Eric Freeman

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Eric Freeman is a contributor to Ball Don't Lie. As a lifetime fan of the Golden State Warriors, he has learned not to set high expectations for his favorite teams. Eric is also a co-founder of The Classical. He lives in San Francisco.

  • Basketball star Elena Delle Donne comes out as gay with little fanfare

    Both a WNBA and Olympic star, Delle Donne has been a vocal advocate for LGBT rights. She will publicly come out in a profile with Vogue this month, according to OutSports. (Getty)
    Both a WNBA and Olympic star, Delle Donne has been a vocal advocate for LGBT rights. (Getty)

    Women’s basketball star Elena Delle Donne, a key member of Team USA in Rio de Janeiro and the WNBA’s reigning MVP as a member of the Chicago Sky, has come out as gay via a new article in Vogue. The news is perhaps most interesting not for its content, but the way in which it was delivered. Delle Donne’s sexual orientation is revealed with no special attention in the piece. In fact, Delle Donne appears to have been surprised by the timing of its publication.

    Phil Thompson of the Chicago Tribune was the first to relay the report. The Vogue article is not yet available online, but OutSports.com has the relevant passage:

    “Elena divides her time between traveling with her team, the Chicago Sky, and her family’s home in the rolling green landscape of Wilmington, Delaware. She and her fiancee, Amanda Clifton, keep apartments in both Chicago and Wilmington.”

    Although Delle Donne does not explicitly

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  • Manu Ginobili emotional after his likely last game in Argentina

    The 2016 Rio Olympics could be Manu Ginobili’s final games with Argentina. (Getty)

    Manu Ginobili is returning to the San Antonio Spurs for at least one more season, but this summer nonetheless represents the end of a notable chapter of his basketball career. The 39-year-old Ginobili has not announced his retirement from international play, but the Olympics figure to be his final tournament given his age. One of the best non-American players in basketball history will attempt to add to his incredible international legacy in Rio.

    [Follow Dunks Don’t Lie on Tumblr: The best slams from all of basketball]

    Like many teams, Argentina played several exhibitions on home soil in advance of the Olympics. The last of those contests, an 86-79 win over fellow medal contender France, came Monday night in Córdoba. It was almost certainly Ginobili’s last competitive game in his home country, and he understandably got emotional after the final buzzer. Take a look (video via Spurs Zone):

    Ginobili’s

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  • New details on what went wrong for USA Basketball in 2004

    Larry Brown (AP)
    Larry Brown (AP)

    USA Basketball’s senior men’s national team enters the Rio de Janeiro Olympics as beyond-overwhelming favorites to claim gold for the third straight games. It’s remarkable to believe that Team USA looked in disarray a decade ago. Two straight poor performances at the 2002 World Championships in Indianapolis and the 2004 Olympics in Athens turned the dream into a nightmare, and a loss in Mike Krzyzewski first major tournament in 2006 didn’t exactly inspire confidence either.

    [Follow Dunks Don’t Lie on Tumblr: The best slams from all of basketball]

    The Americans’ latest period of dominance has afforded the opportunity to look back on what went so wrong during that embarrassing stretch. Bill Leopold and Ben Teitelbaum have put together an oral history involving several of the era’s key members and observers for NBCOlympics.com, and they list a number of factors that went into those poor performances. But the most salient is the team’s poor fit with head coach Larry Brown:

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  • Here's Craig Sager with Team USA after its final exhibition

    TNT announcer Craig Sager waves to crowd during the second half of an exhibition basketball game between team USA and Nigeria, Monday, Aug. 1, 2016, in Houston. (James Nielsen/Houston Chronicle via AP)
    TNT announcer Craig Sager waves to crowd during the second half of an exhibition basketball game between team USA and Nigeria, Monday, Aug. 1, 2016, in Houston. (James Nielsen/Houston Chronicle via AP)

    The sports world got some bad news last week when it was announced that broadcaster and reporter Craig Sager would not be able to work men’s and women’s basketball for NBC at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro this month. Sager had planned to work his fifth straight Olympics despite his ongoing fight with leukemia, but doctors determined that he would need to undergo a third bone marrow transplant.

    [Follow Dunks Don’t Lie on Tumblr: The best slams from all of basketball]

    Thankfully, Sager was able to spend some time with USA Basketball before the men’s national team left for Brazil. Team USA played its fifth and final pre-tournament exhibition on Monday at the Toyota Center in Houston. Sager is being treated at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center a mere five miles away, so he stopped by the game

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  • The Warriors are inviting trusted veteran JaVale McGee to camp

    JaVale McGee could bring some levity to Oakland. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

    The Golden State Warriors have a reputation as one of the NBA’s most joyous and watchable teams, but this summer has threatened to make their 2016-17 season deathly serious. The acquisition of Kevin Durant has cast them as villains, to the point where many of the same NBA fans who looked upon the Warriors with awe throughout their 73-win season will watch them in the hope of seeing them lose this year. Anything less than a title will make the season a failure, and they’ll probably feel that pressure at various points from October through June.

    [Follow Dunks Don’t Lie on Tumblr: The best slams from all of basketball]

    If the Warriors need a dash of levity, it’s probably not going to come from their bench. While Sixth Man of the Year candidate Andre Iguodala is still around (potentially as a starter), fun veterans like Marreese Speights and Leandro Barbosa have been replaced by the permanent scowl of David West

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  • Adam Silver doesn't love the 1+1 deals signed by LeBron and Durant

    Adam Silver sees lots of risks in two-year contracts with player options. (AFP Photo/Thearon W. Henderson)

    One of the weirdest things about Kevin Durant’s decision to leave the Oklahoma City Thunder for the Golden State Warriors is that he’s not committed to his new club past the 2016-17 season. Durant signed a two-year deal with Golden State that includes a player option on the second season, and no one believes he’ll actually accept it. That will make Durant a free agent when he has 10 years of service and the salary cap jumps to over $100 million, at which point he will be able to sign a contract that could total more than $200 million.

    [Follow Dunks Don’t Lie on Tumblr: The best slams from all of basketball]

    LeBron James has signed similar deals with the Cleveland Cavaliers in each of the past two offseasons, and he figures to do the same thing in upcoming weeks in advance of getting his own record-shattering contract next summer. James and Durant are the only two players who have

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  • Kareem Abdul-Jabbar slams Trump, represents Muslims in DNC speech

    The sports world has had relatively few representatives at this week’s Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, but those who have spoken on stage have largely come from basketball. Jason and Jarron Collins, friends of Chelsea Clinton from their time at Stanford, spoke on Monday in support of Hillary Clinton’s candidacy for president and LGBTQ Americans. Yet that short speech will not get nearly the same attention as what basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar said on Thursday night.

    The 69-year-old Hall of Famer, named a U.S. cultural ambassador by then-Secretary of State Clinton in 2012, opened his speech with a joke at Donald Trump’s expense and a reference to another all-time NBA great:


    OK, so Trump voters who think that people who speak out for black rights divide the country definitely aren’t going to like this joke. But it seems pretty clear that a good portion of the Wells Fargo Center crowd loved it.

    In truth, this line was not representative of Abdul-Jabbar’s speech. He

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  • Craig Sager will not cover Olympics due to leukemia treatment

    Craig Sager accepts the Jimmy V Award for Perserverance during the 2016 ESPYS. (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
    Craig Sager accepts the Jimmy V Award for Perserverance during the 2016 ESPYS. (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

    Turner Sports reporter Craig Sager has been a presence on more TV networks than usual this year as he continues to fight leukemia. In addition to his return to TNT for his usual NBA coverage, Sager covered his first-ever NBA Finals game on a one-day loan to ABC in June and appeared at the ESPYs this month to accept the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance. He was also set to continue his relationship with NBC at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics next month, continuing a run as sideline reporter for men’s and women’s basketball that began at the Sydney games in 2000.

    [Follow Dunks Don’t Lie on Tumblr: The best slams from all of basketball]

    NBC announced Thursday that Sager will no longer serve that role due to a setback in his recovery. Here is the full text of their short news release:

    Craig Sager has returned to MD Anderson to continue his fight against leukemia. He is preparing for a third

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  • Here's Karl-Anthony Towns dunking on all the children

    In 2005, my friends and I took great interest in a McSweeney’s article titled “A Realistic Assessment of How Many 12-Year-Olds I Could Beat Up Before They Overtook Me.” It is exactly what it sounds like — author Matt Schweiger investigates how he, a 21-year-old of fairly average size, would do in a fight against an ever-growing number of pre-teen boys. He defines what kind of 12-year-old he would face, how he would attack them, and where he would begin to falter. Schweiger settles on a total of seven 12-year-olds, and it’s hard to disagree with his logic once you see how he gets there.

    [Follow Dunks Don’t Lie on Tumblr: The best slams from all of basketball]

    Minnesota Timberwolves center and reigning Rookie of the Year Karl-Anthony Towns is apparently trying to test his own version of this game. Here is a video of him dribbling right through and dunking on several children at a basketball camp:

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  • The NBPA is funding health insurance for most retired players

    Michele Roberts speaks at a union event during the 2015 NBA Finals. (Garrett W. Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)
    Michele Roberts speaks at a union event during the 2015 NBA Finals. (Garrett W. Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)

    Michele Roberts has attempted to reform many aspects of the NBPA since she became its executive director in July 2014, but one of her most aggressive pushes has been to connect with the league’s many retired players. She has gone beyond basic introductions and newsletters, working to extend many benefits to retirees who may need the help to keep themselves healthy. That has been clearest in the decision to fund heart screenings for retired players, but there have been other efforts, as well.

    [Follow Dunks Don’t Lie on Tumblr: The best slams from all of basketball]

    The players’ union unveiled one of its most comprehensive efforts to help former players on Wednesday. As announced via press release, the union has voted to fund health insurance for all retired players with at least three seasons of NBA service:

    The National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) announced today that

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