LeBron James is back in the NBA Finals.
After missing last year’s Finals as the Los Angeles Lakers failed to even make the NBA playoffs in James’ first year on the west coast, the 35-year-old returns to the league’s biggest stage for the ninth time in the past 10 years.
Game 1 against the Miami Heat Wednesday will mark James’ 10th appearance in the NBA Finals, a record he shares with just four other players, Bill Russell (12 Finals appearances), Sam Jones (11), and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (10).
And only three franchises have as many appearances in the Finals as James, the Lakers (32 Finals appearances), Boston Celtics (21), and Golden State Warriors (11).
James will also become just the fifth player to reach the Finals in three different decades, joining Tim Duncan, John Salley, A.C. Green, and Elgin Baylor. And he’s the first player to reach the championship series with five different head coaches in Mike Brown (Cleveland Cavaliers), Erik Spoelstra (Heat), David Blatt (Cavs), Ty Lue (Cavs), and Frank Vogel (Lakers).
Some other numbers ahead of the NBA Finals:
- Anthony Davis enters the NBA Finals averaging 28.8 points per game, the most ever by one of James’s teammates and the first time a teammate is averaging more points per game than James.
- The Heat enter the NBA Finals after finishing the regular season with a .603 winning percentage, the fourth lowest mark for a team in the Finals in the last 35 years. Miami is also just the third team seeded fifth or lower to reach the Finals since seeding began in 1984.
What Joey Moss and those in similar roles contribute to sports locker rooms – Sportsnet.ca
One thing I’ve been blessed to see over the course of my life is how a circumstance of inclusion helps both parties, and to a degree few people seem to understand.
The life of Joey Moss makes everyone even tangentially related feel good, and so it should. So often when hearing his story, though, people consider the great life that hockey and football seem to have provided for him, while understating just how valuable his daily presence was to others. What most see is someone simply getting to spend time with a pro team, when a line from the piece Mark Spector wrote after Moss’s passing more accurately sums up the immediate relationships at play:
“In the heartless world that pro sports can be, Joey became the goat in the horse barn, putting an arm around a player that had just been released, assuring him better days lie ahead, and leaving an impression that no coach, GM or teammate possibly could.”
“The goat in the horse barn” is nothing but a compliment, as it’s a very real thing (seriously, google “comfort goats” — it’s amazing).
So let me frame what I’ve seen and learned given my somewhat-unique experience around those in roles like the ones Joey Moss held.
I’ve been in dressing rooms my whole life, first with my Dad’s teams and then in my own career both playing and coaching. It’s not at all uncommon for a team to employ a helper of sorts. These helpers maintain a variety of titles and duties depending on their age and capabilities, and almost all of whom are beloved if they have any run of time at all with the team. Some of these people are physically disabled, some intellectually; some are just kids, and some are seniors. But make no mistake: There’s a lot of work to be done to keep a pro hockey team clicking along at max capacity, and these are the people who help them get from 99 per cent to 100.
I also have a brother who’s active in the disability community and has been his whole life. Being from Kelowna, B.C. – a good-size town but not exactly a metropolis – meant that growing up I was a full-time member of wheelchair basketball teams, and a participant on numerous other wheelchair teams, given finding enough people between a reasonable age range with comparable limitations can be tough without a huge population to draw from.
I was around when the Kelowna Rockets of the WHL got my brother involved, and heard numerous stories of team experiences that have been provided to those within the disability community.
I’ve seen the benefits to both parties here in the immediate, from the person getting the opportunity (the value of the confidence and sense of purpose is immeasurable), to the team getting the help, both tangible and emotional.
It’s the value of that “emotional” part I don’t think many teams fully understand or even appreciate, given it’s rarely anywhere near the focus of often stressful in-season days.
It wasn’t until I took my role with the Marlies that I was really able to step back and process the true value someone like Joey Moss would’ve provided, and that’s because we had Pistol Pete Flagler. Sportsnet featured the Marlies’ locker-room attendant a couple years back:
You can follow Pistol on Instagram here.
Pete has a very real job working with the team, but he also moonlights in a kind of voluntary advisory role. One day Pete had me set up a laptop so he could go through the shifts of a Marlies centreman to help find him more ice time. He regularly campaigned to Kyle Dubas and Sheldon Keefe for more opportunity for his favourite players, which included a group of … basically everyone who was nice to him, which was pretty much everyone (extra love here for Connor Brown, Justin Holl and Rich Clune). He even addressed the full team on multiple occasions, and when he did he could wipe away tension in a way no player or coach ever could.
He earned his jewelry:
Here’s the thing with a pro hockey locker room. With the exception of those who’ve made it to the highest level and have long-term deals and no-move clauses, almost every day and every interaction is vaguely competitive. It’s exhausting. The players are trying to climb past the players beside them with their performance on the ice.
But part of being put in good positions with linemates and ice time to do that means impressing upon staff on a daily basis that they deserve the best opportunities, which means for those more-unestablished players, even the most random conversations matter. Players aside, coaches have to juggle giving direction with keeping players happy, and how they do that is judged by the players and other around them. The evaluation rarely stops for anyone.
To go with that, every day exists in the shadow of the previous game. Players who underperformed are held to vaguely higher standards whether that’s spoken or not. There’s handwringing over team shortcomings. And if the team lost (or is generally losing a lot), the strain of each day becomes immense. Blame is just floating around, looking to land on the most inactive of the team members in the room.
Having someone like Pistol Pete, or Joey Moss, or anyone who exists somewhat outside that competitive ecosystem creates the opportunity for everyone to talk to without pressure. In the midst of the darkest times, there’s a ray of light. And if you’re ever so misfortunate as to be stuck in a cave at night, you’ll come to see just how much you can appreciate a single candle.
So while I know Joey and Pistol and their cohorts benefit from their roles, I know the players and staff benefit, too — and I don’t think either side realizes how much. When the medical staff has that ray of light around, that candle, they’re often put in better mental frames to do their job, and that trickles down to those they work on. The coaches benefit, the extended staff and management benefits — even if just in small amounts. But those small bits, for everyone, accumulated, can have a profound effect on a locker room. I believe the whole of the operation makes larger gains than any one person may feel them.
For those teams in development leagues, these relationships also provide younger players an opportunity to learn about compassion and kindness.
If there are teams out there not offering a role like this up to someone from their community, they’re missing out. Missing out on making someone’s life better, but also missing out on helping their team grow, both on the ice and off. Guys like Joey and Pistol Pete are proof of the impact that can be made in those jobs, and in turn, the positive effect that can be had on so many people.
Justin Turner tests COVID-positive at World Series, hugs teammate after win – CBC.ca
Star player tested positive in 6th inning
The Los Angeles Dodgers just won their first World Series in 32 years, but the big win comes with a serious foul.
An hour after securing a 3-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday night, star player Justin Turner stepped onto the field to celebrate with his team, despite testing positive for COVID-19 earlier in the game.
Once on the field, Turner hugged longtime teammate Clayton Kershaw and pulled his mask down to sit front and centre for a team photo, potentially putting his team at risk of catching the coronavirus.
Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts and third baseman Justin Turner, with the red beard, pose for a group photo after the Dodgers’ World Series win. (Image credit: Eric Gay/The Associated Press)
Turner’s result, which came during the game’s sixth inning, was Major League Baseball’s first positive test in 59 days.
Test results can sometimes be wrong, and follow-up testing is needed to confirm a false positive.
In a post-game tweet, Turner didn’t comment on potentially having exposed his teammates to the coronavirus.
Turner’s teammate and World Series MVP Corey Seager sympathized with Turner, who has waited years for the win, only to test positive for COVID-19 during the final game.
“It’s gut-wrenching … If I could switch places with him right now, I would. That’s just not right.”
Turner is L.A.’s career leader in post-season home runs, with 12, including a pair in this series, in which he hit .364.
What happens next?
It’s unclear whether Turner will face any repercussions for his actions, but MLB is expected to make a statement in the coming days.
Despite the sour moment, the night was still a massive triumph for the Dodgers, who now have a total of seven World Series wins.
With files from The Associated Press
TOP PHOTO CREDIT: Kevin Jairaj-USA-TODAY
MLB to investigate Turner's actions during World Series celebration – TSN
Major League Baseball, through the Commissioner’s Office, is beginning a full investigation into Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner’s actions following the conclusion of the World Series on Tuesday, the league has announced.
In a statement, the league says Turner was removed from Game 6 and separated from everyone on the Dodgers following a positive COVID-19 test, but returned to the field during the championship celebration and refused to leave when he was asked to by MLB officials.
“Immediately upon receiving notice from the laboratory of a positive test, protocols were triggered, leading to the removal of Justin Turner from last night’s game. Turner was placed into isolation for the safety of those around him. However, following the Dodgers’ victory, it is clear that Turner chose to disregard the agreed-upon joint protocols and the instructions he was given regarding the safety and protection of others. While a desire to celebrate is understandable, Turner’s decision to leave isolation and enter the field was wrong and put everyone he came in contact with at risk. When MLB Security raised the matter of being on the field with Turner, he emphatically refused to comply.”
“The Commissioner’s Office is beginning a full investigation into this matter and will consult with the Players Association within the parameters of the joint 2020 Operations Manual.”
The league also says that nasal swabs were conducted on the Dodgers’ travelling party on Tuesday and that both the Dodgers and Tampa Bay Rays were tested again on Wednesday. Both team’s travel back to their homes will be determined after it is approved by the appropriate authorities.
Turner was pulled from Game 6 in the eighth inning after Los Angeles learned of his positive COVID-19 test.
Social media CEOs get earful on bias, warning of new limits – NewmarketToday.ca
What Joey Moss and those in similar roles contribute to sports locker rooms – Sportsnet.ca
PlayStation reveals updated mobile app with overhauled UI, voice chat and more – MobileSyrup
Silver investment demand jumped 12% in 2019
Iran anticipates renewed protests amid social media shutdown
Galaxy M31 July 2020 security update brings Glance, a content-driven lockscreen wallpaper service
- Sports18 hours ago
Players, fans rip Rays for Blake Snell’s quick hook in Game 6 – Sportsnet.ca
- Sports20 hours ago
Friends and former Oilers remember beloved local sports figure Joey Moss – CBC.ca
- Health19 hours ago
South Korea begins preliminary review of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine candidate – The Guardian
- Sports15 hours ago
Dodgers’ Justin Turner lifted from Game 6 after testing positive for COVID-19 – Sportsnet.ca
- Economy8 hours ago
Canadian economy won’t fully recover from COVID-19 until 2022: Bank of Canada
- Health17 hours ago
Coronavirus: First COVID vaccines 'likely to be imperfect' and 'might not prevent infection', says taskforce boss – Sky News
- Tech22 hours ago
Samsung's rumored Galaxy S21 may not include charger or headphones – CNET
- Tech20 hours ago
Apple FCC filing hints at hidden reverse wireless charging feature in iPhone 12 – 9to5Mac