‘Now This Is What I Do’: Inside the World of Athletes’ LinkedIn Pages

July/12/2018

Baron Davis gets bored like the rest of us, and when that happens, he does what we all do. Take, for instance, one night a couple of years back: He lounged on his couch, doing very little. He must have felt the type of sweeping boredom that has you mindlessly dig deep into your phone, scrolling through the Instagram feed, then opening Twitter and doing the same, then reflexively checking Instagram again.

What to do…

With no other choice, Davis, a retired 13-year NBA vet, opened up LinkedIn.

At first, he didn’t know how to use the app, didn’t understand its purpose. In fact, he’d long avoided it, despite so many push notifications. And yet, as he powered through on that night, something funny happened.

“I started seeing all these people, and I’m like, Connect, connect, connect, connect, connect, connect, connect,” he says in an interview with B/R. There were old friends, business partners and former teammates. He found that one marketing person who worked on that one commercial. That businessperson he’d admired. “I became obsessed with the app.”

Davis was an entrepreneur, and he longed for a way to utilize his resources to advance those interests. His company, Baron Davis Enterprises, looked for young innovators who wanted to help underserved communities. Davis attended business seminars, trying to learn and network. Only there was a problem: At most events, he recalls, hardly anybody would be there, or he’d be the only athlete there, or the only African American, and maybe there’d be one Asian person, one Indian person and one woman there, but not more. He wasn’t finding what—or whom—he was looking for.

Meanwhile, on LinkedIn, opportunities abound. There, Davis found a diverse group of budding entrepreneurs with varied interests and disposable income. Many of them happened to be athletes, updating the world on their latest endeavor, often a tech investment.

If LinkedIn hasn’t reached the ubiquity or popularity of Instagram or Twitter, it is undeniably, modestly, ascending across sports. It’s a funny development for a historically stuffy platform that houses online resumes and uninspired DMs. But maybe it’s not so surprising: Today, the winningest players in sports also fuel hot startups and grace the cover of Bloomberg Businessweek. LinkedIn is helping this new generation of business-minded athletes establish their second careers, often before their first ones come to an end.

Many athletes operate their own pages, complete with work histories and snazzy profile pictures. Agents and PR reps might write their bios, but players mostly do the rest: forging connections, returning direct messages, and sharing, liking and publishing stories. Now, in the midst of the NBA and NFL offseason, it’s especially busy. But even during the playing season, active players check LinkedIn every week; business, as Pacers forward Thaddeus Young says, is a year-round cycle.

The NBA champs are on there, with Steph Curry and Andre Iguodalaready to expand their portfolios. Metta World Peace has leadership skills formally endorsed by a former teammate, plus 121 others. David Robinson promotes the capital group he founded in 2008, though nobody can top Shaquille O’Neal‘s long list of post-retirement accomplishments.

Across sports, baseball’s all-time home run leader, Barry Bonds, has a neatly designed page, and Rangers pitcher Cole Hamels’ profile spotlights his freight management company. Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young, who co-founded an equity firm worth over $4 billion, has over 500 connections. Former New York Jet D’Brickashaw Ferguson, who’s making his way in finance, posts on the site nearly every week.

All of these people—and many more like them—are, as Thaddeus Young says, “high net-worth individuals.”

Harrison Barnes, for instance, is in the middle of a $94 million max contract. Barnes boasts a substantial experience history on LinkedIn, full of brand ambassadorships. He recalls outlining it himself a few years ago while riding on the Warriors team bus to practice. Andrew Bogut, James Michael McAdoo and [team community ambassador] Adonal Foyle all loved LinkedIn, and they implored Barnes to give it a try.

So on the bus that day, Barnes prepared to upload his profile photo. “A picture of me in a uniform?” he asked the bus. “No!” his teammates shouted back. “A business picture!”

Young himself is playing on a $54 million contract, and he has used some of that money to invest in budding tech companies. With the help of LinkedIn, he’s established himself as a legit businessman.

“It’s kind of like LeBron James,” Young says. “Obviously, we see him as the best basketball player in the world right now, but when everybody raves about him, they rave about not just his basketball skills, but his business mentality. That’s what I strive for.”

Young has an unofficial business partner in teammate Trevor Booker. “He throws me investor decks, and I throw him investor decks,” Young says.

Booker co-founded JB Fitzgerald, a venture capital firm with more than 100 employees. He may not carry the profile of a Curry or Kevin Durant, but he’s been in the league for eight seasons, will sign a new contract this summer and is committed to making sure his money goes to work for him. “Some guys say they’re entrepreneurs and they want this and that, but they don’t take it serious the way we do,” Booker says. “That’s one thing that I pride myself on.”

Booker notes that some of JB Fitzgerald’s deals have materialized through his LinkedIn account. But, he says, the goal is not only to find new business opportunities on there—it’s also to alter public perception.

“I have a mind that I use on something other than basketball,” Booker says. “A lot of people think athletes just stick to sports or only know sports, so I’m definitely trying to change that stigma.”

Former WNBA player Tamika Catchings, one of many recent retirees on the site, can appreciate Booker’s goal. Today, she runs a tea shop in Indianapolis, operates a foundation that mentors young people and serves as the Pacers’ director of player programs and franchise development. LinkedIn, she says, “gives you more credibility. It’s like, ‘Yeah I was an athlete, that’s what I did, but now this is what I do.'”

Ferguson, who retired in 2016, struggled for a while with that distinction. “When I retired,” he says, “I had to do some soul-searching. I tried a number of different things that were closer to football, like broadcasting, thought about being an agent or scout, and then something in me thought, Maybe go outside the scope.”

He landed an internship with EisnerAmper, an accounting and advisory firm in New York City. The company’s social media team encouraged Ferguson to use LinkedIn, and he noticed that Kelvin Beachum, a fellow offensive lineman, had a big presence on the site.

Now, Ferguson’s profile looks like most anybody’s in wealth management. His photo depicts him in a striped blue shirt and dark jacket. He shares articles about developing technology and posts photos from various professional events. Everything about him looks ordinary, really, until you scroll to the part about playing football for a decade. “Professional Athlete,” the listing reads. “Accomplishments: All Rookie Team, 3x Pro Bowler, 167 consecutive starts.”

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Quinn Cook’s championship moment with Steve Kerr

July/03/2018

In a moment that went viral after the Warriors won the NBA title last month, coach Steve Kerr is seen embracing Quinn Cook, a backup point guard who dipped in and out of the G League before seeming to find a secure spot on Golden State in the 2017-18 season.

Kerr told the former Duke guard that he was so happy for him and to always remember that he helped get the team there – especially with his contributions in playoff games. Then, he tells Cook that he belongs in the NBA and can’t wait to coach him next year.

For Cook, it was a dream come true. He’s been working since he went undrafted in 2015 after leading the Blue Devils to a national title to prove that he belonged in the league – turning down, he told For The Win on our podcast on Monday, offers to play overseas (seemingly for a lot more money than the G League) because he knew he wanted his shot.

So what was going through his mind when he heard Kerr tell him he belongs?

“I just appreciate it,” he said on the podcast. “I always appreciate Coach Kerr for the relationship that we established this year. Even before, when I wasn’t playing a lot. He was a guy who would always make sure I was good. We just established a relationship early.

“When I contributed a lot, when I played a lot he would just give me so much confidence every day on a daily basis. We just formed a great relationship and he could always trust me – whether it was playing 30 minutes or playing crucial seven minutes, he could always trust me and we developed a great bond. For him to tell me that, when the confetti is coming down when we won an NBA championship, for him to tell me that, for that to be on his mind, meant a lot to me. I’m happy a camera was right there to capture it.”

BY Nina Mandell / PUBLISHED July/3/2018 / For The Win

https://ftw.usatoday.com/2018/07/steve-kerr-golden-state-warriors-quinn-cook
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After ‘therapeutic year,’ Gerald Henderson ready to contribute

June/26/2018

Gerald Henderson handled the hip pain on the basketball court, playing multiple seasons with severe arthritis.

But he had enough of the pain that drifted into his everyday life.

“My hip had deteriorated so much, it was bone on bone,” he said. “It was grinding all day whenever I wanted to move. Working out for any extended period was painful. It was just tough then going home with the family and you’re in pain, you’re just kind of on edge.

“Just overall, I was not in a great state of mind, and I had to make that decision, and it was the best decision for myself and my family and for my health.”

Henderson, who is a free agent this summer, decided on a progressive surgery called hip resurfacing in which a surgeon places a metal cap on the femoral head and replaces the damaged bone with a metal shell, eliminating the bone-on-bone arthritic friction.

The surgery, which it not a hip replacement because the femoral head or thighbone is not completely removed, has been performed in the U.S. since 2006, according to Dr. Edwin Su who performed Henderson’s surgery.

“He has very good bone quality and structure,” said Su, an orthopaedic joint replacement surgeon at the Hospital For Special Surgery in New York. “The fact he was competing at a high level with a bad hip already, that tells me he has the muscle strength to support his body even in the setting of bone-on-bone arthritis.

“That’s a good sign that once I fix that hip and get rid of the bone-on-bone arthritis, he’s going to be even better. He’s not going to have the pain he had before.”

Su said Tiago Splitter is the only other NBA player he can recall undergoing the same procedure.

“The procedure is designed for younger patients because it preserves as much bone as possible, and it creates a joint that’s very stable which is more conducive to a young person’s lifestyle,” Su said.

Surgery required Henderson to miss the 2017-18 season for recovery and rehab.

“I love to play which is why I played with the pain for a number of years,” he said. “But it just wasn’t worth it anymore. My overall well-being and health became more important at that time.”

Now, he’s ready to rejoin the NBA. He had teams willing to sign him a year ago despite the bad hip.

“In terms of my hip, it’s the best it’s been in a long time,” Henderson said. “You go three or four years and you have an injury, a lot of stuff gets off balance. Overall, I’ve been able to get my body into really good shape – strength and mobility from my toes to my head. It’s been a therapeutic year.”

He spent the year recovering and rehabbing and returning to game condition. He worked with physical therapists and trainers and remained around the game visiting Duke where he played college basketball. He sat in on coaches’ meetings and practices.

“It was tough,” Henderson said. “It probably made it worse that I watched so many games. I have a lot of buddies who play so I tried to watch them and keep up with them. It’s tough. You’re typically gone half the time. You’re always on the move. Then you find yourself in a position where that’s not happening and you’re sitting at home doing the same stuff every day. It takes a lot of discipline and not sulking about your situation and looking forward to what you’re trying to accomplish.”

He has been cleared for and participating in all basketball-related activities, working out six days a week on the court, in the weight room and in the pool. He also does yoga and cryotherapy to decrease inflammation and help with recovery.

Playing his three previous seasons with hip pain, Henderson still played at least 72 games a season, averaging 10.1 points in 24.2 minutes per game.

“I want to be on a team that’s committed to winning and can realistically be in a position to win,” Henderson said. “There’s nothing like being on a team where everybody has the same goal, everybody’s unselfish and plays the game the right way and that all leads to success in the end. That’s what I’m looking for. I’m looking forward to be a big part of that.

“I don’t intend to go somewhere and just be the veteran voice on the team and watch everybody play and encourage guys, which I absolutely can do – be a great a teammates and a veteran voice – but I intend to do that along with playing and performing well and contributing like I very much have. I feel like I’m at my physical prime, and this hip injury is just a bump in the road. It will take me a new place in my career.”

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Hornets’ Marvin Williams shares tricks of fatherhood

June/11/2018

With Father’s Day right around the corner, For The Win spoke to a series of fathers who happen to be professional athletes about how they learned to do the basic things that dads do.

“I have a tremendous father,” said Hornets forward Marvin Williams, when asked where he learned his basic skills of parenthood. “My mother and my father divorced when I was very young but my father was very very active in my life. They’re best friends. They have a very close relationship. I’m truly blessed because I know it doesn’t work out that way for many people. My parents are best friends, so I spent a great deal of time with my dad and I just learned from him. I have a brother who is five years younger than me but he does have a kid. He has a son who will be eight in December, so I actually learned a lot from his as well.”

SO HOW DO YOU CHANGE A DIAPER AND HOW DID YOU LEARN?

We had a private instructor come to our house and basically sit us down and walk us through how to swaddle, how to change a diaper, how to freeze milk, heat milk. A lot of things that men may not know, that women generally know. So it was a huge help for me personally just having a few hours with her. I haven’t had (any diaper changing fails). I feel like at some point every child has used the bathroom on them. Obviously that happened to me, I don’t think that anything out of the norm. I did practice swaddling quite a bit. I was too scared to wrap my daughter too tight, but if it’s too loose, if she makes one movement she’s coming out of it.

SO HOW DID YOU LEARN TO SWADDLE HER?

It’s just a lot of repetition. I would practice on a doll, I would practice on her and my girlfriend, she’s an incredible mother, she’d check it out and walk me through the steps.

WHAT ABOUT BURPING?

I watched my girlfriend after she would feed her I would watch her and then when it was my turn to get up in the middle of the night, I knew what to do. My kid was easy. She would eat a ton – she still does eat a ton – and she liked to be held. So I would flop her over my shoulder a little bit and walk around and bounce around until she burped.

HOW DO YOU MAKE A BABY GO TO SLEEP?

That is where my girlfriend and I had different methods. She would walk around and sing to her. But I have this app, this sleep music app, and it actually plays really soft – you know like you get a massage, the softer music. I would turn everything off and put that on and kind of walk around and when she heard that, she just kind of got tired and would go to sleep. The sleep music app was huge for me. I didn’t intend to have it for the baby, I just had it. When I was getting massages and stuff, I would use it to relax. And I just tried it on her one day and it worked.

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Chris Young: From Princeton and the Padres to M.L.B. Headquarters

May/19/2018

Chris Young could have been a Chihuahua in the Pacific Coast League. Instead, he became a vice president for Major League Baseball.

When the San Diego Padres told Young in March that he would not make their opening day roster, they offered him a chance to pitch for the El Paso Chihuahuas, their Class AAA affiliate. Young could have tried to squeeze his way back to the majors for a 14th season. His stuff had felt crisp in spring training.

“I thought there was a little bit of juice still left in the lemon,” he said by phone on Monday. “But at what expense?”

When life gave him lemons, Young came to baseball’s aid. Unwanted by the Padres, he was eagerly welcomed by the commissioner’s office. Major League Baseball hired Young this month as vice president for on-field operations, initiatives and strategy, and he works out of the league’s Park Avenue office in Manhattan.

“We were all blown away, everybody from the commissioner on down, with his demeanor, intelligence, composure and passion for the game,” said Dan Halem, M.L.B.’s deputy commissioner for baseball administration. “We all knew we had to hire him.”

Young, who started on Monday, will assist the chief baseball officer, Joe Torre, and a senior vice president, Peter Woodfork, on issues related to discipline, rules, pace of play, umpires and special projects.

Torre is a Hall of Fame manager, but he has not played a major league game in more than 40 years. Young, who turns 39 this month and holds a degree in politics from Princeton, brings a fresh perspective to the commissioner’s office that it had lacked.

“Automatically, Chris is going to be a very influential voice,” Halem said, adding later: “We get a lot of our player input from the union, but it gives us a real benefit to have a player come right off the field to give ideas and perspectives we wouldn’t think of. When he speaks on issues, everyone’s going to be quiet and listen because he’ll be the only one in the room, at least on our side, who played the game for the last 14 years.”

Young — who pitched for five teams and won a World Series ring with the 2015 Kansas City Royals — has long been interested in a front office career. His father-in-law, Dick Patrick, is the president of the Washington Capitals, and a Princeton friend, the former N.H.L. right wing George Parros, is the head of that league’s department of player safety.

“He’s had to levy suspensions,” Young said. “He said, ‘It’s a tough job, and you’re going to make some enemies, but you’re trying to protect the integrity of the game and protect the way the game should be played.’ He said he does it with the right intent, and that’s the same plan I have.”

Young has experience on the other side of discipline. In 2007, while pitching for San Diego, he was fined and suspended five games for throwing a punch at the Chicago Cubs’ Derrek Lee, a hulking first baseman.

“That was the heavyweight division, no doubt about it,” said Young, who is 6 feet 10 inches. “In the heat of the moment, you say things, you do things, you misunderstand things — and certainly now that my kids are old enough to Google that, I regret it. But it’s part of the game and it happens.”

While discipline will make more day-to-day news, the broad strokes of Young’s job may be more important. Baseball wants to appeal to younger fans who expect action, yet fewer and fewer balls are being put into play. In his new position, which includes a spot on baseball’s competition committee, Young can influence any potential changes to the game.

“The main goal here is to make the game better than we found it,” he said. “That’s what excites me and motivates me.”

 

BY Tyler Kepner / PUBLISHED May/19/2018 / New York Times

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/19/sports/baseball/mlb-notes.html
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Thank You Carolina

May/02/2018

When I was a little kid, my mom turned to me one night and told me I was going to play for Carolina someday.“You know, Jay, I believe that you’re going to be a Tar Heel,” she said, as we were watching a game on TV. “You’ll be wearing that jersey and you will be playing for that man right there, Roy Williams. I can already see you out there playing in that jersey, boy.”

At the time, I was just like, “O.K., mom,” not really believing in what she was saying.

But if there’s one thing that everyone close to me knows about me, it’s that I’m a momma’s boy. (Proud of it, too!) And something I believe with all my heart is that I can always trust my mom when she tells me something, so I never really forgot that moment. I didn’t necessarily believe that what she said would come true, but I didn’t completely ignore it either. I always just kind of remembered that conversation and let it drive me toward what she already knew was in my future.

So, fast-forward a decade or so and, of course … my mom was right.

My journey at Chapel Hill turned out to be an amazing four years that included two ACC titles, two trips to the Final Four, and a national championship. In addition, I accomplished a feat not matched by many when I passed Michael Jordan (also known as the GOAT) on the all-time UNC scoring list.

Most everyone will remember me for the accomplishments I just mentioned, but they don’t know about the road I had to take to become the player who achieved those things; because despite how much my mom believed that Chapel Hill was the place for me, during my first year I struggled to share the same vision.

Early on, being in Chapel Hill without my family was really tough. At one point during my freshman year, I remember actually feeling like playing at Carolina was not for me.

We were playing an early-season game down in the Bahamas against Butler and it seemed like I couldn’t get anything right at the time. I had come into the program as a five-star recruit and, for whatever reason, I was feeling like I had never picked up a basketball before. I made a bad turnover and I immediately knew I was coming out of the game.

My head dropped. I ran over and just flopped myself on the bench.

I was embarrassed and disappointed in myself and, without intending to, I just started to cry. I put my face between my hands because I didn’t want anyone to know how overwhelmed I was, and all of a sudden I felt Coach Williams grab me by the arms and say, “Look at me, son. Look at me.”

It was hard to look at Coach because I felt like I had let him down.

I had come into the program wanting to be a big-time player for myself and for him. I didn’t want my coach, who trusted in me and believed in me, to see me crying; however, I eventually just accepted it and looked at him with tears rolling down my face.

He said to me, “Son, what can I do to help you to just go out there and be a player — to be the player that I know you can be?” At the time, I didn’t have a reasonable answer, so I just said to him, “Coach it’s not you, It’s me. I have to do better.” Once I said that, he just tapped me on my head and went back to coaching.

Shortly after, I ended up getting injured, and during that time I had a chance to actually sit back and tell myself to stop blaming the coaches for how I was playing and just do what I needed to do in order to be the player that I wanted to be for this program.

After taking that advice from myself, it was like I all of a sudden remembered how to play at the high level that I was capable of.

While I was hurt, I worked hard with our strength and conditioning coach, Jonas Sahratian, and spent a lot of time watching and learning and studying the game.

I had hit a low point, yes, but I knew that I was going to bounce back. When I returned from that injury, everything was different for me.

Guillermo Hernandez Martinez/The Players’ TribuneCoach Williams has definitely been one of the biggest influences and best mentors I have ever known, but he was certainly not the only person who helped me to get through the tough times early on and develop as a player and as a person during my time at UNC.

Carolina has seen so many great leaders during my time there, but the one who had the most influence during my earlier years was Marcus Paige. He’s one of the best people I’ve ever been around, and from the moment I set foot in Chapel Hill, he went out of his way to help me learn, adapt and improve.

Marcus always kept a positive vibe no matter the circumstance. He never got on me or made me feel bad when I made a mistake; instead, he always just tried to help me recognize the mistakes I had made and what I could do the next time to avoid them.

Marcus showed me what it truly means to be a leader on and off the court, and for that I can’t thank him enough. My appreciation is unending for all he has done to help me become not only the player that I wanted to be, but also the leader that I needed to be.

I know that when people ask about the most memorable moment from your college career, you’re supposed to say that there are too many great ones to choose from, and that to pick just one would be nearly impossible.

But in my case there is actually one that I can say I will remember the most.

April 3, 2017, Phoenix, Arizona. We were playing a one-loss Gonzaga team that a lot of people (other than us) had thought was destined for the national title. It was a hard-fought game all the way through, but with 7.2 seconds left, something happened that I will never forget.

I was standing on the foul line getting ready to shoot some free throws, tears rolling down face.

We were up by five points, and I knew in my heart that we were about to win the national championship. It was definitely one of the best feelings I’ve ever experienced.

So, as I stepped up to shoot, all teary-eyed, I noticed out of the corner of my eye that one of the refs was approaching me. I had no clue what he was about to say, so I made sure that I kept my mind on preparing to make the free throws and finishing out the game.

When he got to me, the ref said, “Your coach wanted me to ask you if you needed a timeout.” And as I was standing there, a part of me wanted to just tough it out and shoot the free throws right there, but I was losing it on national television. I was having a tough time keeping my composure.

Coach was just being who he is; always putting others before himself. In that crazy moment when everyone was so emotional, he was just thinking about me, and what he knew was best for me in that moment.

I thought for a second and then turned to the ref and said, “Yes, sir. I need a timeout.”

Tom Pennington/Getty ImagesWhat’s funny is that the timeout didn’t help me get myself together one bit. I went back to shoot the free throws and my eyes were still full of tears. It was so bad that I couldn’t even see the rim. I mean, if you haven’t had that happen to you, I’m going to tell you right now: It’s pretty tough.

Somehow I managed to get it together and make the second shot. A few moments later, I was covered in confetti and celebrating a national title.

While crying on national TV isn’t always the best look, thinking back, I wouldn’t change a single thing about that moment, because in a lot of ways, I feel like it sums up what is so special about UNC basketball — the immeasurable love that the players and coaches have for Carolina and for each other.

The other biggest support system that I had during my time in Chapel Hill was, of course, Tar Heel Nation.

I couldn’t forget you all.

I never knew why my mom loved Carolina basketball so much when I was a little kid. I mean, we lived in Apopka, Florida, not too far from Orlando, so she could have rooted for any school in my home state.

Instead, it was all Carolina.

Whether it was the colors or something else, her loyalty was with Carolina. From even before middle school, she and I would sit on the couch together in our living room and watch Carolina play. We never missed a game, unless I had a game of my own. And as we watched those games, my mom would never miss an opportunity to yell at the TV.

My dad couldn’t tolerate watching the games with my mom and I. He would say to my mom, “Kat, why are you screaming at the TV like that? You’re not playing in the game.”

But that didn’t stop my momma at all. She kept right on.

My mom’s favorite player was Sean May — also known as Big Baby May — and she loved Big May to death. What she admired most about him was not his athleticism, but instead how he used his body while he played. To this day, I can still hear her in my head saying, “Uh-huh, that’s how you use your body to get them up off of you. Keep doing it to ’em.”

I’m telling you, she would yell at him like he was one of her own kids.

As for me, I loved every bit of what my mom would do during games, and I would be right there beside her getting all fired up. I truly believe that’s where I get my competitive nature from — my fire and my drive.

So as my Carolina-obsessed mom in small-town Florida showed me back in the day, it’s so much more than just the players who put on that uniform and the coaches who stand on the sidelines — Carolina fans are a Carolina family.

David J. Phillip/AP Photo

There are thousands and thousands of Tar Heel fans all over the country, and as a player, no matter where I go, I am very aware of that love.

There is not a day that goes by where I take for granted the love and loyalty that the fans have for us.

And to me, what really shows the depth of our fans’ support is how everyone acts when things don’t go our way. Anyone can support a team when everything is going well, but you find out who the true fans are during the times when things aren’t so great.

I have come to see how blessed we really are that our fans truly love Carolina basketball day in and day out. They’re there to share in the good times, but they’re there just as quick to pick us up when things don’t go how we had hoped.

I remember my sophomore year after that brutal last-second loss to Villanova in the national title game, that was one of the hardest times for me and my teammates. I can still recall how tough it was having to feel that confetti fall over me as I made my way into the locker room, and how heartbroken all of my teammates were, especially the seniors who had just played their last game.

There was also the feeling of being shocked by how the game had ended. We were so miserable that when Michael Jordan walked into the locker room to talk to us, not one person in there moved a muscle to look up.

Even saying that sounds crazy, but that’s how terrible we felt — not even Michael Jordan could take that pain away from us.

When we got back to Chapel Hill that next day, though, you wouldn’t have been able to tell that we had just lost a title game. Our fans welcomed us back with open arms. And fans from all over the country were sending their thoughts and congratulating us and making sure that we knew that, even though we hadn’t won it all, they still appreciated the incredible season we’d had.

That is real love.

Having that feeling and knowing that everyone had our backs during a time like that was incredible. I can only hope that we were able to make up for it by going back out there the year after and getting redemption.

Mark Humphrey/AP Photo

Our fans continue to amaze me, and they did it again in Charlotte this year during my final game against Texas A&M.

That game didn’t turn out like anything we had hoped for, and to end our season in that fashion was tough on all of us. For me, knowing that performance would be the way my Tar Heel career would end was devastating.

The whole second half, we couldn’t buy a shot. And by the time we got to about the seven-minute mark, it was obvious that we just couldn’t get anything going at all. It became a little hard to maintain focus and keep my head in the game, as I knew that it was going to be the last time I would play in that Carolina jersey.

When Coach took me out of the game with about a minute and a half left, I found myself really struggling to keep my composure. I never want to show anyone that I’m down, that’s just who I am. But all of a sudden, I heard this loud noise, and it just kept getting louder and louder and when I happened to catch a glimpse of the stands, everybody in the crowd started standing up and clapping.

It was truly special to see, because the fans understood how much I cared about not just the basketball program, but for Carolina as a whole.

And our fans did the same for my boy, Theo Pinson, which was just as special because he, too, feels the same as I do about Carolina.

That last game will be something I’ll always remember. Just seeing and hearing that ovation and feeling that love and knowing that maybe I left a legacy here at Carolina that people were thankful for and will remember … it was just beyond special.

So with that being said, I applaud you all right back. We’re all in this together, and I am so proud to have played for you during my time at Carolina. I could not be more appreciative and thankful.

Like my mom said, I was truly meant to be a Tar Heel, and it really has been a dream come true for me.

Guillermo Hernandez Martinez/The Players’ Tribune

One last thing, though: This is not goodbye.

Not even close!

Some of you may have seen that I recently proposed to my fiancée, Kelsey Porter, right at center court in the Dean Dome. She’s another proud Tar Heel. She loves this place — our school, the tradition — and the people here just as I do.

We might take a look at some places here in Chapel Hill as potential wedding locations, and we are always talking about the things that we might do when we come back to visit in the coming years. Because….

We will be back.

I can promise you right now that I’m always going to be a part of this program and do all that I can to help us continue our tradition of excellence and to show my appreciation for all that UNC has meant to me.

I mean, what can I say? Mom was so right.

Thank you all for being so great to me over the past four years.

See you soon, and … Go Heels!

Joel Berry II

UNC TAR HEELS

BY Joel Berry II / PUBLISHED May/2/2018 / The Players' Tribune

https://www.theplayerstribune.com/en-us/articles/joel-berry-ii-thank-you-carolina
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Gerald Henderson: “I’m willing to fill any role, always been a team guy”

April/12/2018

Former No. 12 overall pick Gerald Henderson spoke with HoopsHype about his recovery from his hip surgery that sidelined him all season.

Henderson, 30, has played eight years in the NBA — most recently for the Philadelphia 76ers. He elected to surgically repair his hip and sit out this year rather after getting waived by Philadelphia.

The league veteran told us about how he has spent his time off and what he will be able to provide to his new team next season.

How are you keeping busy today?

Gerald Henderson: I stopped by the Sixers facility today and poked my head in there. They had an off-day today and I saw some of my old teammates and old coaches and stuff. I worked out a little bit on my own. Everyone is good, man. They’re having one hell of a year. They’re trying to get everybody back healthy and stay healthy before the playoffs. It’s been cool, it’s taken a while and they’ve had to change some things around and have some good luck. But things are shaping up for them.

How does the energy feel there compared to the energy last season? 

GH: They have a lot of the same faces over there, I’d say it’s a little bit more upbeat just from winning. It does a lot. I think it’s definitely upbeat. I’ve known a lot of those guys over there for a long time because though they have some new faces, they have a lot of people that are still there from when I was a kid growing up in the Philadelphia area. I got to see them today, too. Didn’t say JJ Redicktoday but he’s my guy. He’s one of the reasons I went to Duke. I got to see him his whole career as I was being recruited there. I’ve always looked up to him. Without the hip injury, I’d probably still be with them in the second year of my contract. It was tough but health comes first with everything and in the long run, it was the best decision I’ve made.

Where are you with your recovery from the hip surgery that has kept you sidelined?

GH: I’m over seven months post operation and I feel great. I’m cleared to do all basketball activities. My hip is strong and I’ve got my bounce back. I’m slowly getting myself into shape. I’ve just been training and though I wanted to play this year, this has been a great time to get my body back in order. When you get a hip injury, it’s not just the hip that gets out of sorts. It’s all a chain, man. Something gets out of wack and you’re going to overuse other parts of your body. I was able to get back to work in the right way. It’s been a long recovery but I feel fresh and ready to ball. I’ve really tightened up my diet and I haven’t had to lose any weight because I kept that down eating more vegetables. I throw tons of veggies into my diet every day. That’s been a huge thing for me. I’ve had a really great support base helping me, I’ve been in Charlotte working at Architect Sports and they pushed me every day. The Duke training staff helped me this year and I’ve been keeping in touch with the Sixers about my recovery and they’ve been very helpful, too. My family has been a great resource top to bottom, too.

Were there thoughts of you trying to come back towards the end of this season on a shorter contract?

GH: I thought about it and some teams came calling. I can’t give you the names but my agent, Jim Tanner, has been talking to teams throughout the season. Some teams were talking about my availability for the rest of the year but I just wouldn’t be ready. I could throw myself out there and see what happens and my hip would be physically healthy. But I don’t know if my entire thing would have held up. I need reps and conditioning and taking a year off, you don’t just jump into shape. It’s a process. I gave myself time for next season instead.

What can you clarify about a hip injury and how it impacts you as a basketball player?

GH: You never realize how much you rely on both of them. Obviously, you need all parts, but your hips (and I’d include your glutes and all that stuff) are what drives you when you’re running and jumping. You don’t think about it when you’re healthy. But those are the things that move you. So when you have an injury, that’s all you think about. When I wake up in the morning, I’m foam rolling and stretching and doing strengthening stuff. If you have deficiencies in your hips, it may not show in your hips. It might show in your knee or your foot or your back. This ain’t my first hip surgery. I’ve been in tune with that stuff over my entire career. I had my first operation after my second operation.

I know that Isaiah Thomas struggled to finish at the rim. It seemed like that was a huge indicator of where he was at with his recovery.

GH: I watched him a lot when he came back and I know he’s in pain because if he wanted to stop and have surgery to be ready for next season. He relies a ton on his athleticism, his change of pace, his acceleration and he’s a little dude but he gets up near the rim. He probably could still do it but when makes you stop is the pain. I’ve been there. At one point in my career, I was relentless at attacking the basket. I always drove the ball pretty well. But it takes a lot to put your head down and blow by guys and continuously drive and get to the rim and receive contact and have to jump. When you are in pain from doing it, you’re going to shy away from it and that’s natural. It didn’t seem like he shied away from it. The pain can make you not focus on making the basket. I can’t say that’s what he experienced but I know from myself, it’s not the same as when you’re healthy.

I’m sure things have changed quite a bit from a recovery process since your dad played in a neck brace during a game. 

GH: That picture is so funny, he told me the story. He broke his jaw the night before and it must have been his first or second year in the league. He was drafted by San Antonio and he got cut. He played in the Western League that they had back done. He won the championship and MVP and the Celtics picked him up. But they could cut you any day and he wasn’t a star player. So he knew he had to play because the mindset was if you can walk, you can play. So he went out there and played with it. It’s funny what would have happened if that was today. He’d be in concussion protocol and he would be sitting out for a month. That’s a cool picture, too, because with the neck brace he’s also got his gold chain, too.

What was the biggest difference in your life this year compared to last year?

GH: I’ve spent so long being on a team and being around that kind of basketball locker room and traveling schedule. You’re used to that kind of lifestyle and this year, for the first time, I didn’t have that. It was a different year for me. I’ve got kids now, I’m getting married in June. I got a little flash of what my life will be like after my career is over. I learned a lot of things about myself and it was really good to be able to spend time with the family, though, that’s for sure. When you’re playing, you miss out on a lot of things. That’s the job. You sacrifice a lot of time that would be spent with them. I live in Charlotte, North Carolina so I went down to Duke every few weeks and worked with their trainers and assistant coaches and they were working me out. Being in there with Coach K was very therapeutic for me. They opened their doors for me and I got that kind of team feel from them.

You also have the podcast with Tyler Hansborough. How did that end up happening?

GH: That was a lot of fun! I think we’ll only have one more episode but that was out of nowhere. We had a mutual friend that put us together and it’s been great. Tyler is an amazing co-host and really good guy. I would have never expected to do a show with him but he was a great college player and he’s got a great knowledge of the game. He loved his school so we were able to go back and forth and talk some junk to each other and just talk basketball and the two schools we both love.

What did you learn from being the other side of a media conversation? 

GH: I also did some other stuff ACC Network on television for a couple Duke games. I covered some radio stuff, I did about four or five games sideline reporting. I wanted to keep myself busy but also that’s a potential career down the line. I wanted to give myself some reps in that. You learn quickly that on the other side when you’re analyzing the game or hosting a show, it’s a lot different. You have to really prepare yourself. You have to really know what you’re talking about and talk in a way that your listeners will understand you. You can’t just talk ball. The podcast is loose, you have to talk in a way that has visuals for your storytelling. You have to amplify yourself and really be detailed in a way you speak. I gained some real respect for people who did that every day and definitely know it’s something that’ll be challenging for me but I’d like to do it.

What else did you pick up during your recovery process from a basketball perspective?

GH: I’ve focused on my jump shot and tried to be a more consistent three-point shooter. It’s gotten better over the last three years but I can improve even more. I’ve done ballhandling since I got out of surgery while sitting down on a chair. That’s been really good. I’ve realized how much I love to play, man. I watched the game every night and I just look in the mirror and do moves like a little kid again.

What is the most appealing thing you can provide to your upcoming team in free agency?

GH: First, I’m willing to fill any role. I’ve always been a team guy. I think that I can help in a lot of different ways. But ideally, I’d be in a situation where they need a veteran presence and I can come in with the right attitude every day and set an example for the squad and the younger guys. I’m going to play hard every single night and I’m going to be able to shoot the basketball. I can defend, too. Overall, I can do the right things on the court and be a leader out there. I’ve scored the basketball my entire career. I think I can be better than I have over the past few years.

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Warriors Sign Guard Quinn Cook to Multiyear Contract

April/10/2018

The 2017 NBA Champion Golden State Warriors have signed guard Quinn Cook to a multiyear contract, the team announced today. Per team policy, terms of the agreement were not released. Cook originally signed a Two-Way contract with the team on October 17, 2017.

Cook, 25, has appeared in 32 games (17 starts) with Golden State this season, averaging 9.5 points on 49.2 percent shooting from the field (120-of-244 FG), 44.6 percent from beyond the arc (45-of-101 3FG) and 90.5 percent from the free throw line (19-of-21 FT) to go along 2.8 assists, 2.4 rebounds and 22.1 minutes per contest. The guard has scored in double-figures in each of the last 14 games, including a career-high 30 points versus Milwaukee on March 29, the most points scored in a game by a Two-Way player this season.

Cook played in 29 games (all starts) with the Santa Cruz Warriors of the NBA G League this year, averaging a team-high 25.3 points, 8.1 assists and 4.6 rebounds in 35.9 minutes per game. He shot 52.7 percent from the field, 43.9 percent from three-point range (6th in G League) and 94.9 percent from the free-throw line (1st in G League), becoming the first player in G League history to post a 50/40/90 season. Cook scored 20-or-more points 23 times, including 30-or-more points nine times and 40-plus points three times. He was named to the Midseason All-NBA G League Western Conference Team.

During the 2016-17 NBA season, he played in five games with Dallas and nine games with New Orleans, averaging 5.6 points and 1.9 assists in 13.4 minutes per contest. After a four-year career at Duke, the undrafted guard spent the 2015-16 season and a majority of the 2016-17 campaign with the Canton Charge of the G League, averaging 22.6 points, 6.0 assists, 4.0 rebounds, 1.16 steals and 36.0 minutes in 82 games (75 starts). He was twice named to the G League All-Star Team, and earned 2017 G League All-Star Game MVP honors after recording 18 points, a game-high 12 assists and seven rebounds in 25 minutes. He was also named the 2016 G League Rookie of the Year.

The Washington, D.C. native concluded his collegiate career 28th on Duke’s all-time scorers list with 1,571 points. He was one of just seven players in school history to record 1,000 points and 500 assists and set a Duke record with a career assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.52:1. He was a member of the 2014-15 National Championship team and ranks fourth all-time at Duke in career free throw percentage (.853) and his 143 games played are tied for the seventh most in school history.

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Ray Allen, Grant Hill Named to 2018 Basketball HOF

March/31/2018

SAN ANTONIO, Texas — Former NBA stars Jason Kidd, Steve Nash, Ray Allen and Grant Hill headline the 2018 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame class announced Saturday.

Other inductees include longtime college basketball coach Lefty Driesell, women’s basketball standouts Katie Smith and Tina Thompson, and four-time NBA All-Star Maurice Cheeks.

Kidd, a 10-time NBA All-Star and six-time All-NBA selection, is considered one of the best passers in NBA history. He finished his career second all-time in assists and steals and third all-time in triple-doubles. The 6-foot-4 point guard played for five different franchises and won a title with the Dallas Mavericks in 2011. He led the league in assists five times in his 19-year career and won two gold medals with the United States.

“It’s just very humbling, surreal, to have this opportunity to play a game that you love and to be honored with this class,” Kidd said. “I would like to thank the Hall of Fame for doing this. And again, this being a team sport, it’s about my teammates and coaches, so hopefully I’m representing them well here today.”

Nash, a native of South Africa who grew up in Canada, is third among the NBA’s all-time assist leaders. He won the MVP award back-to-back years in 2005 and 2006, one of just 12 players to win multiple MVP awards. He made eight All-Star Games and was a seven-time All-NBA selection, including a first-team selection three times, while leading the league in assists on five occasions.

“This is an incredible feeling, obviously,” Nash said. “To cap a career in this way. This is an individual recognition, but truly what makes this special is to share in my journey with so many people that go in with me. But most importantly, to share this recognition with this class and all the Hall of Famers that come before us is incredibly special and is what makes this honor such a prideful thing for me and my family.”

Nash has been serving as a player development consultant for the Golden State Warriors and as general manager of the Canadian national team.

Allen is one of the greatest shooters in NBA history. He is the league’s all-time leader in career 3-point field goals made, in both the regular season and postseason. Allen won two NBA championships with the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat, and made 10 All-Star Games. He was also a two-time All-NBA selection and won a gold medal in 2000. During his time at UConn, Allen won National Player of the Year honors in 1996.

“It’s a long journey” Allen said. “I think about everybody who has had a hand in my growth. Not only as an athlete, but as a person. I think about being a young kid when I first started this game. Not only the people who inspired me to be better, but the people who challenged me by being negative in my direction, also allowed me to be better.

“I think about all the teammates I’ve ever played with. I think about every moment I had to question who I was. In those moments, I didn’t give up on myself. I think about my children, as I go into the Hall, their names will always be in the Hall of Fame. It’s an example for them as they move forward in their lives. To be able to set this example and to be able to go in with this class of individuals, people who I’ve admired and respected, and used their example to grow who I am. The honor is certainly all mine.”

Hill, who shared Rookie of the Year honors with Kidd in the 1994-95 season, made seven All-Star appearances in his 19-year NBA career. Hill, a five-time All-NBA selection, is the first former Duke player to be selected to the Hall of Fame. One of the greatest players in Duke history, Hill was a two-time All-American and won two national championships with the Blue Devils.

Driesell, 86, is 11th all-time among the winningest men’s Division-I coaches in college basketball history. Driesell went to 13 NCAA tournaments, eight of them coming during his time at Maryland from 1969 to 1986. He won the NIT with the Terrapins in 1972. Driesell also was the head coach at Davidson, James Madison and Georgia State.

He’s also credited with creating Midnight Madness in 1971 at Maryland, allowing 3,000 fans to attend a public run three minutes after the official start of practice at midnight.

“I feel humble and grateful for all the players that played for me,” Driesell said. “I think this is more for my players and my coaching staff and my trainers and athletic directors that hired me than it is for me. I’m 86 years old, so I want them to enjoy it. I probably won’t be around too long to enjoy it. I’m proud of my players, the teams that I coached, the institutions I represented. It’s just a big, big honor. It’s the capstone to my professional career.”

Smith and Thompson are two of the greatest women’s basketball players of all time. Smith is the all-time leading scorer in women’s professional basketball, playing in both the ABL and WNBA. She won three Olympic gold medals in 2000, 2004 and 2008. Thompson won four WNBA titles with the Houston Comets and was selected to the All-Star Game nine times. She won two Olympic gold medals.

Cheeks won an NBA championship with the Philadelphia 76ers in 1983 and helped lead them to two other NBA Finals trips. He earned four straight All-Defensive First Team selections and retired as the NBA’s all-time steals leader. Cheeks is currently fifth all-time in steals and 13th all-time in assists. He’s spent nine seasons as a head coach for three different franchises, reaching the playoffs three times.

The 2018 Hall of Fame class is rounded out by Rod Thorn, a longtime NBA executive and the general manager of the Chicago Bulls when they drafted Michael Jordan; Charlie Scott, a five-time All-Star who scored nearly 15,000 combined points in the ABA and NBA; Rick Welts, president of the Warriors; Dino Radja, one of FIBA’s 50 greatest players and a two-time EuroLeague champion who played for the Celtics; and Ora Mae Washington, a dominant basketball and tennis player whom Arthur Ashe once said “may have been the best female athlete ever.”

The full class will be inducted on Sept. 7 in Springfield, Massachusetts.

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JARRETT ALLEN AND LOCAL 4-H KIDS FIND INNOVATIVE WAY TO TRACK FITNESS

February/28/2018

BROOKLYN – Jarrett Allen is a self-professed tech lover and plays basketball for a living, so anytime he can combine his two passions, he’s all in. Especially when it’s for local children.

The Nets rookie center partnered with 4-H, a organization that focuses on mentoring kids, to build fitness monitors last Friday at the HSS Training Center. This is the second time that the player and organization worked together, as they initially collaborated for a Thanksgiving event a few months ago. Allen, whose father works at Dell as an operations manager, was excited to take part.

“It’s almost like building a computer basically, I have a passion for that so doing this small thing was pretty fun,” Allen told BrooklynNets.com.

Allen and the kids spent 20 minutes building the devices, called “Incredible Wearables” from scratch. After the units were built, Allen and the 4-H’ers took the court to try it out.

To watch how Allen and the kids were able to build the “Incredible Wearables,” check out the video below: http://www.nba.com/nets/news/2018/02/28/allen-4h-build-fitness-monitors

 

BY Alex Labidou / PUBLISHED February/28/2018 / NBA.com

http://www.nba.com/nets/news/2018/02/28/allen-4h-build-fitness-monitors
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