LeBron James Calls Out ‘Corrupt’ NCAA

LeBron James did not play college basketball, and clearly he did not need to. He was an impact player in the NBA straight out of high school. The No. 1 pick in the 2003 draft, LeBron went on to win the 2004 Rookie of the Year award.

LeBron was one of the lucky top prospects who was able to declare for the NBA Draft straight from high school. Since 2006, draftees have been required to be at least 19 years of age and be one year removed from high school in order to be declared eligible.

The “prep-to-pro era,” which began with Kevin Garnett, ran from 1995-2005. A number of standout NBA players made the leap straight from high school—LBJ, Big Ticket, Kobe Bryant, Tracy McGrady, and Dwight Howard, among others.

As long as top prospects are forced to play college ball, shady practices will be associated with the recruiting process. A number of programs, including Louisville and Arizona, have recently come under fire for going to crazy and illegal lengths to lure top recruits. In light of those stories, the broken NCAA system is a talking point around the hoops world.


Tuesday, LeBron expressed his point of view—that the NCAA, which capitalizes off the players, is corrupt.

Many believe the “one and done” system has harmed both college hoops and the pros, and it looks like the progressively minded NBA commissioner Adam Silver might change that rule in the near future.

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Jalen Rose Calls Paul Pierce ‘Petty’ Over Celtics Remarks, Pierce Fires Back With ’81’ Joke

The NBA is taking #PettyWarz to a whole new level in 2018.

First, a little in-game wrassling between the Rockets and Clippers spilled into a locker room confrontation that had Twitter aflame with things like secret tunnels, diversions, Austin Rivers being arrogant, and LAPD takeovers. The following night, Orlando guard Arron Afflalo threw a reckless haymaker at Minnesota's Nemanja Bjelica. Then, after Michael Carter-Williams and Tim Frazier became the NBA's eighth and ninth ejections over the past three days, Wizards coach Scott Brooks dialed it up yet another notch by inviting Dwight Howard back onto the court to shoot the technical free throws, only to see Howard make both, do the Sam Cassell big balls dance, and blow a kiss to the Washington coach.


But perhaps the juiciest story of all revolves around Paul Pierce and Isaiah Thomas. Most of you know the details by now: Celtics announce celebration for Thomas during Feb. 11 Cleveland-Boston matchup; Pierce gets angry, wants own night for his jersey retirement; former Celtics sit down beside campfire, gush about how amazing they were; media/Twitter (ahem, Shannon Sharpe) remind Pierce he's no Kobe; Thomas posts veiled “hating hours” Instagram message. It could be the plot for season 2 of Big Little Lies.

Yesterday on ESPN's NBA Countdown, Jalen Rose summed up the whole thing when he called Pierce “petty” to his face, and the resulting back and forth had Pierce looking like he was ready to risk his job. (Thomas, for his part, liked the clip on social media.)

I mean, is Jalen Rose not correct? The Celtics honoring Isaiah during the game does not take away from Pierce's moment afterward. The Celtics honoring Isaiah for not just his play on the court but for what he inspired in their fans and the Boston community does not take away from Pierce's moment afterward.

Of course, being that petty is the theme of the month, Pierce wouldn't let it go, coming back at Rose with yet another “81” joke. The former Toronto Raptors guard will probably never live these down, but at least he can take it and keep it moving.

And the critics say the NBA isn't entertaining anymore because the Cavs and Warriors always win. 

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Clippers-Rockets Beef; NBA Midseason Awards | Out of Bounds

The beef was cooking in last night’s LA Clippers-Houston Rockets game and the #OutofBounds crew chops it up. Then, with NBA All-Star 2018 right around the corner, the crew switches things up and gives out midseason NBA awards, plus special OOB honors like Best Signature Shoes, Biggest Blowhard Coach, Worst NBA Starter, and Best Hot Mess. Did your faves make the list? Plus, Gil shares an hilarious story about Stan Van Gundy and Dwight Howard snapping on each other in Orlando.

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Does The Heisman Trophy Matter Anymore? Is Ben Simmons As Good as Lebron? | Out Of Bounds

On today’s episode of #OutofBounds, the team determines whether or not Mayfield deserves the Heisman trophy and if it even holds the same significance that it once did. They take their picks on who will win MVP this season in the NFL. Gilbert Arenas shared stories of what it was like on the court with Lebron James and Dwight Howard as rookies, and we got a taste of what it’s like to be a Bills fan. Fortunately none of us are. 

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#LifeAtComplex: An Attempt to Get a Free Pair of Adidas Yeezy Wave Runner 700

#LifeAtComplex is a daily vlog that offers an inside look at Complex. Watch as Tony Mui takes viewers behind-the-scenes in the office—you never know who or what will pop up.

On today’s episode, Tony shows off his Kith x Nike Air Pippen 1 and Maggie celebrates her birthday. Later, Celtics forward Jaylen Brown stops by the office to talk about his drive-by dunk challenge that went viral and also takes the time to give Donald Glover props for his big night at the Emmys. Beija also puts in a request for a free pair of Yeezy Wave Runner 700 since Jaylen is an Adidas guy.

Subscribe to Complex on YouTube to check out more episodes of #LifeAtComplex, and follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

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Joe Budden and DJ Akademiks Discuss Kodak Black’s Remix of Cardi B’s “Bodak Yellow” on ‘Everyday Struggle’

On today's Everyday Struggle, Joe Budden, DJ Akademiks, and Nadeska break down the day of news, which includes the official “Bodak Yellow” remix with Kodak Black, Budden responding to Lil Uzi Vert, and much more. In addition, the crew talk about Partynextdoor's supposed shots at Kehlani on his new song and Kevin Durant's recent Twitter fail

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Dwight Howard Is Mad About His Playing Time and Role in Atlanta

Dwight Howard grumbling about the team he's playing on has quickly become a fixture of the NBA offseason. His constant search for validation led to messy breakups with the Magic, Lakers, and Rockets, and he appears to be on the same track with the Atlanta Hawks.

After Howard and the Hawks got bounced from the postseason by the Washington Wizards, Atlanta held their annual exit interviews for players and staffers. Howard—whose role fluctuated wildly from game to game in the playoffs—told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution how unhappy he was with arrangement:

It was very difficult. I want to play. I want to be out on the floor. I want to make a difference. I want to make an impact, and I can’t do that on the bench. 

It hurts. I’m sure if you wrote the best stories in the world and nobody read your stories and they told you to stop writing and you saw somebody else’s story that wasn’t as good as yours, I’m pretty sure you’d be pissed, too. That’s how it is in basketball.

Being unhappy about playing time is one thing, but the implication of the quote is that Howard is putting down the players getting minutes he feels belong to him. Though he may be justified in feeling he's a better player than Mike Muscala—the beneficiary of more minutes when Howard hits the bench—Howard still hasn't figured out some things are better kept in-house. A player of his stature is well aware how far and how fast his words travel.

Even Howard's return to his hometown of Atlanta, which should have been a feel-good story, was initially haunted by ghosts of his basketball past. He admitted in the offseason that his relationship with Rockets star James Harden wasn't as good as it should have been, and by observing the success of both parties since his departure, you can connect the dots of blame pretty easily. Houston just ripped off 55 wins behind Harden's MVP-caliber season—a 14-game improvement over their performance last year—while the Hawks lost five more games than the previous season and exited the playoffs in the first round.

Howard has been playing the “It's not me, it's you” game for the better part of five seasons now. When he still had the top-end athleticism that made him a Defensive Player of the Year, teams were happy to tolerate it. But he might wear out his welcome in his hometown rather quickly if he continues down this path. 

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Dwight Howard Says He Doesn’t Have Any Beef With Kobe Bryant or James Harden

When Dwight Howard decided to sign a free agent deal with the Rockets back in the summer of 2013, most NBA fans thought he would be able to do some special things playing alongside James Harden. With Harden and Howard in the mix, Houston looked like a true title contender. But Howard and Harden never fully clicked, and Howard left Houston last summer to sign with the Hawks.

In a recent feature story on Harden, Sports Illustrated writer Lee Jenkins discussed just how bad things got between Howard and Harden last season. According to his reporting, the two stars sat on opposite sides of the locker room and essentially divided the entire team as they forced other players to decide which side they wanted to sit on. Their alleged beef never turned physical, but it did make things difficult for Harden, who described 2016 as the worst year of his life.

But were things really as bad as they seemed between Howard and Harden? Howard took part in a lengthy Q&A interview with The Undefeated this week, and he spoke about his fractured relationship with Harden. He claimed things weren’t that bad between them and that it was never personal on his end.

“The issues they say happened between me and James were small communication issues,” he said. “Instead of us coming together and talking about it, we allowed other people to do talking. The lines of communication were twisted. But like I’ve always said, I’ve never had a personal issue with James. Why? Everything he is doing now, everything he is coming into, I’ve been that player. The awards, all that, the accolades. I wasn’t there to try to compete against him. I wanted to win with him.”

Harden obviously wasn’t the first teammate Howard reportedly had a problem with. Prior to joining the Rockets, Howard spent a season with the Lakers. And during his time in Los Angeles, he didn’t always see eye-to-eye with Kobe Bryant, which led to some friction between the two. But according to Howard, things weren’t as bad as people made them seem in that case, either. He told The Undefeated he hasn’t spoken with Kobe recently, but he said he doesn’t have any beef with him today.

“There was never an issue with me and him,” he said. “The same thing I told him is the same thing I told Steve Nash and every one of those guys. I want to learn from them. I want to take as much knowledge as I can from y’all. One day when y’all out the league and I’m still playing, I can give that knowledge to somebody else and I can keep this thing going. I’ve never had an issue with [Bryant].”

Elsewhere in the interview, Howard also talked about his final days in Orlando with the Magic, his decision to play in Atlanta, and his ongoing pursuit of a championship. You can go here to check it out. Do you believe him when he says he doesn’t have any lingering animosity for Harden or Kobe?

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