Two of the Pittsburgh Steelers' best players, wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster and running back Le'Veon Bell, are going all-in on recruiting LeBron James. That's right—JuJu and Le'Veon want King James to ditch the hardwood and come over to the football field to play with the Steelers next season.
JuJu, who's a great Twitter follow, announced his “official campaign” to recruit James Tuesday afternoon. He claimed James could become the greatest athlete—not basketball player, but athlete—of all-time if he were to win a Super Bowl.
Announcing my official campaign to recruit @KingJames to the Pittsburgh Steelers for the 2018 season. LeBron has done everything in the NBA. He can be the best athlete EVER if he makes the move to the NFL and wins a Super Bowl with Steeler Nation… #LeBronToPittsburghpic.twitter.com/5VLcjIPpSO
LeBron, who was an all-state wide receiver in high school, is committed to basketball, though. He was asked about the Steelers' recruiting pitch at practice Wednesday. LeBron laughed when he heard the question and said the situation was “pretty funny.”
LeBron shuts down the Steelers attempts to recruit him: “Nah, I'm fine with my sport I got. I'm a tank top and shorts guy.” pic.twitter.com/GUNhqic7Xl
With Gilbert Arenas out for the day, superstar Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell joins #OutofBounds to talk big sports stories — and he is one of them! Just yesterday, Pittsburgh placed a franchise tag on Le’Veon that will pay him $14.5 million in 2018. While not scoffing at the paper, he wants a long-term deal and explains why it’s so important, what it’s like dealing with contract negotiation drama, and who told him he deserves a blank check in “Secure the Bag.” Staying in the NFL, the OOB team tackles owners who’ve been walking back hard-line stances on anthem protests. Are they actually respectful of their players or just covering their asses? Le’Veon shares the inside story of how the anthem drama played out with the Steelers. Next, the guys respond to Kevin Love’s essay, in which he revealed he’s been getting therapy after suffering panic attacks in games, and discuss the differences in how mental health is perceived in the NBA and the NFL. Le’Veon opens up to let fans, who often don’t see athletes as people, know what it’s really like playing pro ball. Finally, after the Clippers signed a jersey patch deal with the female-empowerment dating app Bumble, the crew reacts and decides what company would be the worst sponsor to have on your uniform.
Los Angeles Lakers’ point guard Isaiah Thomas has a simple explanation for the blockbuster February trade that resulted in him getting swapped for Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr.
“It’s a business,” Thomas told ESPN during an interview for the network’s E:60 program. “And the Cavs were, I mean, they were in panic mode. We were losing—a lot. And I think they felt like they needed to make a move, and they, they basically cleared house.”
Thomas and Channing Frye were shipped to the Lakers, while the Cavs acquired Rodney Hood and George Hill in a separate three-way deal with the Utah Jazz and Sacramento Kings. The flurry of trades that saw the Cavs trade six players and a draft pick to bring in four new additions came shortly after the team posted a 6-12 record from Christmas through February 3.
A large portion of the blame fell on Thomas, who only logged 15 games with the Cavs after spending a significant portion of the season rehabbing from a hip injury. As the losses piled up, he reportedly called out Kevin Love, questioned his teammates’ effort, and implied the coaching staff failed to make adjustments. He also found himself on the wrong end of a hilarious meme.
“People don’t put in there that we had eight or nine new players,” Thomas added. “So it was basically a brand new team…I’m in a new system—new team, new coach, new players. And then I’ve been off for seven months. So I got to get—individually, I got to for the most part get my rhythm back, get my timing back.”
Much like Thomas, Cavaliers General Manager Koby Altman has since conceded that the 2017 trade that initially brought Thomas to Cleveland while shipping Kyrie Irving to Boston was a bust.
“Did it fit? Did it work? Probably not,” Altman told Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com shortly after trading Thomas and Frye to Los Angeles. “So with those pieces, we decided to shuffle the deck and get younger and get some youthful talent with energy and enthusiasm.”
Thomas finished fifth in MVP voting after the 2016-2017 season, and many around the league believe he’ll use his time with the rebuilding Lakers as an audition for a larger contract.
“Hopefully I’m here long term, you know, with me being a free agent this summer,” Thomas said. “But if I’m not, these last 25 games I’m going to play my heart out and show the Lakers why I should be here long term.”
Thomas’ full E:60 interview is scheduled to air March 11.
So yeah, no one is looking forward to February more than the Cavaliers right now. But before they make it to next month, it appears as though they’re going to have to endure one more mini-controversy, thanks to something LeBron posted on his Instagram Story on Wednesday morning. As several of LeBron’s IG followers saw, he put up the quote, “When you become lazy it’s disrespectful to those who believe in you,” along with the “100” emoji.
If anyone except LeBron had posted that same quote, it probably wouldn’t have been a big deal at all. But because it was LeBron who did it—he has earned a reputation for being the king of subliminals—this will probably end up being a huge deal between now and the end of the day.
The jury is still out. It might turn out LeBron wasn't talking about any of his teammates. But given the current climate of the Cavaliers' locker room and the timing of LeBron's post—it came just hours after the Cavaliers lost to the Pistons on the road—many people believe LeBron must have been referencing someone he plays with.
Somewhat amazingly, this isn’t even the only controversy LeBron has caused in the last 12 hours. On Tuesday night, he sent out this tweet congratulating James Harden on dropping 60 points (and a triple-double!) during a historic performance against the Magic.
C’mon @JHarden13!!! Now that’s insane G! 60 point Triple Dub. Sheesh!!! 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥
The Cleveland Cavaliers seem to be one wrong move away from a full implosion. They've been through multiple losing skids this season, Kyrie Irving's replacement Isaiah Thomas isn't gelling with the team yet, and for some reason, nobody will leave Kevin Love alone—especially Thomas. Well despite all of the recent turmoil largely centered around the Cavs' new point guard, at least someone within the Cavs organization is fairly fond of I.T.: owner Dan Gilbert.
Following a very publicized team meeting that included Thomas allegedly at the center of an attack on Love, rumors are already swirling that Thomas is on the trading block just a month into his stint on the court for Cleveland. However, that seems unlikely after this latest news. According to Bleacher Report, Thomas has already developed a very good relationship with the owner.
“Thomas has become a favorite of Gilbert, and they often exchange calls and text messages,” says the report. “This isn't necessarily unusual on a team with an owner who is as involved in the basketball side of things as Gilbert is. It also isn't great for locker room chemistry, because the rest of the players know it.”
One guy in Cleveland—the best player in the world, LeBron James—isn't exactly too fond of Gilbert, so Thomas buddying up with him probably has not boded well for locker room chemistry.
Thomas has not been taking the criticism against him sitting down. He apparently even believes the team can turn this all around.
I will NEVER fold. I’m built for this! Make sure y’all have that same temperature when we turn this around and everything start clicking! I see EVERYTHING. It’s a MARATHON not a sprint! 🏁
Clearly, these rifts are not just being fabricated by the media. There is a very real problem in the Cavs locker room right now, and if they don't fix it, they'll likely be sitting out the Finals this year.
At least all the recent issues led to this epic rant by Shannon Sharpe.
Isaiah Thomas has only been a member of the Cavaliers for about six months now. Due to a lingering hip injury, he’s also only been playing for the Cavaliers for a few weeks. But according to a New York Daily News report, that didn’t stop him from calling Kevin Love out during a Cleveland team meeting earlier this week.
On Monday night, an ESPN.com report surfaced indicating several Cavaliers players had targeted Love for exiting Cleveland’s embarrassing loss to the Thunder on Saturday afternoon with an illness. Love responded to the report by essentially confirming it on Tuesday afternoon. He admitted he was one of the main targets during the meeting.
But the Daily News took things a step further by reporting Thomas “led the charge” against Love. It seems to suggest Thomas was causing some level of conflict in the Cavaliers’ locker room even though he literally just got there.
This didn’t sit well with many NBA fans who responded to the report about Thomas calling Love out by accusing him of being everything from a bad teammate to a locker room snitch. They used a screengrab of Thomas from a recent Book of Isaiah video on The Players’ Tribune to show their disgust with Thomas’ alleged actions and turned him into a meme.
The funny part about this is that, if Thomas did, in fact, criticize Love during the Cavaliers’ team meeting, Love may not have been all that bent out of shape about it. Because for those who might not know, Thomas and Love have actually been friends for quite some time now. They once played on the same AAU team, and in an interview with The Verticalin 2016, Thomas spoke about his friendship with Love and about how he used to routinely stay at Love’s house when they were younger so they could play basketball together.
“Kevin and his dad Stan, they would come pick me up and I would stay the weekend at his house so I could play on that AAU team,” Thomas said. “It’s something that me and Kevin, we’ll talk about. It’s crazy that we’re both in the NBA and he is at the level he’s at, and I’m doing pretty well. To be able to say that I used to go to his house every other weekend and stay the night and his parents used to cook dinner and all that type of thing, it’s crazy to see that.”
When you take all that into consideration, Thomas going after Love in the Cavaliers’ locker room seems a whole lot less egregious. It won’t stop some NBA fans from continuing to turn Thomas into a meme, but in the grand scheme of things, Cavaliers fans would probably prefer to hear that Thomas went after Love as opposed to one of the other Cleveland players doing it.
Cavs point guard Kyrie Irving has reportedly been asking for a trade in recent weeks, at least in part, to emerge from the shadow of James. All this comes sandwiched between James and Kyrie appearing to take their own passive-aggressive shots at each other via social media. All this has set the stage for the latest iteration of Warriors versus Cavaliers trolling.
Enter one Wardell Stephen Curry. Irving and Curry ended up at the same wedding, where Curry was captured on video mocking James. Curry managed a rather dead-on impression of James’ facial expressions and mannerisms from the widely circulated video of James enjoying Tee Grizzley’s “First Day Out” after a workout.
The surprising element of the clip comes when Kyrie is seen laughing along with Curry and seemingly egging him on.
Less than a week ago, despite a relatively slow start to their offseason, the Cavaliers were still favored to make a fourth straight trip to the NBA Finals next season. They hadn’t been able to add a major piece to their roster like some Cleveland fans hoped they would, but they still had LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love on their team—and that alone would likely be enough to get them back to the Finals at the conclusion of the 2017-18 NBA season.
But that all changed last Friday afternoon when, seemingly out of nowhere, an explosive report emerged about how Irving wanted to be traded. Although Irving didn’t speak publicly about his desire to be dealt, the report indicated that he was tired of being stuck in LeBron’s shadow and that he was unhappy with the way things were going for the Cavaliers this offseason. It led to a lot of speculation about where he could potentially be traded and how it could shake up the entire league.
As of now, Irving is still a member of the Cavaliers, and the thought is that he will likely remain a member of the Cavaliers for the foreseeable future. But if you buy into the reports that ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith has put out over the course of the last few days, it might only be a matter of time before Cleveland is forced to deal Irving due to his fractured relationship with LeBron.
On Saturday, Stephen A. made an appearance on SportsCenter and said that, according to his sources, LeBron and his camp were responsible for the report about Irving wanting to be traded getting leaked out to the media. He reported that Irving met with the Cavaliers a couple weeks ago about wanting to be traded and that the Cavaliers kept it under wraps after speaking with him. But once LeBron found out about the meeting, Stephen A. reported he was “put off by it” and decided to have his camp tell reporters about it. He also reported Irving wasn’t happy with LeBron for doing it.
On Monday, Stephen A. returned to his ESPN Radio show after taking most of the month of July off and added another wrinkle to the dramatic Kyrie/LeBron situation. While talking calls from his listeners, Stephen A. revealed that “sources” in LeBron’s camp recently told him that LeBron was so put off by the situation with Irving that, if they were in the same room together anytime soon, it would likely end with a fight. Stephen A. reported the sources said LeBron would be “tempted to beat” Irving's “ass.”
“I’ve had sources in LeBron James’ camp literally tell me, and I’m quoting…if Kyrie Irving was in front of LeBron James right now, LeBron James would be tempted, quote, to beat his ass, end quote,” Stephen A. said.
Stephen A. then suggested that LeBron is upset not because Irving reportedly wants to be traded but because LeBron’s name has been mentioned in connection to his trade request.
“LeBron is upset that Kyrie has made him a subject to be broached with regard to Kyrie’s desire to move out,” Stephen A. said.
You can listen to Stephen A. talk about all of this below:
Audio of @stephenasmith claiming his 'sources' have told him that Lebron would “Beat Kyrie's ass”
Again, how did we get here? Less than a week ago, as far as most people knew, Kyrie and LeBron were on the same page and committed to making another title run next June. And now? Well, it sounds like they can’t even commit to being in the same room. It’s going to be interesting to see where all of this goes next and how Kyrie and LeBron coexist if the Cavaliers decide to keep both of them next season.
As last night's contest got increasingly chippy, the referees called more and more fouls, and even doled out seven technical fouls, as well as one flagrant foul on Kevin Love. After calling out the refs for losing control of the game, Mary retweeted someone who said Game 4 was “absolutely rigged for money.”
I've lost all respect sorry this is absolutely rigged for money… Or ratings im not sure which. I won't be silent . Just saw it live sry.
An interesting claim for Mary to co-sign considering Steph Curry's wife Ayesha took that same stance last year. While Draymond's mom may believe that the refs were determined to do all they could make the series go back to Golden State, the Warriors were the ones who held the slight edge in free attempts, 36-31. The refs also made a last-minute correction after Green was slapped with what was believed to be a second technical foul.
Either way, Mary isn't too upset about the Cavaliers coming away with the Game 4 win.
CLEVELAND — It started off with a crazy 49-point first quarter from the Cavs, who finished with an even crazier 86 points at halftime. That was topped by the craziest third quarter the NBA Finals has ever seen when a series worth of soap opera like drama was squeezed into 12 minutes.
Game 4 of the NBA Finals was wild, ridiculous, and absurd. We saw Cleveland go bonkers on offense in the first half, the refs call 51 fouls, the seemingly random rescinding of a technical on Draymond Green, and some extracurricular activities from superstars and role players alike that will be dissected for the next two days. When it was all said and done, the Cavs were 137-116 winners and extended the series at least one more game with a physical effort we hadn’t seen through the series' first three contests.
“We took it to them first and that was very telling for the rest of the game,” Kevin Love said.
So here we are again. The Warriors are up 3-1 and headed back to the West Coast. And while we can draw as many parallels as we want to last year’s historic NBA Finals, the Cavs extending the series only feels like we’re delaying the inevitable this time around.
But before we get to that, Cleveland should be commended for preventing the Warriors from becoming the only team in NBA history to go 16-0 in the postseason. Their chance to do that was pretty much over early Friday as the Cavs blitzed Golden State for an NBA Finals record 49 points in the first quarter and an NBA Playoffs record 86 points after two. And they kept shooting lights out the rest of the way. Cleveland finished shooting 52.9 percent from the field and made an NBA Finals record 24 3-pointers. Through the first three games of the series, Cleveland had only made 31 threes.
Quicken Loans Arena was rocking as the Cavs treated their fans to a rollicking performance led by Kyrie Irving’s 40 points. LeBron James recorded his 9th NBA Finals triple-double, surpassing Magic Johnson for the all-time mark, going for 31, 11, and 10 while Love added 23 and J.R, Smith contributed 15.
“We played a desperate team at home and they came out and handed it to us. Simple as that.”
It was a feel good night for the Cavs and their fans, for sure. The crowd was hyped from the start and the Cavs, who were ripe to be blown out following Game 3’s devastating loss, fed off their energy. Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said there was no special pregame speech. He liked his squad’s attitude during the morning’s shootaround. “Guys were upbeat. No hanging heads,” he said. Maybe the Warriors were too caught up in chasing history?
“I don’t think there was any thoughts or concerns about history,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “We played a desperate team at home and they came out and handed it to us. Simple as that.”
This one will be remembered for the truly bizarre third quarter. We had LeBron’s self-pass off the backboard for a dunk that will go down as one of the Finals’ most memorable plays. Later on, the King and Kevin Durant were jawing at each other and drew duel techs. “We weren't coming to blows, we were just talking,” Durant said. A little over a minute after that, Green was tossed for earning a second technical before he wasn’t. The refs ended up giving it to Steve Kerr instead. Finally, we saw Groingate v. 2017 when it looked like Zaza Pachulia took a swipe at Iman Shumpert’s sensitive area during a scrum for a loose ball.
NBA conspiracy theory junkies will have a field day dissecting that and all the fouls called by the refs in Cleveland's favor, especially in the first quarter. With the Finals enjoying some of their highest ratings in years, we all know the league really wants it to extend as long as possible and early on the zebras seemingly did their part. The Cavs went to the free throw line 22 times in the first 12 minutes. Somewhere in the bowels of Quicken Loans Arena, or back in New York—wherever he was—it was like commissioner Adam Silver was pulling all the right strings to at least extend the Finals to five games.
But does this really change anything? Has momentum swung back in the Cavs favor? The Cavs deserve credit for not rolling over and letting the Warriors celebrate a title on their floor. They were gritty, gutty, and grimy, playing physical for the first time all series and roughing up the Warriors. But let’s be real here: the Warriors were their own worst enemy in Game 4. Featuring a ton of isolation and practically none of their signature run and gun offense or precision ball movement, the second half saw the Warriors brick a ton threes and settle for low percentage long twos. Golden State finished shooting 28.2 percent from beyond the arc, well below their 39.6 percent average this postseason. Yes, the Cavs are the second best team in the league and getting one of the Warriors shouldn’t come as a surprise. But the Dubs were due for a dud.
“It was one of those nights where we didn’t have anything clicking,” Steph Curry said
The “Cavs in 7’ chant that broke near the end of the game was cute, an ode to the tweet JR Smith claims he didn’t send out following Game 3. But the chances the Cavs faithful see their team play again in person are slim to none. The Warriors were garbage in Game 4, a hot mess on offense, and now they’re headed home where they have lost just once in their last 16 games. They’ve been the superior team three out of four games. They were the superior team during the regular season and during their run to the Finals. They have a potential championship clinching Game 5 Monday in Oracle Arena where they trounced Cleveland in the first two games of the series and once back in January. Draymond won't be suspended for Game 5 like last year. And most importantly they still have more firepower and more superstars than the Cavs, starting with the biggest difference maker, KD.