A look around the league and the Web that covers it. It's also important to note that the rotation order and starting nods aren't always listed in order of importance. That's for you, dear reader, to figure out. C : ESPN.com . I'm a bit late to the party here, but this Kevin Arnovitz feature on the San Antonio Spurs — how the NBA couldn't figure out how to sell them, how the organization couldn't care less, and how the franchise's commitment to innovation, culture and process make them "the NBA's research and development division" — is the best thing I've ever read about the Spurs. And considering we could be 48 minutes away from them being crowned champions, now seems like a good time to get familiar with how they got here (and keep getting here). PF : USA TODAY Sports . A nice read from Sam Amick on how Danny Green went from "the guy for whom a D-League owner didn't want to give up Patrick Ewing Jr." to the cusp of a potential NBA Finals MVP nod . SF : The Onion . "'For all the chatter that’s surrounding tonight’s contest, when everything’s said and done, pens, John Cheever, and whether ferns require direct sunlight just aren’t going to come into play,' said NBA On ABC analyst Mike Breen."
Kobe Bryant has ranked among the most popular players in the NBA for more than 15 years now, as his legendary scoring prowess, on- and off-court charisma, affiliation with the glamorous Los Angeles Lakers and near-constant exposure to massive audiences through nationally televised games and deep playoff runs have combined to make him one the sports world's highest-profile figures. He's also done quite a bit of work over the years to extend his mega-star status into the massive and hoops-mad nation of China — he's made annual offseason trips there to meet fans and host camps, and appeared in commercials airing in the nation. He's participated in exhibition charity games and even reportedly briefly entertained the idea of playing in China during the 2011 NBA lockout . He's built a Chinese social media presence and launched multiple charitable initiatives in the Far East. And so on. Becoming the most popular non-native NBA player in the world's most populous nation isn't easy, but Bryant's done just about whatever he can to accomplish that goal. So it's not that surprising to learn, thanks to Lakers fan Eddie Robles , that there appears to be a sculpture celebrating Bryant in the Chinese province of Guangzhou: Now China has a full backcourt of stationary art champions. Stephon Marbury , you need no longer walk stand perfectly still forever alone.
One day after reporting that Allen Iverson's ex-wife had filed court documents accusing him of refusing to return their five children following a planned vacation, TMZ now reports that the children were returned to their mother after a court hearing last week in which the former Philadelphia 76ers, Denver Nuggets, Detroit Pistons and Memphis Grizzlies guard denied ever "abducting" them in the first place. In her filings, Tawanna Iverson claimed that Allen Iverson requested and received permission to take the children, who range from 3 years old to 16 year sold, on a trip to Charlotte, N.C., from May 22 through 26, but didn't return the kids on the 26th; Tawanna suspected they never actually went to Charlotte, but rather stayed with her ex-husband in an Atlanta hotel. A subsequent return scheduled for June 4 was scuttled when Allen Iverson didn't show up at the agreed-upon Target, according to Tawanna Iverson. We knew Allen Iverson had countered by filing documents denying his ex-wife's charges; now, via TMZ , we know he offered a denial in person in court last week, as well: Allen appeared in Fulton County court in Georgia last Wednesday and told the judge his ex-wife had full access to their kids during their stay at the hotel ... and therefore he wasn't doing anything wrong. We're told Tawanna also testified that she could have picked up the children from Allen but didn't want to drive 45 minutes to his location. After A.I.'s testimony, the judge decided the former Philadelphia 76ers star didn't deserve to be thrown in jail — despite his ex-wife's request before the hearing. The kids [...] were returned to their mother following the hearing. The site also reports that Allen and Tawanna Iverson have "worked out some of their issues" and that Tawanna, who received sole legal custody of the children in the couple's divorce settlement, has begun to allow Allen to spend more time with the children. He was apparently doing just that on Monday, when he spoke with Jeff Hullinger of Atlanta's WXIA-TV as he and his children (who are deliberately not shown in the video below) walked to his car in the parking lot of the Sheraton Suites Galleria in Atlanta:
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