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    3×3 Basketball Comes to the Games With a G.O.A.T.: Dusan Bulut

    Since 2012, FIBA has organized six World Cup tournaments in three-on-three basketball. Dusan Bulut and his Serbian teammates have won four of them.TOKYO — It all started with “White Men Can’t Jump.”Dusan Bulut was 9 years old and channel surfing at home in Novi Sad, Serbia, when the street ball caper starring Woody Harrelson and Wesley Snipes appeared on the television. More

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    Coronavirus Cases Threaten Basketball Recruiting

    Top prospects at Peach Jam, one of the most important summer basketball tournaments, hoped to impress college scouts but have been sidelined by coronavirus cases.NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. — The recent surge of coronavirus cases has waylaid the Olympic hopes of dozens of athletes and sidelined Major League Baseball players like Aaron Judge of the Yankees in the last week, so perhaps it is predictable that a Delta variant that has thrived among unvaccinated people would pose a particular threat to the peripatetic world of grass roots youth basketball. More

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    Alex Rodriguez Joins Ownership Group for Timberwolves and Lynx

    Rodriguez and Marc Lore, an e-commerce billionaire, have a pathway to controlling ownership of the professional Minnesota basketball teams in two years.Alex Rodriguez, the former Yankees star, and Marc Lore, an e-commerce billionaire, officially joined the ownership group of the N.B.A.’s Minnesota Timberwolves and the W.N.B.A.’s Minnesota Lynx on Wednesday, after their purchase of a limited stake in the teams was approved by the N.B.A.’s Board of Governors.For now, the teams will still be controlled by their longtime owner, Glen Taylor, but it is expected that in 2023 Rodriguez and Lore will be the controlling owners. In April, a spokesperson for the Timberwolves said the purchase agreement “will initially entail a limited partnership stake with a pathway to controlling ownership of the organization.” The teams were sold for $1.5 billion, The New York Times has reported.Taylor, 80, is a Minnesota native and made his fortune in printing. He purchased the Timberwolves in 1994 from an ownership group that was attempting to move the team out of state. He has told the Star Tribune newspaper, which he also owns, that the sale agreement would include language to keep the teams in Minnesota, though it is unclear if that ended up happening.Marc Lore made billions in e-commerce, from Diapers.com and Jet.Patrick T. Fallon/Agence France-Presse — Getty ImagesGlen Taylor has owned the Timberwolves since 1994.Ann Heisenfelt/Associated PressRodriguez and Lore were part of a group, along with Jennifer Lopez and others, that attempted to buy the Mets, but came up short to Steven Cohen’s billions.Since his retirement from playing baseball in 2016, Rodriguez has worked as a baseball commentator for both Fox and ESPN, as well as invested in a number of companies. Lore made his fortune founding Diapers.com, which was sold to Amazon, and Jet, which was sold to Walmart for $3.3 billion.While Rodriguez and Lore are now part of the ownership group, there is no guarantee that everything goes well.One of the two will have to be designated the control owner, as N.B.A. rules, like those of other major professional sports leagues in the United States, require one person to be the final decision maker. Planned ownership succession can proceed smoothly, like with the Nets, or messily, like with the Denver Broncos. And despite the inclusion of a clause that the new owners of the Seattle SuperSonics put forth a “good faith effort” to find a new arena in the Seattle area in 2006, two years later the team became the Oklahoma City Thunder, a situation the N.B.A. surely does not want to repeat with the Timberwolves, who joined the league in 1989. More

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    Brilliance, and Heartbreak: The Story of Chris Paul’s Career

    Paul, the veteran Phoenix Suns point guard, ends this N.B.A. season the same way he has 15 times before: without a championship. The question is whether that should define him.In defeat, Devin Booker said that the youthful Phoenix Suns had hoped to skip many of the brutal roadblocks that can quickly vanquish a team with championship aspirations. More

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    Maria Taylor Leaves ESPN After NBA Finals

    The popular studio host and reporter was widely expected to depart after disparaging remarks made by a colleague were made public. Her next stop could be NBC.On Tuesday, she hosted the N.B.A. finals for ESPN. The next day she was gone.ESPN announced on Wednesday that Maria Taylor, one of the network’s high-profile talents, had left the company. More

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    The Milwaukee Bucks Win the N.B.A. Championship

    The Bucks defeated the Phoenix Suns in the N.B.A. finals in six games for their first title in 50 years. It’s the first championship for Giannis Antetokounmpo.MILWAUKEE — A half-century ago, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar — a young goliath then known as Lew Alcindor — led the Milwaukee Bucks to their first championship. For decades, it was the only time the franchise had reached that height. More

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    ‘Space Jam,’ My Dad and Me

    A writer adored the basketball-Looney Tunes mash-up as a boy. Watching the movie again after his father died, he felt the movie resonate in a surprisingly deeper way.When I was 10, I thought the coolest person in the world was Michael Jordan. The second-coolest person in the world was my dad. He played in an amateur men’s soccer league; I preferred basketball, so MJ got the edge. Like a lot of kids who grew up in the ’90s, I revered the seemingly unbeatable Chicago Bulls, and I was devastated when, on Oct. 6, 1993, Jordan announced that he would be retiring from the NBA to play minor-league baseball with the Birmingham Barons. I liked baseball even less than I liked soccer.Jordan’s triumphant return to basketball in March 1995 was a moment of intense relief and exhilaration for me; and when the Bulls won their fourth championship, in the summer of 1996, my enthusiasm for Jordan reached a fever pitch. So when “Space Jam” debuted that autumn, I could not have been more excited. Michael Jordan teaming up with Bugs Bunny and the Looney Tunes in a feature film about a high-stakes basketball game? It was as if they had scanned my brain and made a movie of my innermost fantasies. I begged my dad to take me to see it, and the minute it was over, I begged him to take me to see it again.He was not especially impressed with “Space Jam,” but it was everything I dreamed it would be. First, it was hilarious. The Nerdlucks, a cabal of short, wormlike aliens who smack one another around like the Three Stooges, had me in stitches; my friends and I impersonated their screechy, helium-pitched voices for months, to gales of approving schoolyard laughter. Jordan’s bumbling, nebbish assistant Stan — played by Wayne Knight, whom I knew as the guy who gets smeared by a dilophosaurus in “Jurassic Park,” another childhood favorite — was hysterically funny. And of course the Looney Tunes cracked me up. When the Tasmanian Devil spins around a basketball court and cleans it single-handedly in a matter of seconds, declaring it “lemony fresh” — that seemed like the funniest thing I had ever heard in my life.Jordan with the Looney Tunes in 1996 — a young basketball fan’s dream lineup.Warner Bros.What I loved most about “Space Jam” was the candid glimpse it seemed to offer of Jordan’s life off the court. I had seen him in action, and in interviews as well as in commercials. But “Space Jam” showed me a family side of Jordan. Here was the star talking to his wife. Here was Jordan watching TV with his kids. And here was a flashback of a young Jordan, shooting hoops in the backyard, talking about his hopes and aspirations with his own dad.His father, played by Thom Barry, has only a small role in “Space Jam”: He appears in the first scene of the movie, watching his son drop bucket after bucket in the moonlight. “Do you think if I get good enough, I can go to college?” asks the young Michael, played by Brandon Hammond. “You get good enough, you can do anything you want to,” the elder Jordan replies. Mike starts rattling off his dreams: “I want to go to North Carolina … I want to play on the championship team … then I want to play in the NBA.”His dad takes the ball and says it’s time for bed. But Michael has one more dream to mention. “Once I’ve done all that,” Michael says, beaming up at his father, “I want to play baseball — just like you, Dad.”Last April, as the coronavirus was sending most of the world into lockdown, my dad died suddenly in his home late one night of a heart attack. He was 58. He’d been in immaculate health. We were extremely close, and spoke or texted every day. I was shattered.Around the same time, ESPN began to air “The Last Dance,” the network’s 10-part documentary series about Jordan and the ’90s Chicago Bulls. I watched the show in the weeks following my dad’s death as a distraction from my grief. But I was not prepared for the revelations of the seventh episode, which deals with the death of Jordan’s father, James R. Jordan, at the hands of carjackers in 1993. I was struck by certain similarities: how close Michael had been to his father, how much he relied on him as a mentor and a friend. James Jordan died a week shy of 57.A young Jordan (Brandon Hammond) and his father (Thom Barry) came to mean a great deal years later.Warner Bros.After that episode, I put on “Space Jam.” Again, I was looking for distraction; again, I was floored by grief. That opening scene with young Michael and his father, such a beautiful testament to a parent’s influence, now seemed completely overwhelming. Three years after his death, Jordan Sr. had been resurrected onscreen for a heartfelt tribute. And what’s more, Jordan had invoked his father as the reason he was pursuing baseball — a career move most people had dismissed as ridiculous.When Jordan announced his retirement, back in 1993, he told the gathered reporters that, although he was sad to leave the sport behind, he was glad his father had been alive to see his last game of basketball. The same line appears in “Space Jam,” in a restaging of the retirement news conference, and in light of the earlier scene with Jordan’s dad, the moment has a special emphasis.At the time, pundits could not fathom why someone as gifted as Jordan would give up his place at the top of one sport just to start at the bottom in an entirely different one. Jordan used “Space Jam” in part to explain his decision, to explain that while it looked as if he was following a whim, he was actually following his father. In light of my own loss, it seemed to me that Jordan was pouring his heart out. Watching last year — nearly 25 years later — I was profoundly moved.“Space Jam” was not really as candid about Michael Jordan’s home life as I believed when I was 10 and as “The Last Dance” made clear. Understandably, “Space Jam” did not touch on Jordan’s sometimes reckless gambling, nor on his embattled relationship with the media nor his weariness with the demands of fame. But the movie does contain some sincere and deep-seated wisdom about loss, which I was only able to see once I was was in mourning myself.It’s about looking up to somebody and wanting to follow in his footsteps. To do right by him. To reflect back the love that person selflessly showed you. And although it might seem strange to say of a movie about Michael Jordan playing basketball with Bugs Bunny, seeing that truth in “Space Jam” after all these years helped me deal with the pain of what I’d lost. More

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    How a Steal and Alley-Oop Now Leave the Bucks One Win from Title

    Jrue Holiday’s daring decisions sealed a victory for Milwaukee in Game 5, giving the Bucks a 3-2 series lead over the Phoenix Suns.PHOENIX — In the most consequential sequence of his basketball career, Jrue Holiday threw both caution and the basketball to the wind. More