• The NBA All-Star Celebrity Game is typically the silliest event of All-Star Weekend, a chance for youngish celebrities, WNBA players, and retired NBA greats to run around for 40 minutes while Kevin Hart tries his best to make everyone laugh. It's not the worst way to kill two hours of TV time, if only because there's something enjoyable in seeing celebrities prove (or not prove) their athletic talent. (We see you, Jason Sudeikis.)

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    However, Friday's event in Toronto stood out for introducing some rare emotional depth into the proceedings. It started very early, when seven-time All-Star Tracy McGrady, playing for Team Canada due to his past involvement with the Toronto Raptors, attempted to recreate his legendary dunk from the 2002 All-Star Game, when he passed it to himself off the backboard. Here's a reminder of what that looked like:

    And here's what the 36-year-old McGrady did on Friday:

    Oof. I mean, yes, it

    Read More »from Tracy McGrady recreates classic All-Star highlight, shows his age
  • Jordan Spieth's best skill let him down on Friday in his second round at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

    The world No. 1 did manage to improve on his opening-day score of 1-under 71 he shot at Spyglass Hill, but Spieth's 2-under 69 at Monterey Peninsula Country Club left him disappointed -- not only because the club's Shore Course is the easiest of the three courses in the rotation but because he squandered a number of chances to score.

    From tee to green, Spieth improved significantly from Thursday to Friday. He hit 12 of 13 fairways and 16 of 18 greens. However, Spieth needed 32 putts, just shy of averaging a two-putt per hole. Once again, the club's poa annua putting surfaces flummoxed Spieth.

    “I just couldn’t get it in the hole,” Spieth said. “I’ve struggled putting here at Monterey Peninsula the past few years. The hardest greens to putt, in my opinion, because they’re the softest. I had a couple putts today that I pretty much started walking in from 8-10 feet, and then they just

    Read More »from Spieth's putting lets him down as he falls behind in Pebble Pro-Am
  • Phil Mickelson wants one for the thumb at Pebble Beach, and he took one step closer to a fifth win at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am on Friday.

    Mickelson shot 6-under 65 on the Shore Course at Monterey Peninsula Country Club to trail co-leaders Sung Kang and Hiroshi Iwata by a shot at 10 under par through two rounds.

    However, Mickelson probably thought he was going to shoot a much lower number -- one closer to the 60 Kang put up on the same course on Friday. Mickelson went out in 29 on the par-34 front side, then eagled the par-5 10th. He played in 1 over the rest of the way, despite the back side playing to a par of 37, including three total par 5s. It is the tougher of the two sides.

    “I thought I was going to shoot a lot lower than I did,” Mickelson said. “I was 7 under (through 10 holes); I didn’t expect to play 1 over coming in.”

    The bad news is that Mickelson's finish continues what is officially a trend in 2016, with the five-time major winner getting off to a hot first nine, 10,

    Read More »from Mickelson surges into contention in Pebble Pro-Am with Friday 65
  • Gregg Popovich doesn't have an answer for the Warriors either. (Al Bello/Getty Images)Gregg Popovich doesn't have an answer for the Warriors either. (Al Bello/Getty Images)The Golden State Warriors and their pursuit of 73 wins is the biggest story of the season, a genuinely historic run that has arguably made the eventual NBA Finals result feel inevitable. Yet the rest of the league is not giving up — rival coaches and players are trying to figure out some way to stop one of the most potent and versatile attacks the sport has ever seen.

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    San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich obviously plays a key role in trying to get his nearly as impressive 45-8 team ready to meet that challenge. In fact, Popovich says he thinks about the Warriors more than any opponent he's ever faced, although not necessarily because he thinks it will help him to beat them. From Marc Stein for ESPN.com:

    "I've spent more time thinking about Golden State than I have any other team I've ever thought about in my whole career," Popovich told ESPN Radio on Friday. "Because they are really fun. I'd go buy a
    Read More »from Popovich ponders the Warriors more than any team he's ever faced
  • Sung Kang came up one stroke shy of the seventh 59 in PGA Tour history on Friday at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. 

    Playing on the Shore Course at Monterey Peninsula Country Club, Kang shot 11-under 60 and jumped into a tie for the 36-hole lead with Hiroshi Iwata. Kang, who played back-to-front in Round 2, came to the par-3 ninth on the Shore Course needing a birdie for 59. Instead, his tee shot found a native area around the green. Kang, however, did manage to get up-and-down for par. 

    The 28-year-old South Korean player went out in 6-under 31 on the back nine of the course, making an eagle on the par-5 16th. On the less generous front side, with a par of 34, Kang birdied five of seven holes, including the final three in a row, before arriving to the last hole. 

    When he finished up the round, Kang's amateur playing partner Ray Romano congratulated him on shooting a career-best round. After all, Romano asked him at the turn when Kang's best was. Kang said 61. So when Kang wrapped up

    Read More »from Sung Kang shoots 60 at AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am
  • As part of the NBA's 2016 All-Star Weekend festivities in Toronto, All-Stars visited with young fans and ran through some drills in the first ever Jr. NBA Day. One All-Star, Houston Rockets scoring machine James Harden, helped youngsters work on their ball-handling, which was very nice! Unfortunately, he did so in a fashion that was predestined to set the Basketball Internet aflame with laughter: by offering token "defense" on the junior ball-handlers:

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    The half-speed motions and half-hearted waves were like catnip to those who have killed the MVP runner-up over the years for his, shall we say, disinterested defense. It very well might already be locked into the next edition of "Shaqtin a Fool." (Harden, to his credit, has gotten in on the joke, though Rockets general manager Daryl Morey

    Read More »from James Harden defends children, and hilarity ensues
  • Anderson Silva is prepping to fight for the first time in over a year. (Getty Images)Anderson Silva is prepping to fight for the first time in over a year. (Getty Images)With the upcoming meeting between Anderson Silva and Michael Bisping drawing near, things are beginning to heat up between the two. Ever since the fight at UFC Fight Night on Feb. 27 at London's O2 Arena was announced, Bisping has made it clear that he believes Silva has been a cheater. Silva, who will be making his return after serving a one-year suspension for failing a drug test in the wake of his victory over Nick Diaz last January, has remained firm that he's never used any performance enhancing drugs over the course of his career.

    The contending viewpoints have been at the center of this brewing feud between the brash Englishman and the silent assassin from Brazil.

    At an open workout in Los Angeles where both fighters were in close proximity to each other, Bisping decided to verbally intimidate his opponent in front of the surrounding media.

    In several videos posted by multiple MMA outlets, Bisping can be seen approaching Silva during an interview and the two share what appears

    Read More »from Anderson Silva 1, Michael Bisping 0 after verbal spat
  • As expected, when the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced the finalists for enshrinement in the Hall's Class of 2016 during media day at All-Star Weekend in Toronto, Shaquille O'Neal and Allen Iverson headlined the list of luminaries.

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    They were joined at the announcement by Yao Ming, who was not officially anounced as a finalist on Friday, but who had previously been nominated for enshrinement through the Hall's International Committtee, and will join them in consideration for a spot in this summer's class.

    The three stars became eligible for induction this season thanks to a pair of calls made last year by the Hall's decision-makers. First, they determined that Iverson's 10-game post-NBA stint playing in Turkey didn't count as a full season of professional play, meaning that A.I. — who didn't officially announce his retirement until October 2013, but who played his final NBA game in February 2010

    Read More »from Shaq, Allen Iverson headline finalists for 2016 Hall of Fame class
  • Jordan Clarkson and Isaiah Thomas square off in a no-pylons event. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)Jordan Clarkson and Isaiah Thomas square off in a no-pylons event. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)This weekend's All-Star Saturday events in Toronto offer the usual mix of exciting young players, big names, and time-tested formats. This year, we're handicapping all three events — the Taco Bells Skills Challenge, the Foot Locker Three-Point Contest, and the Verizon Slam Dunk — so you know who to watch closest. Read on for a look at the favorite, the contenders, and the dark horses.

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    One thing to address up top: Yes, the Taco Bell Skill Challenge once again fails to include any events that test the competitors' actual Taco Bell skills. The delightful Ryan Nanni of Everyday Should Be Saturday has some ideas on how the NBA and its corporate partner might address this shortcoming in the future.

    And another one: When the NBA announced the participants in this year's Skills Challenge, the field included defending champion Patrick Beverley of the Houston Rockets, who has since been scratched with an ankle injury and

    Read More »from All-Star Saturday odds: Will bigs or guards own Skills Challenge?
  • Vince Carter raises up. (Getty Images)Vince Carter raises up. (Getty Images)In honor of the NBA visiting Toronto for the city’s first All-Star Game, we’ve decided to look back on some of the more engaging moments in the team’s up and down (but turning up!) history.

    The abrupt end to Damon Stoudamire and Isiah Thomas’ turn in Toronto was so upsetting, that the team’s new ownership group and general manager had to act decisively in order to save face.

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    Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment purchased the Raptors in full the day prior to the deal that sent the former Rookie of the Year to Portland for a package including Kenny Anderson and an unheralded rookie in Alvin Williams. Faced with yet another player that didn’t want to be there, GM Glen Grunwald shipped Anderson to Boston for a package including Chauncey Billups and future trade considerations.

    Then, faced with both a tough lottery choice in what looked like a loaded draft, and the prospect of an NBA work (and transaction) stoppage

    Read More »from Gimme Some Raptor News: Vince Carter saves everything


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