtics this offseason.

Irving is a member of one of the most storied franchises in NBA history, and bringing a championship to Boston would solidify his elite status. Former Celtics standout Paul Pierce agrees with this assertion, saying, “I think that’s a legacy decision and for him to see the potential of that team moving forward in Boston,” Pierce said. “Winning a championship in Boston is different than winning one in Cleveland. He will be immortalized if he wins in Boston.”

Kyrie is a 5-time All-Star and a former All-NBA selection and would have undoubtedly helped the Knicks make another trip to the playoffs. However, this clearly is out of the question after declaring his allegiance to the C’s.

So what’s next for the Knicks?

With Kyrie out of the picture, the Knicks will have all hands on deck to go after Kevin Durant and Jimmy Butler. Although several skeptics around the NBA believe this is only a pipedream, the fact of the matter is that New York has a legitimate shot at both of these premier players.

Durant has already won two championships with Golden State and may decide to leave the team to improve his image. The Knicks are a possible destination simply because of the allure the franchise offers. Madison Square Garden is one of the most electrifying arenas in the league and is in the center of the greatest city in the world. This is the same reason that LeBron went to the Lakers. Playing in a big-time city where basketball is at the heart of the city’s culture is a great experience, to say the least. Also, KD’s longtime business partner/agent Rich Kleiman is based on New York and is big Knicks fan, along with Durant’s father.

As for Jimmy Butler, he has expressed a degree of interest in coming to New York. A few weeks ago, Butler formally requested a trade from the Minnesota Timberwolves and gave the organization a list of his three preferred destinations, one being the Knicks. He would add the defensive pedigree that the team has been lacking for several years and would fit in nicely with Fizdale’s offensive system.

Although losing out on Kyrie is a big blow, there are plenty of other viable options to revitalize the Mecca of basketball.

Could Joakim Noah be Headed to the Timberwolves?

Tom Thibodeau, the head coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves, has displayed his affinity for the players on his old Chicago team. In addition to having Derrick Rose, Jimmy Butler, and Taj Gibson on his roster, the Timberwolves also recently signed former Bull Luol Deng. Accordingly, people around the league are calling them the TimberBulls. The only piece left of the puzzle is Joakim Noah, and the Wolves reportedly have some interest in acquiring him as well.

The Timberwolves are full of young talent that is in need of some direction by seasoned veterans, and Joakim Noah fits that bill. The two-time All-Star has a high basketball IQ and could undoubtedly impart some wisdom onto players like Karl Anthony Towns. Noah is also a former Defensive Player of the Year, and anyone who knows anything about basketball knows that being a good defensive player is more mental toughness than physical. It’s about being in the right spots, knowing when to go over and under screens, when to switch, and always communicating with your teammates. The Wolves have struggled to play good defense in the past and adding Noah could help them improve in that department even if it isn’t through Noah’s contributions on the floor.

The Knicks are ready to move on from Joakim after their fallout last year, and it seems that the T-Wolves are the only team that have interest in the center who is clearly past his prime. If he does wind up in Minnesota, the TimberBulls roster will be complete.

 

Featured Image via Flickr/Jeff Villanueva

Kevin Knox Inks Deal with Puma

According to Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports, Kevin Knox, the New York Knicks lottery selection in the 2018 NBA Draft, has agreed to sign a multiyear contract with Puma Basketball. It has yet to be reported how much his deal is worth.

Puma has signed a plethora of first rounders from his draft class, and continue to improve their brand recognition by adding Knox to the mix. Before this deal, they had already signed the top two picks in the draft (DeAndre Ayton and Marvin Bagley III) as well as two mid-round selections in Michael Porter Jr. and Zhaire Smith. Knox brings the total up to five of the draft’s top 16 picks. Puma also struck deals with Terry Rozier and Rudy Gay.

Puma had made it known they were after Knox by posting on twitter to advertise their interest in the young small forward from Kentucky.

The Summer League standout may have dropped a hint to show his fans that his intention to join Puma when he wore a shirt repping the company during an interview on First Take with Stephen A. Smith.

Puma Basketball is making a splash after almost 20 years of silence. Their last sponsored player before this year was Vince Carter in 1998. However, the company is attempting to revitalize their brand by hiring Jay-Z as the creative director.

Knox averaged 23.3 points per game in Summer League Action, and if he continues to progress as expected, this could be a solid addition to the Puma Family.

 

Featured Image via Flickr/FuFu Wolf

Kenneth Faried Arrested for Weed

According to Anthony Puccio, Brooklyn Nets power forward Kenneth Faried has been charged with a misdemeanor of fourth-degree unlawful possession of marijuana in the Hamptons. Faried’s also had cash seized by the police and was later released on $500 bail, per the police report.

Here is a look at the former NBA All-Rookie First Team honoree’s mugshot:

It is reported that Southhampton Police seized more than two ounces of weed at a sobriety checkpoint at 1:30 in the morning while the athlete was in his car with some friends, who only received citations and were later released. A representative from the Police Department stated that a “strong odor of marijuana was emanating from the inside of the vehicle,” which led to the arrest.

If convicted, Faried could face up to a year in prison.

Faried spent the first 7 years of his NBA career with the Denver Nuggets before being traded for Isaiah Whitehead in a deal with the Nets, who released a statement regarding their newly acquired forward’s situation:

“We are aware of the situation involving Kenneth Faried and are in the process of gathering more information at this time.”

Putting aside this drug arrest, Faried has been a model citizen in the community. In 2013, he was the recipient of the NBA Community Assist Award as well as the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award for his “outstanding service and dedication to the community.”

Here is the laundry list of services he provided to the community that led to this recognition:

He was associated with Athlete Ally, an organization that works to encourage acceptance of all people in sports, regardless of sexual preference. He also purchased season tickets for children from Special Olympics Colorado, Denver Public Schools, and the Denver Rescue Mission. Furthermore, Faried joined the giveSPORTS Equipment Drive to provide some light in the lives of those affected by the Colorado wildfires and the shooting at the Aurora movie theater. He hosted a Team fit clinic at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital for both the patients and their families to bring some joy to their lives. Lastly, the “Manimal” donated 44 pairs of sneakers to a local middle school basketball team for their upcoming season, which he delivered personally.

It is clear that Faried has done a lot of good during his professional career, and that he never forgot to give back to those less fortunate than himself. He should not be judged by one thing he did wrong, but by the countless others that he did right.

 

Featured Image via Google Images/Wikimedia Commons

Damian Lillard Could Be Eyeing Trade to Knicks

The Portland Trail Blazers have struggled to make noise in the postseason for a long time. Since the arrival of Damian Lillard, who has propelled them to the playoffs in each of his last five seasons, they have yet to make it past the Western Conference Semifinals, and that likely isn’t going to change.

In the current climate of NBA basketball, stars are flocking to already established organizations to increase their chances of winning a championship, and Portland isn’t on the list of desired destinations. In this day in age, no NBA superstar is going to bypass the opportunity to win a ring to join Rip City in a conference that is already stacked with talent. With that being said, it is more than likely that the Blazers will take action to begin the rebuilding process in hopes of being a relevant franchise one day. To accommodate this, it seems as though Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard is the most likely to be dealt as he is by far the most valuable asset that this team has to offer.

The only question is: Where could he be traded to?

According to ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, “Damian Lillard, even though he loves Portland, wouldn’t mind being in L.A. but even more so wouldn’t mind being in New York.”

Lillard has often been overlooked during his stellar NBA career. He was snubbed of two NBA All-Star Games in 2016 and 2017, seasons in which he averaged 25.1 and 27 points per game, respectively. The fact that he prefers to be dealt to LA or New York tells us that he is looking to break that vicious cycle. These cities are the two biggest markets that the NBA has to offer and playing for either team would bring much more attention to his game than Portland ever did.

Dame is a top talent in this league, and its time he is recognized by the entire NBA community as such. Lillard is a former Rookie of the Year, a three-time NBA All-Star, and has been named to three All-NBA teams including being selected to the All-NBA First Team last season. Just to put into perspective how much of an honor this is, the only other players to receive such recognition in 2018 were LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Anthony Davis, and James Harden.

Bringing Lillard to New York would come at a hefty price, likely costing the organization several young players and draft picks, but acquiring Dame could be an opportunity that the Knicks front office needs to seize to take over the Eastern Conference.

 

Featured Image via Google Images/Wikimedia Commons

Noah Vonleh Vows to Bring Rebounding Prowess to the Knicks

Noah Vonleh signed with the Knicks on July 24th, adding some much-needed height to New York’s roster. With star power forward Kristaps Porzingis expected to miss extended time with an ACL injury and the impending release of Joakim Noah, Vonleh offers a short-term solution to this gap in the depth chart.

So what exactly does the former top-ten pick in the 2014 NBA Draft add to this Knicks team? The answer is rebounding ability.

“Rebounding has always been the biggest thing for me. Since I was a young kid, I was always able to rebound. I got a good eye for what angle it’s coming off and just going after it. That’s my skill that got me in the NBA. That’s what I get myself going with,” said Vonleh. “I think I can definitely bring a lot. They lost guys like Kyle O’Quinn, and Porzingis is hurt right now. Enes Kanter is a great rebounder, but I think I can help with that and bring energy.’’

This assertion is substantiated by his stats. Last season, he averaged a career-high 5.8 boards (17.1 rebounds per 48 minutes), including 6.9 rebounds a game as a member of the Bulls in just 19 minutes of action. Vonleh was particularly effective on the defensive glass, posting a career-high 30.2 DRB%.

During his lone season at Indiana, he was a menace on the boards as well, averaging 9 rebounds per game as a freshman before forgoing his eligibility to enter the NBA.

His numbers have improved with each passing season, and Knicks fans have every reason to believe that this trend will continue.

He has been working hard this offseason to improve upon his skills including his participation in training sessions with NBA All-Star Draymond Green, who knows a thing or two about pulling down missed shots off the glass.

Hopefully, a change of scenery is exactly what Vonleh needs to unlock his true potential.

 

Featured Image via Flickr/Bryan Horowitz