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Golub: Enes Kanter, the American harbinger

Enes Kanter couldn’t go to London because he feared for his life.  Dictator Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, via his evil henchman and former NBA player Hedo Turkoglu, has consistently threatened, mocked, and insulted Kanter for Kanter’s opposition to ruthless totalitarian xenophobia and political suppression.  Ironically, Hedo was a heady player known for his ability to handle and facilitate. Turkoglu claimed Kanter lied about fearing for his life. He called Kanter a fraud for hiding the fact that he couldn’t get a visa to enter the UK.  

Brewer: The purple crayon paradox

I want you to be really honest with yourself when thinking about the following question. Sit with your instinctual answer. Would you be surprised upon hearing that a highly touted college athlete, primarily known for their athletic capabilities, is also an aspiring mechanical engineer, with a 3.7 GPA? Why are you surprised? Where does such a concrete divide between athlete and student come from? Why is there a line at all? Why do you have to be either a student or an athlete? In this realm, you can be either blue or red in the crayon box, and mouths drop when there’s purple.

Ziperski: Team owners matter

When fans try to pinpoint the reasons behind a team’s success or failure, they most often look to players or coaches. The New England Patriots have been dominant for nearly two decades because of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. The Los Angeles Rams and Kansas City Chiefs have soared to the top of the league because of Sean McVay’s play-calling brilliance and Patrick Mahomes’ phenomenal play. Conversely, a team like the Raiders has struggled for so long because they’ve lacked star power both on the field and on the sideline (yes, even Jon Gruden).

Golub: The difference between quiet leadership and no leadership

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich made waves recently when he dropped the “bombshell” news that former player Kawhi Leonard, the star who sat out a whole season with a suspect injury and refused to communicate with his team, was not a leader.  In response, Kawhi got angry and claimed he was a leader. That makes sense. He’s a star player looking to get a supermax salary; he’s not gonna say he isn’t a leader. I don’t know what Kawhi thinks or how he conducts himself in his team’s locker room.  His relatively quiet demeanor gives us a cool case study into what it takes to be a good leader.

Golub: The fall of Carmelo Anthony

Melo was destined to be one of the greats.  Armed with a knife of a jab step, a buttery jumpshot, and two first names (think: Michael and Jordan, Kobe and Bryant, LeBron and James) Melo could score like few other players in the history of the game.  In what was probably his most successful year individually, 2012-2013, he hung a cool 50 on LeBron James’ Heat, nearly exclusively scoring on jumpshots. That game finds me as his crowning achievement. He shot the shots he wanted, and he was so good it didn’t matter that they were all well-defended.  He was a master artist who came of age a little too late, like a ragtime drummer born just at the tail-end of jazz’s heyday. I can’t say I’m an unabashed Melo fan. I’ve long criticized him, including getting into a fight with my high school point guard about how Paul George was better because he played defense.  I eventually conceded my point out of deference to the Knicks, but deep down I still thought I’d rather have PG. Blemishes will stain Melo’s career when it’s all said and done, which is increasingly appearing to be closer to fruition than I expected. And that’s okay. It’s what he deserves.