The Latest: LeBron says he won’t be silent on social issues
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Latest on NBA All-Star Saturday (all times local):
LeBron James says he will not stick to sports.
The Cleveland Cavaliers All-Star reiterated his determination to speak out on social issues and the nation’s political climate Saturday during media availability for the NBA All-Star Game.
James says he “will definitely not shut up and dribble” because he realizes the weight that his words carry in the face of injustice.
James spoke publicly after Fox News host Laura Ingraham criticized him for prior comments about social issues. James previously responded with an Instagram post containing similar sentiments.
James was backed by All-Stars Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant, who believe athletes have a unique opportunity to advocate for positive social change.
Nine days after being traded from the Los Angeles Lakers to the Cleveland Cavaliers, Larry Nance Jr. was looking forward to being back on his old home court for the NBA Slam Dunk Contest.
He’ll try to follow in the footsteps of his father, who won the NBA’s first slam dunk title in 1984.
“It would be awesome,” Nance said a few hours before Saturday night’s dunk contest. “I mean, obviously father-son being in it has never been done before. So there’s a couple firsts there. But obviously it would mean so much more if I got to hold the trophy above my head the same way my dad did 25 years ago or whatever it was.”
Nance was one of the four players who went from Los Angeles to Cleveland in a four-player trade at the deadline.
“I’m not, for lack of a better term, over it, but it’s still fresh in my mind, it’s something that is still kind of shocking,” Nance said. “But at the same time I can’t wait for all this to be done with so I can just get back to learning how to jell and mesh with my team.”
Just a few minutes after Paul George sat down at his podium for NBA All-Star Media Day, a robust chant of “We want Paul! We want Paul!” broke out among the fans sitting in bleachers in the back of the convention hall.
“It makes you feel great,” the Oklahoma City Thunder All-Star said. “I love it. It’s not to say that I don’t. I felt the energy. I know where the love is.”
George grew up in Palmdale, about 65 miles from Staples Center, where the All-Star Game will be played Sunday night.
“It feels good to be welcome. I think anybody would want to be wanted and be welcomed,” he said.
The fans, of course, want George to play with the Lakers. He said he’s happy with the Thunder, but with free agency looming, coming to Los Angeles is a big possibility.
Asked if he knows what he’s going to do this summer, he said: “I don’t.”
He added: “I know what I feel is best but it’s a long way until the end of the season.”
Two-time NBA MVP Steve Nash and fellow star point guard Jason Kidd, Grant Hill and Ray Allen are among the 13 finalists for induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
Maurice Cheeks and Chris Webber also made the cut, with the finalists announced Saturday morning as part of the NBA All-Star weekend.
Charles “Lefty” Driesell, Rudy Tomjanovich and Baylor’s Kim Mulkey made the final ballot as coaches. Katie Smith, Tina Thompson and longtime NBA official Hugh Evans are also finalists.
The 1953-58 Wayland Baptist University teams that won 131 consecutive games and four AAU national championships is the lone team finalist.
Finalists must receive 18 votes from the 24-member honors committee to be enshrined.
The entire class will be unveiled during the NCAA Final Four in San Antonio.
The NBA’s best players have arrived in Hollywood for a star-studded All-Star weekend.
None of those stars currently play for the hometown Lakers or Clippers, and that dearth will be discussed when basketball’s best get together Saturday for practice.
LeBron James is likely to be asked plenty of media questions about his interest in joining the Lakers, who have cleared salary cap space for two superstars this summer.
Paul George, the Oklahoma City All-Star, is from nearby Palmdale, California. He has a well-known love for the Lakers.
The All-Star game also has a big new wrinkle this season: Captains Stephen Curry and James picked their own teams. That draft wasn’t televised, and some stars could have a few good-natured questions about the process. A few hours later Klay Thompson gets warmed up for the three-point competition and Utah rookie Donovan Mitchell sets his sights on the dunk contest.
More AP NBA: www.apnews.com/tags/NBAbasketball