Eric Freeman

  • These kids were so happy to meet the U.S. Olympic basketball team

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 14 hrs ago

    Most of the discussion surrounding the U.S. men's basketball team for August's Olympics in Rio de Janeiro has focused on the players that will not be attendance. The stream of dropouts was steady right up until Monday's announcement of the 12-man roster in New York City, with LeBron James and Stephen Curry the two biggest names to remove themselves from the consideration. The Kevin Durant-led group that will go to Brazil is still the overwhelming gold-medal favorite, but it's clearly missing some of the most exciting superstars in the sport.

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    It would be easy to use those high-profile absences as reason to pay less attention to Team USA when they start the Olympic tournament. However, the faces of the kids who were present at the USA Basketball unveiling in Harlem should be proof enough that such an opinion is pretty damn jaded. Just look at how this group of kids reacted to meeting some of their heroes:

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  • Even the Minnesota Timberwolves are worth $1 billion now

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 15 hrs ago

    It's now well established that any NBA franchise, no matter the success of the team on the court or the size of the market, is worth a lot of money. The $2 billion sale of the Los Angeles Clippers in August 2014 set a new standard, and the $850 million sale of the never-super-popular Atlanta Hawks in April 2015 indicated that such figures wouldn't only apply to major-market clubs.

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    Eric Freeman is a writer for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at efreeman_ysports@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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  • NBA and WNBA become first pro leagues to march in NYC Pride Parade

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 1 day ago

    The NBA and WNBA made professional sports history this Sunday by becoming the first leagues to march in and hold a float in the New York City Pride Parade. NBA commissioner Adam Silver, NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum, and WNBA president Lisa Borders marched alongside a group of league employees in support and celebration of the LGBTQ community.

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    Silver and Tatum both wore #OrlandoUnited t-shirts to honor the victims of the June 12 mass shooting at a gay nightclub, while various other employees and marchers donned shirts with rainbow-colored NBA team logos. Jason Collins, the first active NBA player to come out as gay, and Sue Wicks, an ex-WNBA player and Women's Basketball Hall of Famer, were also among the participants.

    Take a look at several photos from the NBA and WNBA portion of the march here:

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  • Kris Dunn shows off Gucci shoes and JC Penney suit at NBA draft

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 4 days ago

     

    The NBA Draft is an event known for its fashion, though not necessarily in a positive way. The most memorable outfits are the worst ones — Drew Gooden in the latest suit by Dr. Evil, Samaki Walker in a lab coat, and Jalen Rose as a mobster in hell.

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    Sadly, most draftees now employ stylists to keep them on trend. For every Brandon Ingram in a snakeskin-effect jacket, there are seven guys in the same family of tuxedo jacket and bowtie combo.

    However, the rare player can still make news. That's what new Minnesota Timberwolves point guard Kris Dunn, the No. 5 pick, did when he mixed a J.C. Penney suit with bedazzled Gucci shoes. He grabbed plenty of attention when he shouted out both companies in his post-pick interview with ESPN's Lisa Salters:

  • New Laker Brandon Ingram goes bold at draft with wild jacket

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 4 days ago

    The general consensus heading into the 2016 NBA Draft was that two players held star potential — LSU's Ben Simmons and Duke's Brandon Ingram. The former went to the Philadelphia 76ers with the first overall pick, which left the Los Angeles Lakers to pick Ingram at No. 2. The franchise's millions of fans seem pretty happy about it, with Ingram set to join a young team looking to rebuild around high-potential options and new head coach Luke Walton in the wake of Kobe Bryant's retirement.

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    We will have to wait several seasons to see if Simmons or Ingram ends up as the better player. For now, though, it's clear the Ingram has the more aggressive style in clothes. While Simmons opted for a pretty standard three-piece navy suit, Ingram went for the boldest look of the whole draft:

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  • Jimmy Butler pays tribute to Derrick Rose in Instagram post

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 5 days ago

    Wednesday's trade of Derrick Rose to the New York Knicks ends an era for the Chicago Bulls, who drafted the hometown star with the No. 1 overall draft pick in 2008 and saw him develop into the NBA MVP just three years later. Rose became the face of the franchise, a status that became increasingly precarious and unproductive as his knee injuries diminished his abilities. The Bulls arguably suffered for planning to depend on Rose as much as they did over the past few seasons, but the decision to move him is an emotional one nonetheless.

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    [ STACK: J.R. Smith's hilarious shirtless celebration extended to a Cleveland golf course ]

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  • What did the New York Knicks gain in the Derrick Rose trade?

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 5 days ago

    The Wednesday trade that sent Derrick Rose from his hometown Chicago Bulls to the New York Knicks is not a blockbuster deal by most metrics, but it does feel like one. While all those knee injuries have robbed Rose of the explosiveness that made him the 2011 MVP, he remains a prominent figure in the league and served as the most visible member of the 2015-16 Bulls, though not the best player on the team. He now heads to another of the league's marquee franchise, a squad that can't help but capture the public interest even if it rarely sees success. This trade is a big one if only for the media stature of the involved parties.

    [Follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr: The best slams from all of basketball]

    [ STACK: J.R. Smith's hilarious shirtless celebration extended to a Cleveland golf course ]

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  • Steve Francis didn't quit the idea of an NBA return until February

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 6 days ago

    It can sometimes be difficult for ex-NBA players to adjust to retired life. For everyone who seamlessly transitions into a job as a coach or executive, there are several who struggle to adapt to life without high-level basketball. The passion and competitiveness that carried them to the heights of the sport have no real outlet, and the end of the extravagant lifestyle can be rough.

    Steve Francis has appeared to be one of those players. The three-time All-Star last played in the NBA in 2010 and has been in the public eye mostly as a curiosity or for negatives. An over-the-top rap video in 2012 wasn't exactly a career highlight for Francis, and his being the victim of a chain-snatching at a Houston rap show in 2015 was flat-out depressing.

    For instance, he apparently didn't give up on the idea of returning to the NBA until February (expletive elisions our own):

    OK then.

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  • Kevin Durant confirms he will lead Team USA at the Olympics in Rio

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 7 days ago

    It is going to be a busy summer for Kevin Durant. The Oklahoma City Thunder superstar is the best player to hit unrestricted free agency since LeBron James and figures to entertain several suitors, one of which figures to be the Golden State Warriors. Whether Durant joins the team that eliminated OKC this spring or not, he has a lot of thinking to do. Add in the requisite workouts to improve, and he's going to have little time for a vacation.

    Given those important tasks, it seemed likely that Durant would not represent the United States at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro this August. Durant confirmed his inclusion at his KD9 shoe release on Monday, and a report from Marc Stein of ESPN.com adds several stars as locks to join him:

    Of course, the same would be true if every single one of these players decided not to play. The roster pool is that deep.

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  • LeBron James has an Instagram message for all the doubters

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 7 days ago

    The Cleveland Cavaliers' first-ever NBA championship silenced considerable questions over the construction of the team, LeBron James's decision to return to his first franchise, and many other issues regarding a squad that didn't appear to find itself until the postseason. It was a strong statement, the first comeback from 3-1 down in the NBA Finals and a stunning turnaround against a Golden State Warriors group looking to join the ranks of the best teams in league history.

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    The title also stands as the defining moment of LeBron's career. After returning to Cleveland to a hero's welcome on Monday, James put out a message to anyone who doubted him or the Cavaliers on Instagram:

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