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Playing His First NBA Game: New Orleans Pelicans Rookie Zion Williamson Excited & Sleepless

   

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The anticipation is building up as Zion Williamson from the New Orleans Pelicans is about to debut in an NBA regular-season on Wednesday. 

 

“Honestly, I don’t know if I’m going to get sleep,” Williamson said Tuesday. “I’ll be too excited thinking about my first NBA game,” Williamson said.

In good spirit, Zion prepares himself against the San Antonio Spurs and jokingly addressed the TV cameras that were catching him as he fights off sleep on a bench during previous matches. Williamson stated that he was merely “meditating.” 

 

On a serious note, he was asked about the long-awaited debut, and Williamson recognized that this game would be different. 

“This is my first NBA game. This is business now,” he said. 

 

His debut is set to be in a sold-out Smoothie King Center. Meanwhile, his teammate, Brandon Ingram, said he anticipates that every home game until the end of the season will be sold out due to Williamson’s debut. 

 

Williamson added that he had received positive feedback from the people around the city. 

 

“It’s been great man. The city is beautiful. The people are beautiful as well. They’re welcoming. I feel like they adopted me a bit. They show love everywhere I go. They tell me they can’t wait until I get out there,” Williamson said.

Will He Rise More Than To The Publics’ Expectations?

The Pelican rookie player also said that the waiting process has been nerve-racking as he had surgery last October of 2019 to fix the meniscus in his right knee. Wednesday will mark nearly 13 weeks after the surgery. 

The organization took Williamson’s rehab very seriously to make sure he is 100 percent okay when he joins the game. However, the rehab process, along with its duration, took a toll on Williamson because he missed 44 games of the regular season. With the Pelicans moving forward, Zion says he is looking forward to joining and have some fun. 

 

“There’s a lot of times when I wanted to punch a wall or kick chairs because it’s frustrating. To not be able to move your body the way you want to, not to make any athletic movements; I mean, it’s tough. Especially because I’m 19 and I haven’t even played my first NBA game. It was tough, but I battled through it,” Williamson said. 

 

Williamson also said that the rehab process included learning how to land differently than what he was accustomed to. 

 

“I think it’s not landing straight legs, kind of don’t let all my force go into my legs. It’s a lot of technical stuff. I really couldn’t explain it to you, to be honest. I could probably show you on a video better,” he said. 

Lastly, Williamson has set expectations for himself as he enters the major playoffs. He mentioned that all he wants to achieve is help his team continue its winning streak. 

 

“We did go through a bad stretch, but things have turned around. Everybody’s been playing better. I’m just looking to go join in and have some fun,” Williamson said. 


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Basketball

#BLM: Why the NBA Strike Matters to America’s Labor Movement

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The August 26 strike illustrated the power of striking and the influence of athletes advocating for a cause beyond their leagues. The world of sports blew up in protest as teams, and sports stars took a stand against the police shooting incident of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Among all athlete protesters, the Milwaukee Bucks’ players were the first to announce that they would not compete in their scheduled playoff game against Orlando Magic just before the first-round match. Soon after, all other NBA teams joined the wildcat strike.

Starting from a powerful league such as the NBA advocating for #BLM, more influential athletes and clubs followed suit, including some MLS, NHL, NFL, MLB, and WNBA teams. Among other Major League Baseball teams, the New York Mets and the Miami Marlins staged a silent protest as they placed a #BLM shirt on the home plate. Even the tennis icon, Naomi Osaka, announced that she would not be playing her game in the Western & Southern Open, which caused the league to suspend the match.

The NBA officials provided some compromises, including establishing a social injustice union in the league and the use of numerous basketball courts around the country as voting locations. Playoff games resumed two days after these terms were put into place. This just goes to show how the NBA players were able to successfully demand concessions from the league’s management as an effect of temporarily folding the playoff season.

Beyond promoting awareness on the #BLM movement, the NBA strike has brought about the idea that striking could result in changes beneficial for employees experiencing injustices from their employers. During the Trump administration, the number of strikes rose radically through union-led workplace walkouts. This includes the teacher’s strikes in the course of 2018 to 2019, the New York taxi drivers’ strike in 2017, and the longshore workers’ strike in 2020. 

These unionized workers not only rally for improvements in their own workplaces, but also for causes that go beyond their personal benefit. Among these are campaigns against the Muslim ban on cab drivers and the Black Lives Matter movement. 

Unionized workers have more confidence in participating in activism because they are protected by national labor laws that extend to strikes and work stoppages. They are part of organizations strengthened by solidarity in an aim to protect workers from the oppression of employers. However, studies show that unions have been going more political in terms of mobilizing their workers to vote, encouraging them to gain more knowledge in politics, and even moderate their sentiments on racial resentment. 

The #BLM movement rallied together unionized athletes to participate in protest for a growing social cause. It struck the whole world as a major league halted to challenge political issues surrounding today’s society. This serves as a clear reminder of the significance brought by labor unions towards more progressive and democratic politics. Movement mobilization and partnerships can create a transformative political stand that will pave the way for future proceedings.

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Los Angeles Lakers Lead 2-1 Past Trail Blazers

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Los Angeles superstars Anthony Davis and LeBron James lead the Lakers to another win against the Trail Blazers on Saturday night. Through a stunning performance of dominating defense, the Lakers now lead Portland 2-1.

Power Plays

The Lakers defeated the high-scoring Trail Blazers in two straight games after a roaring James scored 38 points, made 12 rebounds, and eight assists, combined with Davis’ 29 points, 23 of which were scored in the second half. The game ended at 116-108 in favor of LA, who is now starting to look like the best team in the West.

As the Lakers rallied to conquer Game 2, Anthony Davis stepped up to the plate and shared a message to his teammate. “I told LeBron at half I’ve got to take some of the pressure off of him,” said Davis.

Portland has been outstripped of its number one spot after losing Game 1 to Los Angeles. The second game is the Trail Blazers’ highest-scoring game in the series, yet the effort wasn’t enough to overcome the impressive performance of the Lakers.

Scoring Points

Damian Lillard raked in 34 points even with a dislocated finger, and CJ McCollum contributed 28 points for Portland. The Trail Blazers tweaked their lineup, playing a big starting five with Hassan Whiteside and Jusuf Nurkic. This strategy kicked-off a great first quarter for Portland as they managed to ease through the second quarter with a lead. McCollum scored 13 points in the quarter, capped with a three-pointer at the buzzer ending the first half at 57-53.

James continued to execute 5 for 6 for 15 within an eight-minute period in the second quarter, preventing the Trail Blazers from outscoring the Lakers. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and James added a total of 12 consecutive points to pull the lead down to six at 70-64. Davis answered back with three straight jumpers and a dunk, tieing the game at 72. 

Los Angeles went on a shooting spree with a 10 to nothing run that easily ranked up the scoring to 89-78 as they entered the fourth quarter leading by seven points. 

Catching Up

The Trail Blazers quickly caught up and were only down by three in the fourth quarter with nine and a half minutes of playtime. But then, Davis re-entered the game all fired up, making perimeter shots and dunks, closing the period with 12 points.

A pressing defense handled the rest for the Lakers as the Trail Blazers were put off-track, making only three field goals in over seven minutes in the quarter. Los Angeles was able to escalate the lead to 109-98, with only over 2 minutes left in the game.

Everything came down to the fourth quarter, in which Lillard’s dislocated finger started to affect his ball-handling and shooting, causing the veteran to miss all four attempts from the three-point arch at the crucial last quarter. 

Where It Boils Down

Tery Stotts, Portland Trail Blazers’ coach, said, “It came down to a fourth-quarter game. Anthony Davis made his perimeter shots, and we came up empty too often.”

The Trail Blazers will attempt to make a comeback and even the series on Game 4.

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Why The Rockets Are Upset

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The Houston Rockets were completely thrown off postgame by an offensive foul call on Oklahoma City Thunder’s Chris Paul because of a physical incident that happened at overtime. 

Oklahoma was leading by 11 points late into overtime, with 1 minute and 20 seconds left on the clock when an offensive foul was called against Paul for throwing an elbow below the belt of the Rockets’ small forward, Ben McLemore, while he was trying to create some space to make a jump shot.

The Rockets lost Game 3 by 12 points at 119-107. Although further review from the officials would not have changed how the game ended, the Rockets were particularly vocal about their disappointment on how the situation was handled by the officiating crew. 

Review Denied 

After an initial call for an offensive was made, Houston coach Mike D’Antoni requested the game officials to re-evaluate and escalate as necessary since the view from the Rockets bench seemed as if it was a flagrant foul. However, the crew did not submit to his appeal. 

He also did not receive any explanation from the officiating crew on the lack of further review. D’Antoni’s negative reaction towards the call got him a technical, which further added to the outburst happening on the court.

In a postgame interview, D’Antoni was asked if he thought there was any chance the NBA management would intervene to review the sequence and impose disciplinary actions. However, he said that he was not certain. 

D’Antoni claims to have just asked the referee to go over and review it. He accedes that they might have been right. Despite the unclarity, he says he knows his guy got hit in a bad place with an elbow, so management ought to look at it.

Houston star James Harden had a pretty good sight of the incident as he was seated close by from the sideline also expressed his view. “I saw what happened. Any time that happens, it should be reviewed, especially when it’s not around a lot of people.”

Harden pointed out, “Especially if somebody gets hit in their private area. We ain’t got anywhere to go, so it should have been reviewed. It wasn’t, and I don’t know why not.”

Intentional or Unintentional?

Nobody from the Rockets side claims that it was intentional, although they deem it proper for the sequence to be reviewed as it happened during a crucial part of the game.

Paul, on the other hand, clarified that the incident was completely unintentional, and it was just a physicality brought by the game as he was trying to get around McLemore.

Paul claims it was incidental and that it was a long time ago. He claims to have checked on Ben who was doing fine at the time.

What to Expect 

The series between the Houston Rockets vs. Oklahoma City Thunder are getting more heated and unexpectedly full of action. The Rockets currently lead the playoff series 2-1. 

With this new controversy concerning star player Chris Paul, everyone is anticipating the intensity of Game 4 on Monday as Oklahoma is looking to tie the series.

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