Russell Westbrook said it was "extremely humbling" to donate meals to healthcare workers fighting coronavirus at his local hospital.

Nurses at the intensive care and COVID units at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Hospital were treated to meals from Los Angeles restaurant The Nice Guy.

Westbrook was born in Long Beach, California and played college basketball at UCLA before entering the NBA in 2008.

The 31-year-old, who was traded to the Houston Rockets before the 2019-20 season, has gone on to be named to nine All-Star Games and was voted the 2017 NBA MVP while with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Alongside an Instagram photo with the meals and nurses, Westbrook wrote: "Last night I helped provide meals to the nurses in the ICU & COVID Units at my hometown hospital, MLK Community Hospital.

"Extremely humbling to be able to do this and we appreciate all your hard work during this time. Thank you for all that you do!"

There have been over 1.6million confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States, where more than 97,000 people have died.

 
 
 
 
 

Jerry Sloan, an All-Star player who went on to become the most successful coach in Utah Jazz history, died on Friday following a long battle with Parkinson's disease at the age of 78. 
 
The Jazz announced Sloan's death from complications from Parkinson's disease and Lewy body dementia, which the Basketball Hall of Fame member revealed he was dealing with in 2016. 
 
Sloan coached the Jazz for 23 seasons before resigning during the 2010-11 season and ranks fourth in NBA history with 1,221 victories.

His 1,127 wins with Utah are the second-most of any coach with one franchise, trailing only San Antonio's Gregg Popovich.  
 
"Jerry Sloan will always be synonymous with the Utah Jazz. He will forever be a part of the Utah Jazz organization and we join his family, friends and fans in mourning his loss," the team said in a statement. 

"We are so thankful for what he accomplished here in Utah and the decades of dedication, loyalty and tenacity he brought to our franchise." 
 
Led by future Hall of Famers Karl Malone and John Stockton, Sloan's Utah teams were a model of consistency.

He guided the Jazz to playoff appearances for his first 15 seasons after being promoted to head coach following Frank Layden's resignation in December 1988. 

The Jazz won 50 or more games 13 times in his tenure, highlighted by back-to-back NBA Finals appearances in 1997 and 1998. 
 
Utah lost to the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls, the team Sloan spent the majority of his playing career with, in both of those Finals trips, with each series ending 4-2.

He also coached the Bulls for three seasons from before joining the Jazz organization as a scout in 1983. 
 
Sloan compiled a 1,127-682 regular-season record with Utah and amassed 96 more wins while leading the Jazz to the playoffs 19 times in total, with seven division titles. 

He was honored by the franchise in 2014 with a No. 1,223 banner, representing his combined win total with the Jazz, that currently hangs in the rafters at the team's home venue, Vivint Smart Home Arena. 
 
"Like Stockton and Malone as players, Jerry Sloan epitomized the organization," the Jazz said. "He will be greatly missed.

"We extend our heartfelt condolences to his wife, Tammy, the entire Sloan family and all who knew and loved him." 
 
Sloan also had his No. 4 jersey retired by the Bulls in 1978, the first player in franchise history to receive the honor.

Dubbed "The Original Bull" after being acquired from the Baltimore Bullets prior to Chicago's expansion-year 1966-67 season, the McLeansboro, Illinois native made two All-Star teams during a 10-year run with the Bulls that concluded with his retirement in 1976. 
 
Known for his tenacity and defensive skills, Sloan averaged 14 points, 7.4 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.2 steals per game over 11 NBA seasons, and is the only player in league history to average more than seven rebounds and two steals a game. 
 
"Jerry Sloan was 'The Original Bull' whose tenacious defense and nightly hustle on the court represented the franchise and epitomized the city of Chicago," Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf said in a statement. 

"Jerry was the face of the Bulls organization from its inception through the mid-1970s, and very appropriately, his uniform No. 4 was the first jersey retired by the team. 
 
"A great player and a Hall-of-Fame NBA coach, most importantly, Jerry was a great person. Our sympathies go out to the Sloan family and all his many fans." 
 
Sloan was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009, two years before abruptly resigning 54 games into Utah's 2011-12 season. He rejoined the Jazz as a senior adviser in 2013. 

Legendary Utah Jazz coach Jerry Sloan has died at the age of 78, the team announced on Friday.

The Jazz said in a statement Sloan passed away as a result of complications from Parkinson's disease and Lewy body dementia, diagnoses he received in April 2016.

Sloan spent 26 years as a coach in the NBA, 23 of which were spent leading the Jazz between 1988 and 2011.

Utilising their famous pick-and-roll offense, and inspired by Hall of Famers Karl Malone and John Stockton, Sloan led the Jazz to the Western Conference title in 1997 and 1998 but they were beaten in the NBA Finals on both occasions by the Michael Jordan-inspired Chicago Bulls – a team he both played for and coached.

"Jerry Sloan will always be synonymous with the Utah Jazz. He will forever be a part of the Utah Jazz organisation and we join his family, friends and fans in mourning his loss," the Jazz statement read. 

"We are so thankful for what he accomplished here in Utah and the decades of dedication, loyalty and tenacity he brought to our franchise. 

"Like Stockton and Malone as players, Jerry Sloan epitomised the organisation. He will be greatly missed. 

"We extend our heartfelt condolences to his wife, Tammy, the entire Sloan family and all who knew and loved him."

Sloan led the Jazz to 15 consecutive playoff appearances and 19 in total and finished his career with the third-most wins in NBA history.

As a player, Sloan was a two-time NBA All-Star and had his number 4 jersey retired by the Bulls, and twice lost in the Conference Finals.

Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo wants to smoke a cigar like Michael Jordan and celebrate a potential NBA championship in Mykonos.

The Bucks were favourites to win the NBA title before the season was suspended indefinitely due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Milwaukee owned the best record in the league at 53-12, ahead of LeBron James' Los Angeles Lakers, in pursuit of their first title since 1971.

While COVID-19 has halted Milwaukee's quest, reigning MVP Antetokounmpo is hoping to take the NBA trophy to his native Greece and the party island of Mykonos – channelling Chicago Bulls great Jordan.

"Before all this happened with COVID-19, I was talking about taking the team on a trip to Greece in Mykonos," Antetokounmpo said via the Athletes Doing Good Radiothon on ESPN.

"Mykonos is one of the best islands in Greece, it's a party island. You cannot go there with your significant other, you got to be by yourself. It's got to be a boys' trip.

"Obviously, we have Santorini, Santorini's really romantic. It has the best sunset and sunrise in the world. You can take your significant other there.

"I had the opportunity to go last year – I went with [Eric] Bledsoe and Brook [Lopez] to Mykonos – and I was kind of sad I wasn't able to bring the whole team to experience what we went through.

"So definitely, I think, after we win the championship and we're holding the trophy and we're all smoking a cigar like M.J., we can all do that in Mykonos."

It remains to be seen when, and if, the 2019-20 season will resume following the coronavirus outbreak.

NBA practice facilities have started to re-open this month after the league had targeted no earlier than May 8 for teams to return to their complexes.

Commissioner Adam Silver is reportedly considering the league returning via two locations – Orlando and Las Vegas.

Ja Morant believes he deserves to win the NBA Rookie of the Year award over Zion Williamson.

Morant was selected second overall by the Memphis Grizzlies in the 2019 NBA Draft, with Williamson having gone first to the New Orleans Pelicans.

Williamson, who played just one season of college basketball at Duke before declaring for the draft, was the heavy favourite for Rookie of the Year honours going into the season.

However, Williamson suffered a torn meniscus in October, delaying his professional debut until January.

But he has been spectacular since returning from injury, averaging 23.6 points, 6.8 rebounds, 2.2 assists per game. Williamson has shot 58.9 per cent from the field and 46.2 per cent from three-point range.

Morant, though, has the advantage of playing 59 games to Williamson's 19 during this season, which has seen him average 17.6 points, 6.9 assists and 3.5 rebounds.

He has shot 49.1 per cent from the field and 36.7 per cent from beyond the arc.

His performances had Memphis in the eighth and final playoff berth in the Western Conference when the season was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking on Bleacher Report's 'Take it There with Taylor Rooks', Morant was asked if he felt like it should even be a close race for the award.

He replied: "Nah, I feel like I've done enough. I deserve it.

"I feel like my play this year proved all that. Had a great season so far. This corona stopped that short a little bit."

The prevailing sentiment among NBA players appears to be towards an eventual resumption of the 2019-20 season, rather than ending it prematurely.

Asked if he had spoken to anybody who feels the opposite, Morant said: "I haven't talked to anybody who hasn't wanted to play.

"I'm sure everybody wants to except for teams probably not in the playoffs."

Karl Malone's insistence he has the "utmost respect" for Michael Jordan did little to hide the tension that seemingly still exists between the ex-NBA stars.

Jordan and the great Chicago Bulls dynasty of the 1990s were the subject of the co-produced ESPN and Netflix docuseries 'The Last Dance'.

The Bulls' rivalry with Malone's Utah Jazz in the 1997 and 1998 NBA Finals series were pivotal in the latter episodes.

Malone refused to be a part of the show but ESPN released previously unseen footage of him talking about Jordan and playing the Bulls at that time from an interview in February 2019.

Asked his reaction when he heard the name "Michael Jordan",  Malone – smoking a cigar – replied tersely: "Michael Jordan, Michael Jordan...what else do I need to say?"

Malone was then questioned more specifically on the famous moment of Game 6 of the '98 Finals when Jordan stole the ball from Malone before going on to hit the game-winning shot that secured a second three-peat in the space of eight years.

"Why? Why do I have to?" Malone answered. 

"But I tell you this, I'll all man and I accept the responsibility for not winning one [a championship]. 

"And we was there, we just happened to be playing the Chicago Bulls, which wasn't just Michael Jordan by the way and I have the utmost respect for Michael. 

"But I never thought I was playing Michael Jordan, I was playing the Chicago Bulls but let's not…you know, everybody say this person was a bad man and all of that. Well, yes, I give them respect but I've got a setup. I'm a man, and I was a bad son of a b****, too. 

"So that's how I look at that, and that's who I am. Maybe in my older years I can call it that bluntly but I'm just calling it like I see it."

In the show, Jordan says how he was fired up ahead of the '97 Finals after Malone received the NBA MVP award in the regular season.

While the series has received critical acclaim, some involved have been disapproving of the way events have been portrayed and questioned the involvement of Jordan's production company.

Ex-Bulls star Horace Grant branded Jordan a liar when he accused his former team-mate of being a source for Sam Smith's book 'The Jordan Rules', which paints the Hall of Famer in an unflattering light.

Scottie Pippen, who was beside Jordan for each of the Bulls' six championships in the eight-year span, was another ex-player to appear in the documentary who was supposedly unhappy with his portrayal.

In one episode, Jordan said Pippen was "selfish" over his decision to delay foot surgery that saw him miss the start of the 1997-98 season.

Former NBA star Paul Pierce believes LeBron James is not among the top five players in history.

The Los Angeles Lakers star is widely regarded as one of the best players ever, a debate which has raged again following the airing of 'The Last Dance', a documentary focusing on Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls.

However, Pierce refused to include James – a three-time NBA champion and four-time MVP – in his top five.

"Kareem [Abdul-Jabbar], Magic [Johnson], Jordan, Tim Duncan, Kobe [Bryant], [Larry] Bird, these guys are all top-10 players who have either helped build up their organisation or continued the tradition," the 10-time NBA All-Star told ESPN.

On James, Pierce said: "He went and put together a team in Miami, he came back to Cleveland and put that team together.

"Then he went to the Lakers, where a tradition has already been made, and that's still to be continued."

James' Lakers were 49-14 and top of the Western Conference when this season was suspended in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Los Angeles Lakers veteran Jared Dudley is "90 per cent confident" the NBA will return amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The NBA was suspended indefinitely in March due to the COVID-19 crisis, which has wreaked havoc across the globe.

It remains to be seen when, and if, the 2019-20 season will resume – the Western Conference-leading Lakers had played 63 of the 82-game regular season when the campaign was halted.

Despite uncertainty, Dudley expressed optimism that the NBA will return after the coronavirus outbreak.

"Right now, 90 per cent confident of returning," the 34-year-old forward said on a conference call on Wednesday.

"The only reason why I wouldn’t say 100 per cent is because you're dealing with the unknown virus that can happen at any moment. They keep talking about the second wave or something unexpected."

NBA practice facilities have started to re-open this month after the league had targeted no earlier than May 8 for teams to return to their complexes.

"I don't think you're going to go from zero to 100," Dudley said. "I think they'll give us seven to 10 days of individual workouts. Then that next seven days practice. And then you'll get your two- to three-week training camp before we head to Orlando and Vegas."

NBA commissioner Adam Silver is reportedly considering the league returning via two locations – Orlando and Las Vegas.

Discussing the possible bubble-like format, Dudley said: "You will be allowed to leave. Now just because you leave, if we're going to give you that leeway, if you come back with corona, you can't play."

Dudley added: "When you're dealing with 300 different players – if you've seen the [Michael] Jordan documentary, every team's got a [Dennis] Rodman. He just doesn't have green and blue hair.

"There's always someone who's outside the box, who does that, takes the risk and says, 'Hey, listen, man, I'm healthy, and I feel good.'"

Traditions in sports are important. They give individual sports a certain uniqueness and can make players feel comfortable. At the same time, some can be a bit strange— causing stares, laughter or judgement. Here are five weird traditions in sports.

 

Cricketers kissing the ball

It gets weirdly romantic when cricketers kiss the ball. The practice of kissing balls is so wrong to me— even if it’s done for good luck. The ball carries germs that can cause infection. It’s been in the palms of many players, it runs along the ground, and sometimes on the roof and out into the street, and the bat hits it a lot. Sometimes it goes into the wicketkeeper’s gloves and those haven’t been washed in aeons!

 

Screaming tennis players

After a while, the grunts of tennis players can get alarming. Imagine being a spectator at a tennis match and hearing continuous groans from players. I don’t know about you, but I’d probably be concerned, annoyed or even distracted. Don’t quote me on this, but zoning out has to be a regular thing at these matches; just to give your ears a break.

 

Boxers wearing robes

Boxers want to be perceived as anything but soft. Their personas are tough and rigid— their fans live for that! But wearing robes doesn’t do it justice. Seeing a man in a dress as he slips it off to the ground does not scream ‘let's get ready to rumble’.

 

Bouncing the tennis ball before you serve

Somehow it feels like maybe tennis players fancy themselves basketballers sometimes. I can’t help but think when they bounce the ball a few times before delivering a serve, “Isn’t that a basketball thing?” Some say it gives the player time to focus and develop a rhythm. But how much focus can you get from just bouncing the ball two or three times? For this reason, I believe it’s just one of those traditions that you do just because it’s been a part of the routine for a long time.

 

Ugly free throws

It’s unbelieve how unconventional some people can make the art of throwing a free throw. Don Nelson, Rick Barry, Joakim Noah, Chris Dudley and Jamaal Wilkes are all weird. Like every other player doing a free throw, they go up to the free-throw line and aim to shoot successfully but that’s as far as the comparisons can go. Their style and approach are out of the ordinary and nothing compared to what other players do. Still, it works for them.

I may not understand why they do what they do, but I know one thing. We all have weird habits. Most of the time we do them when nobody's watching. Athletes are the brave ones— they do them in front of everyone, judgement be damned.

Please share your thoughts on Twitter (@SportsMax_Carib) or in the comments section on Facebook (@SportsMax). Don’t forget to use #IAmNotAFan. Until next time!

Michael Jordan has been branded a liar by ex-Chicago Bulls team-mate Horace Grant over claims made in 'The Last Dance' series.

In the 10-part docuseries, co-produced by ESPN and Netflix, Jordan accused Grant – who won three NBA championships with the Bulls – of being a source for Sam Smith's book 'The Jordan Rules', which paints the Hall of Famer in an unflattering light.

But Grant, whose relationship with Jordan soured and who later left for the Orlando Magic, denied the accusations and said Jordan merely holds a "grudge".

"Lie, lie, lie. If MJ had a grudge with me, let's settle this like men," Grant said on ESPN 1000 radio. 

"Let's talk about it. Or we can settle it another way. But yet and still, he goes out and puts this lie out that I was the source behind [The Jordan Rules]. 

"Sam Smith and I have always been great friends. We're still great friends. But the sanctity of that locker room, I would never put anything personal out there. 

"The mere fact that Sam Smith was an investigative reporter. That he had to have two sources, two, to write a book, I guess. Why would MJ just point me out?

"It's only a grudge, man. I'm telling you, it was only a grudge. And I think he proved that during this so-called documentary. When if you say something about him, he's going to cut you off, he's going to try to destroy your character."

The legendary Scottie Pippen, who was beside Jordan for each of the Bulls' six championships in an eight-year span, was another ex-player to appear in the documentary who was supposedly unhappy with his portrayal.

In one episode, Jordan said Pippen was "selfish" over his decision to delay foot surgery that saw him miss the start of the 1997-98 season.

"I have never seen a quote-unquote number two guy, as decorated as Scottie Pippen, portrayed so badly," added Grant, who suggested that the documentary was not a true reflection of events given the role Jordan's production company had in the making of the show.

"When that so-called documentary is about one person, basically, and he has the last word on what's going to be put out there…it's not a documentary.

"It's his narrative of what happens in the last, quote-unquote, dance. That's not a documentary because a whole bunch of things was cut out, edited out. So that's why I call it a so-called documentary."

Grant said that Jordan has a history of holding grudges, adding: "My point is, he said that I was the snitch, but yet and still after 35 years he brings up his rookie year going into one of his team-mates' rooms and seeing [drugs] and women.

"Why the hell did he want to bring that up? What's that got to do with anything? I mean, if you want to call somebody a snitch, that's a damn snitch right there."

Lionel Messi plays "different football to the others" and outranks Diego Maradona, Brazilian great Ronaldo and even US basketball superstar Michael Jordan in the sporting pantheon, according to Robert Prosinecki.

Barcelona and Argentina maestro Messi is "surely" the best footballer of all time, former Real Madrid and Barca playmaker Prosinecki claimed.

Prosinecki said in an interview with Stats Perform News that Messi, who has scored over 600 goals for Barcelona, still finishes top of the pile when the career of Chicago Bulls legend and six-time NBA champion Jordan is taken into account.

"It is different, basketball and football. But Messi is surely for me the best," said Prosinecki.

"He is a player who has made differences for many years in Barcelona. He has won everything he could win. He scored many goals and assisted many times too. He plays different football to the others."

Former Croatia midfield marauder Prosinecki knows some still look to Messi's fellow Argentinian Maradona when judging the greats, as well as two-time World Cup winner Ronaldo.

Prosinecki and Ronaldo were briefly team-mates at Camp Nou.

"Maybe some people will say Maradona, Ronaldo... I don't know," Prosinecki said. "There have been amazing players. They are from two different eras. For me he [Messi] is the best one."

According to Prosinecki's verdict, Messi and Brazilian Ronaldo are players that have shown themselves capable and willing to take on teams single-handedly.

"They are different to others. Ronaldo is surely one of the best," Prosinecki said.

"Some people would say Cristiano Ronaldo, but [Brazilian Ronaldo] didn't just play at Barcelona.

"He also had some amazing seasons at Inter. He used to beat rivals almost himself alone. Incredible. They are players who make differences. At Real Madrid too. Where didn't he perform?

"For sure he was a great player. However, if I have to say one, for me the best is Leo Messi."

Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James said he is "definitely not giving up on the season" amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The NBA was suspended indefinitely in March due to the COVID-19 crisis, which has wreaked havoc across the globe.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver is reportedly exploring the possibility of holding the entire postseason in one location – Las Vegas, while there has been talk the competition could head straight into the playoffs.

The Lakers had played 63 of the 82-game regular season when the campaign was halted, Los Angeles boasting a Western Conference-best 49-14 record and James is eager to return.

"Definitely not giving up on the season," James said. "Not only myself and my team-mates, the Lakers organisation, we want to play.

"There's a lot of players that I know personally that want to play. And obviously, we don't ever want to jeopardise the health of any of our players or any of the players' families and so on and so on.

"This is a pandemic that we have no idea [about]. We can't control it."

"I know we all miss it," said the three-time NBA champion. "I'd be sitting here lying if I said we don't."

After a difficult first season in Los Angeles, James had returned to his brilliant best for the Lakers in 2019-20 – the veteran's performances catapulting him into the mix for a fifth MVP award.

At the time of the NBA suspending the league, James had been averaging 25.7 points, 10.6 assists and 7.9 rebounds per game for the Lakers.

Sports are slowly returning following the coronavirus outbreak, with Germany's Bundesliga resuming behind closed doors over the weekend, while UFC 249 took place without fans in Jacksonville, Florida.

"We're seeing a lot of sporting events, UFC, soccer, we're hearing baseball's about to get going in a little bit," James added. "You know, I want to get back to playing. I love to play the game of basketball. I know how inspiring the game of basketball is.

"I know how inspiring sport is, itself. As soon as possible, when we can get back out there, we'd love to bring the game of basketball back to our fans."

James also revealed he started training to be an NFL player during the NBA's lockout in 2011.

"Myself and my trainer, we really started to actually train to be a football player when it came to like October and November," James said. "We started to clock our times with the 40's. We started to add a little bit more in our bench presses and things of that nature."

"The thoughts came into my mind. Never having the ability to finish my high school career playing my senior year I have dreams all the time about playing football."

LeBron James believes his "best assets work perfectly" with Michael Jordan as the Los Angeles Lakers superstar talked about playing alongside the Chicago Bulls great.

Debate in the NBA is often centred on who is the best player of all time – James or Jordan.

Jordan, 57, won six NBA championships, as many Finals MVP's and five Most Valuable Player awards during a remarkable career with the Bulls.

James has three titles to his name – two with the Miami Heat and one with the Cleveland Cavaliers – and three Finals MVP honours, while he is a four-time Most Valuable Player recipient.

Following the conclusion of ESPN's 10-part docuseries – 'The Last Dance' – focused on the Bulls team that won the 1997-98 NBA championship to complete a second three-peat in eight years, James fantasized about being Jordan's team-mate.

"Me personally the way I play the game -- team first -- I feel like my best assets work perfectly with Mike," the 35-year-old said in a video via Uninterrupted's YouTube Channel on Monday.

"Mike is an assassin. When it comes to playing the game of basketball, scoring the way he scored the ball [then] my ability to pass, my ability to read the game plays and plays and plays in advance."

James added: "I saw the things [Scottie Pippen] was able to do with Mike, I just think it would've been a whole 'nother level.

"Pip was one of my favourite players...it would've been a whole 'nother level with me being a point forward with me being that point forward alongside of him during those Chicago runs."

James also remembered taking part in Jordan's annual summer camp at UC-Santa Barbara after being drafted as the number one pick in 2003.

"We used to play around 9 p.m. The camp would end…and we would stay along with the college kids that he would invite," James said. "We would get a good-ass run in for about an hour, an hour-15. I was on the same team with MJ and we didn't lose a game."

Every now and then I need a good laugh. You know the hearty ones that make it difficult to speak or even breathe? Cringey American Idol auditions do that for me. They’re my guilty pleasure. While I watch contestants confidently sing off-key, I consider many things. Things like, did the contestants consult friends before auditioning? If they did, it’s likely that their friends weren’t being honest.

As of late, it seems like lovers of sports are longing for a chance to laugh too. They miss the excitement of live games; the highs, the lows and the unforeseen. To compensate, some are forced to watch reruns while others recollect fond memories of sports on social media. Almost immediately, I started scrolling through their virtual memory lane. I didn’t have to scroll far before I saw someone confess to missing, “NBA players missing a free throw and then high-fiving all their teammates.”

After reading it again and again, I could see how similar it was to my guilty pleasure. If he’s no good at free throws why high-five him?

I wanted to see it in action for myself. My search revealed numerous videos of Andre Drummond. Drummond is an American basketball player who was drafted by the Detroit Pistons in 2012. One specific video showed him missing several free throws at games in the 2017/18 NBA season. Nevertheless, his teammates kept high-fiving him. Here’s why I think high-fiving players who miss free throws doesn't work.

First of all, viewers are going to wonder what the hell is wrong with a team that doesn't mind losing. They may get the impression that you don’t know what a high-five is. A high five is a mini celebration. It’s done when someone accomplishes something. Missing a free throw is not an accomplishment. It’s time for improvement and the player missing the free throws deserves to know that.

Sometimes, players get not one, but two or even three chances at a free-throw. When they miss the first one, they go in for a high-five. But then they miss a second and go in for another high five. Somebody is getting duped. Either the teammates or the person missing the free throws isn’t seeing the plot. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice …

Naturally, teammates want to encourage each other on the court, I get that. But here’s the thing about hope. Hope is a future concept. It cannot be true, it can only become true. Neither can hope be false, it can only turn out to be false. A high-five, in this case, is a gesture of hope. Teammates hope that the player will make the next free throw. Still, there’s a probability that what is being hoped for (successful free throws) will not happen. It leaves too much room for disappointment.

I think high-fives are also a way of sparing the free thrower's feelings. We are all guilty of it. We’re afraid of hurting other people's feelings. Take, for instance, a couple going out on a date. The woman gets dolled up, she feels iffy about her outfit. She proceeds to ask her partner for their opinion. “Does this dress make me look fat?” Her partner responds and says the dress suits her well. During the date, the woman’s dress rips because the fabric was under too much pressure. Chances are the woman will doubt her partner’s opinion the next time around, if she even asks for their opinion again. Similarly, sparing the feelings of the player can backfire and affect relationships within the team.

High-fiving players who miss free throws can give the impression that they’re doing their best.  For me, you have to be aware of your faults and flaws to improve them. When you believe that you’re doing okay, you will disregard opportunities for improvement. Being stagnant can leave you with humiliating results.

Let me skip over to cricket for an example of this. Courtney Walsh, one of the greatest pace bowlers of all time used to get cheered for surviving a ball when he bat. Or for leaving the ball alone, can you believe it, leaving the ball alone. The result, Walsh never learned to bat. Never tried very hard at it and today holds the record for the most ducks in the history of Test cricket. Imagine that!.

Drummond improved his free throws drastically but some may not be as fortunate as him.

NBA players missing free throws and then high-fiving all their teammates is a no-no for me. I am not a fan.

Please share your thoughts on Twitter (@SportsMax_Carib) or in the comments section on Facebook (@SportsMax). Don’t forget to use #IAmNotAFan. Until next time!

Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta believes the NBA season will be completed following the coronavirus crisis.

The 2019-20 NBA campaign has been postponed since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has wreaked havoc globally – pushing the Olympic Games and Euro 2020 back a year.

At the time of postponement, Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Eastern Conference-leading Milwaukee Bucks (53-12) owned the best record in the league, ahead of LeBron James' Los Angeles Lakers (49-14), the Toronto Raptors (46-18) and Kawhi Leonard's Los Angeles Clippers (44-20).

It remains to be seen when, and if, the season will resume as NBA commissioner Adam Silver considers various options.

Fertitta met with United States president Donald Trump at the White House on Monday and when asked what would happen with basketball, the former said: "I think what they're doing is waiting to see what happens in certain states and if we're going to be able to play.

"Making sure the virus continues to go in the right direction in the next few weeks. And I think that if things are going in the way that it's going, I think the NBA, the commissioner Adam Silver, who has done an unbelievable job through this, and the 30 owners will make the decision to try to start the season up again."

After being asked by Trump if the season would be finished or not, Fertitta replied: "I think that there's talk about finishing the season playing X number of games.

"The players need to play to get paid, and right now they're taking a 25 per cent pay cut. They own 50 per cent of our revenue, unlike the other sports. And so they want that revenue, even if it's not the people-in-the-stands revenue, so they can get paid."

There has been talk that the NBA could head straight into the playoffs if the season resumes.

"I think that we would play some games just to get it going again and create interest and then go right into the playoffs," Fertitta said. "But I think it'll be great for America. We're all missing sports and everybody wants to see these great NBA teams."

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