NBA

LeBron James to produce 'Shut Up and Dribble' Showtime series

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LeBron James is coupling his social activism with his new presence in Hollywood to create a three-part documentary series titled ‘Shut Up and Dribble’.

Showtime announced the series, which will in October, around the same time James will make his debut with the Los Angeles Lakers.

The series will provide “a powerful inside look at the changing role of athletes in our fraught cultural and political environment, through the lens of the NBA”, according to Showtime.

The title is based off a comment made by Fox News host Laura Ingraham, who told James to “shut up and dribble” after criticising him for his political commentary on United States President Donald Trump.

James is the executive producer of the series along with friend and business partner Maverick Carter, while Gotham Chopra, who worked with Kobe Bryant and Tom Brady on video projects, will serve as the director.

David Nevins, president and CEO of Showtime Networks Inc., said in a statement: “If being a star athlete is inherently a political experience, ‘Shut Up and Dribble’ tells that complex and dramatic story from the past to the present and from the inside out.

“LeBron James is one of many competitors whose place in the spotlight has led not to silence but perspective, and he, Maverick Carter and Gotham Chopra have given us an important, insightful docuseries that should bring their fans and fellow citizens to a higher level of discourse, rather than the dismissal satirised in the title.”

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NBA

Zhaire Smith becomes latest victim of the Philadelphia 76ers rookie curse

Jay Asser 7/08/2018
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Zhaire Smith was traded to the Sixers on draft night.

Zhaire Smith should have known that once he became the rookie the Philadelphia 76ers left draft night with, an injury was in his not-so-distant future.

And now, less than two months after he entered the league, Smith has suffered a fractured left foot while taking part in a development camp in Las Vegas, which will require surgery later this week, according to Yahoo Sports.

This is nothing new for the Sixers, who have lost one of their rookies for a prolonged period due to injury every year since 2013.

First it was Nerlens Noel, who, after being drafted sixth overall in 2013, missed the entire season to recover from knee surgery.

Then Joel Embiid missed not only his first year after being drafted third overall in 2014, but the following year too with a foot issue.

Ben Simmons continued the trend with a foot injury of his own to sit out all of 2016-17 after being drafted first overall.

Last year’s situation with Markelle Fultz, however, was by far the weirdest as a puzzling shoulder problem kept the first overall selection sidelined the first 68 games and altered his shooting form.

07 08 NBA

Of all the curses in sports, the voodoo on 76ers rookie is one of the most inexplicable. A lengthy title drought is considered a hex for many franchises, but winning a championship is extremely difficult and is often helped by luck.

Rookies getting injured every year in a mysterious manner during the offseason and then missing most, if not all of the season? That’s just too specific and improbable to be chalked up as a coincidence.

Smith nearly avoided this fate when he was drafted by the Phoenix Suns with 16th overall pick in this year’s draft, but was later traded to the Sixers for Mikal Bridges.

It’s unclear how long Smith will be out of action, but the injury is substantial enough that it continues Philadelphia’s terrible injury luck another year.

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LeBron James' I Promise School another reminder that he is much more than an athlete

Jay Asser 31/07/2018
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LeBron James opened the I Promise School in Akron on Monday.

LeBron James nearly became a statistic as a dropout during his childhood. Instead, he went on to put up gaudy statistics in the NBA.

Now that he has the means to help keep kids from a similar pitfall, he’s doing everything he can.

On Monday, LeBron opened up the I Promise School in his hometown of Akron, Ohio – an elementary school for 240 at-risk students.

The school is initially beginning with third and and fourth grade, and has a longer school day and longer school year than the normal public school to accelerate its students’ development.

The list of what the school offers is long and meaningful: free tuition; free uniforms; free transportation within two miles; free breakfast, lunch and snacks; college tuition for every graduating student; food pantry for families; GEDs and job placement services for parents; and a free bicycle and helmet.

There’s nothing half-way about the initiative. It isn’t a charter school – it’s a public school that’s partnered with the Akron Public Schools system, meaning it has structure and a curriculum that meets educational standards.

James didn’t have to do this. Physically, obviously. No one was forcing him. But he didn’t have to do it to have a positive impact off the court. He’s already done that as one of the most socially-aware superstars in sport.

From speaking out against social injustice, to paying for kids to attend college, to openly denouncing United States President Donald Trump, LeBron has been nothing short of a role model.

But he opened up this school anyways because he truly believes in the importance of what he’s doing. By investing in children and their future, James is proving that as great of a basketball player as he is – and he may be the best ever – he’s an even better human being.

The school is also a reminder that regardless of where LeBron is playing and no matter how Hollywood he gets, his heart will always be in Akron.

The championship he delivered to Cleveland and Ohio two years ago is the single greatest sporting achievement the region has ever seen, but his contributions to the community were never limited to a title and never will be.

Legacy is a word that’s tossed around plenty when LeBron’s name comes up, as is the case with other great athletes. But as passionately we discuss his standing in the history of basketball, we’ll never have to question his reputation as a person.

It doesn’t matter if it’s 10, 20 or 50 years down the road – even at this very moment, that’s more important than anything else.

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