Zone Blitz: Did the NBA opening night tell us anything about the season to come?

By George Davis, Maria Ramharack& Lance Whittaker October 23, 2019

The LA Clippers secured a big win over rivals LA Lakers on the opening night of the NBA.  Is it a sign of things to come?

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  • Pelicans G Jrue Holiday donating remaining salary to start social justice fund Pelicans G Jrue Holiday donating remaining salary to start social justice fund

    New Orleans Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday and his wife, Lauren, announced on Wednesday they are donating his salary for the remainder of the NBA season to start the Jrue and Lauren Holiday Social Justice Impact Fund.

    Holiday's game cheques could be worth up to $5.3million between eight regular-season games and potential playoff games. The money will be used to aid communities in New Orleans, Indianapolis and the Los Angeles area. 

    "Honestly when it came down to it, it was me and my wife talking about what we could do to kind of further this movement and progression and being able to help out our community and just being able to help," Jrue Holiday told ESPN.

    Most of the money will be dedicated to nonprofits, black-owned businesses and citywide initiatives that seek to bring about equitable outcomes for black and brown communities in New Orleans, Los Angeles and Indianapolis. 

    Another $1m will go to black-owned businesses in more than 10 other cities, while $500,000 will go to institutions of higher learning, including historically black colleges and universities.

    Holiday is a Los Angeles native and played collegiately at UCLA for two seasons. He ranked second on the Pelicans with 19.6 points per game when the season was paused on March 12 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

    Jrue's brothers, Justin and Aaron, both play for the Indiana Pacers.

  • Bolt, you’re great, don’t come back – how’s the music thing coming? Bolt, you’re great, don’t come back – how’s the music thing coming?

    Sprint sensation Usain Bolt told Variety Magazine he’d consider coming back to the track, but there are other endeavours I would like to see the great sprinter explore. He has nothing more to prove on the track.

    When Bolt made an appearance on OnStage to promote the ‘riddim’ he produced for his Champagne’s campaign, Wilford Williams, the host, asked the record holder why he got into music.

    “I was always into music. Music has always been a part of my life throughout my career of track and field. But with the music thing enuh, it’s not easy to deal with these artistes; it’s not really an easy thing,” said Bolt.

    Bolt continued to say that he’ll wait to see how well the riddim does before seeing if putting effort and time into music is worth it. But music is always worth it.

    I only knew Tivoli Gardens as a political garrison, until I learned about Passa Passa. On Wednesday nights. Thousands of people would gather in the streets of West Kingston to dance and listen to music played by the sound system.

    An article titled, ‘Happy Birthday Passa Passa!’ gave me a sense of how powerful music, like sports, can be in uniting people. Two selectors (Djs) from the sound system Swatch International were featured in the article— Nico Skill and Maestro.

    Nicholas “Nico Skill” Smith explained how music reduced violence in the area.

    “Before Passa Passa, there was crazy war going on in Kingston, in the Denham Town, Tivoli area and all these places. Every minute, we had something flare up. But since Passa Passa came about, we’ve been playing and it’s been drawing such a huge crowd, the violence in the community is no more. Communities have been fighting, but not in the Tivoli area,” said Nico Skill.

    Carl “Maestro” Shelley co-signed Nico’s opinions.

    “Jamaica was on the verge of a dancehall breakdown. Fun and unity had deteriorated. Different people from different areas, different communities that shared different political views, did not cooperate. We introduced Passa Passa and it became a way of unifying the garrisons, the communities that make up Jamaica’s inner city.”

    Music (however it’s delivered) can bring out the good in people and places. Making it worthwhile.

    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!

  • Pacers star Oladipo considering NBA restart U-turn Pacers star Oladipo considering NBA restart U-turn

    Less than two weeks ago, Indiana Pacers star guard Victor Oladipo said he would sit out the NBA's restart in order to rehab his surgically repaired right knee. 

    However, on Wednesday the two-time All-Star conceded he may be changing his mind after practicing with his teammates in Orlando, Florida. 

    ''It was hard for me to assess where I was,'' Oladipo said on a conference call. ''But being able to come down here and practice with my guys at a high level, I think there's a strong possibility that I might play. I want to be smart because I want to play the next 10 years.'' 

    Oladipo is working his way back from a ruptured quadriceps tendon suffered in January 2019, which sidelined him for 12 months.

    He returned this January, and appeared in just 13 games, averaging 13.8 points, 3.2 rebounds and 3.0 assists while shooting a career-worst 39.1 percent before the season was halted due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

    Citing his injury history, Oladipo announced on July 3 he was opting out for the remainder of the season.

    Last week, he then informed the Pacers he would join the team in the bubble at Disney World and practice with the team, but not play.

    But that plan appears to be changing.

    ''I was always going to come down here and test it out,'' he said. ''When I made my decision, I wasn't able to play five-on-five, wasn't able to get up and down the floor and wasn't able to do things at a high level, so I didn't think I would be able to play.

    "But after coming down here and working with the guys, rebounding, running and jumping, I'm trending in a positive direction. So hopefully when it's time to play, I can play.'' 

    The first of Indiana’s eight seeding games before the playoffs is on August 1 against the Philadelphia 76ers. 

    The Pacers are fifth in the Eastern Conference at 39-26, and if Oladipo decides to play when the season resumes, he would be the second starter to return to the team with Malcolm Brogdon deeming himself healthy following a hip injury sustained on March 4, as well as being cleared from coronavirus. 

    "I know what I'm capable of," Oladipo said. "I know what standard I have to get to. I know how my body needs to feel in order to perform at the level that I'm capable of performing." 

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