“It is only fair that your own name, image and likeness belong to you, regardless of your definition of amateurism.” – Ed O’Bannon, on winning his lawsuit against the NCAA.
EL BARIO, BRONX – The weekly Sports Bully Pulpit was mentally set early Friday morning. Your Righteous Deacon Blaber wanted to discuss the hire of Becky Hammon by the San Antonio Spurs, the Kevin Love trade, Kevin Durant withdrawing from Team USA and Pep Guardiola‘s tantrum was what was on the menu. Then on Friday, it was officially announced that a Judge ruled against the NCAA in Ed O’Bannon. It was decided that that story must be squeezed in to lead today’s blabberings.
Ed O’Bannon v NCAA: A huge victory was scored as Ed O’Bannon and the rest of the plaintiffs successfully walked out of court as winners. At issue was the fairness and legality of everyone else making money on the backs of college kids-who as amateurs, it was decided-were not entitled to a dime-lest they lose their eligibility to play. The result of this ruling? A couple of things. The judge stated that the NCAA could set a cap on the money paid to athletes, as long as it allows at least $5,000 per athlete per year of competition. So if a kid stayed for 4 years he will have $20,000 when he leaves. And, Ed O’Bannon may have become a folk hero for college athletes forever. Hopefully the money amount will go up but it is a huge step in the right direction.
Becky Hammon: Greg Popovich fired coach Brian Hill after a brutal, injury plagued 1997 season before Hill ever got the chance to coach the newly drafted Tim Duncan. I didn’t like Pop one bit. Obviously Pop has proved to be as good a coach on the court (5 Championships) as they get, and off the court, a coach with vision, and a sense of humor. A couple of years back, Pop gave Tim Duncan a Coaches DNP, with “old” as the explanation on the score sheet. Or when he hacked Shaquille O’Neal in the first 30 seconds of a game after Shaq complained about the “hack-a-Shaq” in an interview.
But now Pop-using his currency as the most successful active head coach in team sports has made a big call-potentially a huge call-hiring Becky Hammon as the first full-time female assistant coach in NBA history. Pop is using his success and unique status for possible transformation. Hammond is a two-time Olympian (played for Russia, which bizarrely upset some yokels, since USA said no thanks). She played for the New York Liberty from 1999-2006 and then the San Antonio Stars from 2007-2014. All the while playing for the WNBA, she played in Europe and Russia during off-seasons. Unlike most WNBA teams who can only point to loose affiliation with their NBA “big brother” affiliate, Hammon’s Stars have enjoyed a prominent place within the Spurs organization as the WNBA has been built. Hammon was not hired to grab headlines and sell apparel. San Antonio is not a flash team. They are the defending champs of the NBA. They don’t need gratuitous press screaming “Look at Us!” Hammon leveraged her time in San Antonio, interacted with the Spurs, learned from Pop and showed her talent and that is why she got the job. I hope this move opens more doors for more talented female players. I also have a soft sport for coaches that are underappreciated and under-respected because they are giants in the women’s game, like Bill Laimbeer, Gino Auriemma, the ailing Pat Summit are just a few. Hopefully it is not too late for Sheryl Miller either. (Reggie never could take her one on one.)
Kevin Love Trade: It is finally official. Well kinda. Thanks to strange NBA rules, we have to wait until the end of August but the Cleveland Cavs found the Love they were looking for. Kevin Love, the all star power forward from the Minnesota T-Wolves. New Cavs GM LeBron James is said to be thrilled with his roster construction so far.
Kevin Durant’s Tired: After seeing Paul George break his leg in a scrimmage game, Kevin Durant quit Team USA Basketball, as Team USA prepare to play in the Basketball World Cup. Durant claimed he was fatigued from the long season and blah, blah, blah!! His agent was probably tired from worrying about his golden goose getting all “Paul George’d.”
That is it for now, hope you enjoyed the article and hope to hear from you below.Come back tomorrow for the one and only Cheesy Bruin.
P.s… If you want to read more of my ramblings as a Rugby Guy, you can find them on RugbyWrapUp.com and our Facebook Rugby Wrap Up Page and follow us on Twitter @RugbyWrapUp and @JunoirBlaber, respectively