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23 from No. 23: The best quotes from ‘The Last Dance’ –



Michael Jordan might be both the greatest trash talker and fiercest competitor we’ve ever seen. A man who doesn’t care what anybody thinks as he balances ruthlessness, pettiness, confidence and wit when he speaks, he’s also among the best quotes in sports history.

With “The Last Dance” having concluded now, here’s a look at the 23 most interesting quotes No. 23 said in the documentary.

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“I look at him and I say, ‘Depends how bad the [expletive] headache is.’”

Jordan responding to Bulls GM Jerry Krause’s analogy on if he’d be willing to risk taking a pill to cure a headache if one in 10 of the pills in the bottle could kill him.

The point Krause was trying to make is that it wasn’t worth risking the chance Jordan could get hurt returning from injury in his second season.

“Phil put Steve Kerr guarding me. He hauls off and hits me in the chest and I haul off and hit him in the [expletive] eye.”

Jordan infamously got into a fight with Steve Kerr in a practice. A moment that, Jordan said, earned Kerr his respect.

“Oh, I hated him. And that hate carries even to this day.”

Jordan had such a fierce rivalry with Isiah Thomas and the “Bad Boy” Detroit Pistons of the late 1980s that the bitter feelings from those days still persist to even now.

“I felt like Scottie was being selfish.”

Scottie Pippen postponed his off-season surgery to right before the start of the 1997-98 season out of spite for his contract dispute. This would later lead to a trade demand from him, while he was making over $30 million less than Jordan at that time.

“It’s not an equal opportunity offence. That’s [expletive] bullshit.”

The idea of the triangle offence didn’t sit well with Jordan when first heard about it as it was going to be taking the ball out of his hands.

“I wasn’t a Phil Jackson fan when he first came in. He was coming and taking the ball out of my hands.”

Jordan didn’t hold back about his initial feelings about Phil Jackson coming in and replacing Doug Collins as head coach of the Chicago Bulls.

“There were so many times that Tex used to yell at me saying, ‘Move the ball, Move the ball! There is no ‘I’ in team.’ I said, ‘There’s an ‘I’ in win.’”

Assistant coach, and innovator of the triangle offence, Tex Winter trying to get Jordan to play more unselfishly within the new offensive scheme he and Jackson were trying to implement.

“Clyde was a threat, I’m not saying he wasn’t a threat. But being compared to him? I took offence to that.”

Coming into the 1992 NBA Finals against the Portland Trail Blazers, Jordan was heavily compared to Clyde Drexler. While he respected Drexler, Jordan thought he was the clearly superior player and used those comparisons as motivation to beat Drexler and win his second title.

“I knew Jerry Krause loved Dan Majerle. Just because Krause liked him was enough for me. You think he’s a great defensive player? OK, fine. I’m going to show you that he’s not.”

Facing the Phoenix Suns in the 1993 Finals and looking to win his third straight championship, Jordan used his contentious relationship with Krause as fuel to help him go out and prove him wrong.

“I was a little but upset I didn’t get the MVP that year and they gave it to Charles Barkley. OK, you can have that I’m going to get this.”

The 1993 MVP selection of Charles Barkley also proved to add extra lighter fuel underneath Jordan’s competitive fire in the 1993 Finals.

“They had Craig Ehlo on me at the time. Which, in all honesty, was a mistake.”

Jordan on his famous game winner in Game 5 of the Bulls’ first-round playoff series against the Cleveland Cavliers, marking the first time Jordan had advanced past the first round of the post-season. In the documentary, Ron Harper, who played for Cleveland at the time, claims he wanted to take Jordan, but Craig Ehlo got the assignment instead.

“I didn’t win without Scottie Pippen, and that’s why I consider him my best teammate of all time. He helped me so much in the way I approached the game, in the way I played the game. Whenever they speak Michael Jordan, they should speak Scottie Pippen.”

Though he criticized him at times in the documentary, Jordan made known how important Pippen was to his career as well.

“When Scottie was out Dennis was a model citizen to the point it was driving him [expletive] insane. So, when Scottie came back Dennis wanted to take a vacation. I come to practice, Phil calls me in and says Dennis wants to tell you something. When Dennis wants to tell me something, I knew it’s not something that I didn’t [expletive] want to hear.”

Jordan’s thoughts going into the meeting where Phil Jackson details Dennis Rodman’s need for a mid-season vacation in 1998.

“Phil, you let this dude go on vacation we’re not going to see him. You let this dude go to Vegas we’re definitely not going to see him.”

Jordan was rather skeptical about allowing Rodman to leave the team to go to Las Vegas for 48 hours for his mid-season vacation.

“I couldn’t take those shoes off fast enough and when I did my socks were soaked in blood.”

In what he thought would be his final game in Madison Square Garden. Jordan wore his original Air Jordan sneakers that were multiple sizes too small for his feet at that point.

“If I had to do it all over again there is no way I’d want to be considered a role model. It’s like a game that’s stacked against me. There’s no way I can win.”

The pressure to live up to his picture-perfect “Like Mike” persona weighed heavily on Jordan.

“I didn’t contribute to that. That was Horace. He was telling everything that was happening within the group.”

Horace Grant allegedly leaked information about the team to author Sam Smith for his book “The Jordan Rules.”

“I don’t have a gambling problem I have a competitiveness problem.”

Despite the noise in regards to the matter, Jordan emphatically dismissed the assertion he’s addicted to gambling in the documentary.

“My mentality was to go out and win at any cost. If you don’t want to live that regimented mentality, then you don’t need to be alongside of me.”

During his career Jordan held himself to very high standards and, in turn, held his teammates to the same standards.

“Every time I went in the [expletive] game I came out with a new scratch. It became personal with me.”

The physical toil the Indiana Pacers subjected Jordan and the Bulls to in the 1998 Eastern Conference Finals only served to further Jordan to once again reach his third straight Finals.

“Why would I think about missing a shot I haven’t taken?”

Known for his late-game heroics, Jordan revealed some of his mentality in those clutch situations and why, more often than not, it ended in glory for him.

Everybody says I pushed off. [Expletive]. His energy was going that way. I didn’t have to push him that way.”

Jordan addressing his famous “last shot” against Byron Russell and the Utah Jazz in Game 6 of the 1998 NBA Finals.

“It’s maddening because I think we could’ve won seven. I really believe that. We may not have, but man, to not be able to try, that’s something that I just can’t accept. For whatever reason I just can’t accept it.”

Jordan still has bitter feeling about his Bulls team being broken up by management after winning six titles in eight years, believing they could’ve chased at least one more before the end of the millennium.

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Spurs’ Gregg Popovich: U.S. ‘is in trouble and the basic reason is race’ –



Amid the marches and the protests, amid the pain, amid the generational trauma this moment in history has forced communities across the world to openly reckon with, a spotlight has shone bright on the need to listen and learn.

San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich sees that spotlight. He sees that need for learning. And he knows that what must be learnt is not just what is happening in the streets across the United States now, but the history that preceded it. To see one without the other would be to miss the essential full picture.

“Black people have been shouldering this burden for 400 years,” Popovich said Saturday during a #SpursVoices video, a Twitter-based initiative by the team to give a voice and platform to people within their organization to share how racism has impacted them. “The only reason this nation has made the progress that it has is because of the persistence, and patience, and effort of Black people.

“The history of our nation from the very beginning, in many ways, was a lie. And we continue to this day — mostly Black and Brown people — to try to make that lie be truth so that it is no longer a lie.”

In the three-minute video, Popovich does not expand on the specific history he is labeling a lie, though possibilities are not hard to find.

The preamble to the Declaration of Independence, for example, written in 1776, reads “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” The Pledge of Allegiance, in its original form, read: “I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” In 1923, the words “the Flag of the United States of America” were added to the beginning of the pledge.

Longstanding notions of all men being created equal with certain unalienable rights, and the U.S. being one nation indivisible with liberty and justice for all are challenging to reconcile with history.

The United States had 250 years of slavery, 90 years of Jim Crow — laws which mandated racial segregation in all public facilities, starting in the 1870s and 1880s, and sought to disenfranchise and remove political and economic gains made by Blacks during the Reconstruction period — and 60 years of “separate but equal,” a legal doctrine that asserted racial segregation did not necessarily violate the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which guaranteed “equal protection” under the law to all people. None of which even begins to address discriminatory housing policies or explicitly touches on the history of Black people suffering from police brutality.

“It’s almost, in a strange counter-intuitive sort of way, the best teaching moment of this most recent tragedy,” Popovich said. “I think [it was] the look on the officer’s face. For white people to see how nonchalant, how casual, how just everyday-going-about-his-job [he looked]. So much so that he could just put his left hand in his pocket, wriggle his knee around a little bit to teach this person some sort of a lesson, and it was his right and his duty to do it in his mind.”

The abhorent incident Popovich is referencing is, of course, the death of George Floyd.

Richard Deitsch and Donnovan Bennett host a podcast about how COVID-19 is impacting sports around the world. They talk to experts, athletes and personalities, offering a window into the lives of people we normally root for in entirely different ways.

Floyd, a 46-year-old African-American man, died on May 25 in police custody in Minneapolis. The incident, which was captured on video, showed Floyd pinned to the ground with his hands cuffed and Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin – who was identified as the primary officer in the video – with his knee pressed against Floyd’s neck for at least eight minutes.

In the video, Floyd can be heard saying that he couldn’t breathe, and later paramedics are seen lifting an apparently non-responsive Floyd onto a stretcher and into an ambulance.

An independent autopsy has since found that Floyd’s death was caused by asphyxia due to neck and back compression that led to a lack of blood flow to the brain. After the graphic video circulated widely on social media, the four officers involved in the incident were fired and Chauvin was initially charged with third-degree murder. Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison upgraded Chauvin’s charge to second-degree murder on Wednesday, and charged the three other officers on the scene with aiding and abetting.

“I don’t know,” Popovich said, visibly hurt by the recollection of the video. “I think I’m just embarrassed as a white person to know that that can happen, to actually watch a lynching. We’ve all seen books. And you look in the books and you see Black people hanging on trees. And you are amazed that we just saw it again. I never thought I’d see that with my own eyes in real time.”

The dismay and outrage Popovich felt has been shared by many, as protests continue across the U.S., sparked by the death of Floyd, denouncing systemic racism and acts of police brutality. The protests have not been for Floyd exclusively, though. Popovich is aware of that, too.

“What’s it gonna take,” he wonders in the video. “Two more Black people with knees in their necks?”

Though she did not die due to a knee in her neck, protests have also featured calls for justice for Breonna Taylor, an African-American woman who died on March 13 after Louisville police officers — executing a search warrant — used a battering ram to enter her apartment and, after a brief confrontation, fired several shots, striking her at least eight times. At this time, no charges have been filed against the officers.

“It’s like the gun [control] arguments,” Popovich said when grappling with how American can build a better, safer future. “How many more Sandy Hooks do we need to have? It’s easy for people to let things go because it doesn’t involve them. It’s like the neighbourhood where you know there’s a dangerous corner, and you know that something is going to happen some day and nobody does anything. Then a young kid gets killed and a stop sign goes up.

“Well, without getting too political, we’ve got a lot of stop signs that need to go up. Quickly. Because our country is in trouble and the basic reason is race.”

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UFC 250 salaries: Amanda Nunes easily tops card, could make $450k – MMA Fighting



Early salaries have been released for the UFC 250 card, and Amanda Nunes is the biggest earner out of the gate.

The two-division champ take home a guaranteed $350,000 and stands to make up to $450,000 if she defends her featherweight title against Felicia Spencer, who could make $200,000 with an upset, according to preliminary salaries released by the Nevada State Athletic Commission.

Ex-bantamweight champ Cody Garbrandt is the second-highest earner in terms of guaranteed money, making $130,000 to show – and double that for a win – in a bout against Raphael Assuncao, who’s show and win pay is $79,000.

Here is the full list of UFC 250 payouts. As always, these figures do not represent a fighter’s total earnings, as certain sponsorship incomes, pay-per-view bonuses, or discretionary post-fight bonuses are not publicly disclosed.

Main card (ESPN+ pay-per-view, 10 p.m. ET)

Amanda Nunes ($350,000 to show, $100,000 to win) vs. Felicia Spencer ($125,000 to show, $75,000 to win)

Raphael Assuncao ($79,000 to show, $79,000 to win) vs. Cody Garbrandt ($130,000 to show, $130,000 to win)

Aljamain Sterling ($76,000 to show, $76,000 to win) vs. Cory Sandhagen ($80,000 to show, $80,000 to win)

Neil Magny ($79,000 to show, $79,000 to win) vs. Rocco Martin ($48,000 to show, $48,000 to win)

Sean O’Malley ($40,000 to show, $40,000 to win) vs. Eddie Wineland ($46,000 to show, $46,000 to win)

Preliminary Card (ESPN and ESPN +, 8 p.m. ET)

Chase Hooper ($27,000 to show, $27,000 to win) vs. Alex Caceres ($58,000 to show, $58,000 to win)

Gerald Meerschaert ($33,000 to show, $33,000 to win) vs. Ian Heinisch ($40,000 to show, $40,000 to win)

Cody Stamann ($36,000 to show, $36,000 to win) vs. Brian Kelleher ($33,000 to show, $33,000 to win)

Charles Byrd ($12,000 to show, $12,000 to win) vs. Maki Pitolo ($10,000 to show, $10,000 to win)

Early Preliminary Card (ESPN+ and UFC Fight Pass, 6:30 p.m. ET)

Jussier Formiga ($49,000 to show, $49,000 to win) vs. Alex Perez ($40,000 to show, $40,000 to win)

Alonzo Menifield ($14,000 to show, $14,000 to win) vs. Devin Clark ($48,000 to show, $48,000 to win)

Evan Dunham ($60,000 to show, $60,000 to win) vs. Herbert Burns ($12,000 to show, $12,000 to win)

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NBPA approves 22-team format to resume NBA season –



The National Basketball Players Association has signed off on the 22-team, return-to-play format for the NBA, the union announced in a statement Friday.

The NBPA said its Board of Player Representatives has approved further negotiations on the plan with the league and various details still need to be hashed out.

“The acceptance of the scenario would still require that all parties reach agreement on all issues relevant to resuming play,” the statement reads.

The league’s Board of Governors approved the proposal for restarting the 2019-20 season on Thursday. The plan would see the campaign resume next month at the Disney campus near Orlando, Fla.

The Athletic‘s Shams Charania reports that other aspects of the return-to-play plan were discussed by the NBPA on a call with its Board and Player Representatives on Friday afternoon, including:

• Two to three exhibition tilts before the regular season

• A maximum of 1,600 people on the Disney World campus

• Daily COVID-19 testing and a minimum seven-day quarantine if a player is found positive

• The NBA will continue to play if a player contracts the novel coronavirus

• Players and family must stay inside the bubble

• Potential manufactured crowd noise using NBA 2K video game sound

• A proposed 35-person travel party limit

• Potential three-hour practice windows for teams

• No blood tests in Orlando for substances that fall under the league’s anti-drug policy.

The NBPA reportedly also said players will receive their full paycheques after taking a 25 per cent reduction in May.

Additionally, Charania reports that the union told players a Dec. 1 start to the ’20-21 campaign is “unlikely” and it plans to negotiate the date.

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