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Young sits as Lakers injury woes continue

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Young sits as Lakers injury woes continue

Los Angeles Lakers head coach Luke Walton said they are going to have to get creative with their roster after guard Nick Young was placed on the injured list on Wednesday.The 31-year-old Young suffered a strained right calf muscle in the Lakers’ 105-88 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans on Tuesday and is expected to be out for two to four weeks. “It will be tough,” Walton said. “Without breaking up that second unit – filling in the shooting guard spot while D'Angelo (Russell) is already hurt – we’ll have to get creative.”

Young fell to the floor in the first quarter after trying to prevent a layup by Pelicans guard Tim Frazier. He lay on his back as a timeout was called and the trainer attended to him before his teammates helped him off the floor.He underwent an MRI exam Wednesday in Chicago, where the Lakers were playing the Bulls.Young’s injury happened the same day that Julius Randle returned to the lineup after missing three games with a hip injury.

LeBron's business team is more than a 'posse'

We’ve all heard the stereotypical narrative of the athlete’s entourage, comprised of childhood buddies turned trouble-making, money-sucking leeches, but painting every star player’s associates with the same brush can be problematic.

LeBron James’ recent admonishment of New York Knicks president Phil Jackson for using the word “posse” in reference to James' business team speaks to a racial prejudice many young black people face on a daily basis.

The controversy began last week when the famed former Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers coach recalled a time when James, then playing for the Miami Heat, asked for the team to stay over in Cleveland while on a road trip, a request that put coach Erik Spoelstra in a bind.

“You can’t hold up the whole team because you and your mom and your posse want to spend an extra night in Cleveland,” Jackson said in an interview with ESPN.

James responded by saying he had lost respect for the 71-year-old Jackson, and that he didn't think Jackson would have used that word if the Cleveland Cavaliers star's friends and business partners weren't African American.

Jackson has declined to comment.

Billion-dollar empire

The word “posse” originated as a term for a group of people gathered to search for criminals, but in modern times has been used more commonly to refer to a group of friends or a crew — usually one made up of African-Americans.

Given the level of success James and his business team have achieved, it’s fair to wonder if the same word would have been used in reference to the friends of a white NBA player like, say, Kevin Love or Dirk Nowitzki.

Bankrolled by his lucrative NBA contract and endorsement deals, James has built a billion-dollar empire with his childhood friends leading his various business ventures, ranging from a clothing line to a Hollywood production company and scholarship program.

Maverick Carter, James’ friend and CEO of the sports marketing firm they formed together, has been outspoken on social media about the controversy. 

Golden State Warriors star Kevin Durant also weighed in, saying that while he doesn’t think Jackson is racist, the poor word choice in reference to James’ team seems like a “downgrade to what they are." 

”[James] doesn’t just work on the basketball court; he puts his work in [off of it as well],“ Durant told ESPN. "He’s trying to set himself, his kids, his kid’s kids up forever. So doing it for 10-plus years, to not associate what he’s done with being an empire, I understand why he took offence to it.”

‘Racially charged comment’

Social psychologist Dr. Elizabeth Page-Gould of the University of Toronto, whose work has focused on race dynamics and race relations in the U.S., says Jackson’s comments may speak to implicit racial biases, whether or not Jackson knew that what he was saying could be viewed as racist.

“Different people vary in how much they associate racial groups with certain kinds of concepts," Page-Gould told CBC Sports. "In this case the idea of [black men being in a] gang or a posse, those words and those concepts are just more readily accessible in your mind when you think of somebody that represents that group.

"I definitely hear the call-out to race and understand why people including LeBron James are saying they think that was a racially charged comment. He’s been a celebrity athlete for a long time so he’s been the focus certainly of a lot of racial jokes before and racial statements. He probably also has developed strategies for just coping with these experiences no matter what.”

Sports journalist Jamele Hill, of the ESPN show His & Hers, called James “one of the most diversified athletes from a business standpoint we’ve ever seen” and said she and a lot of other black people get tired of always having to “validate” their credentials.

“I can only imagine… when they’re in business rooms or board rooms people think, 'Oh, they have LeBron James’ name, it’s probably easy.’ No, it’s probably the opposite because the people that are in the business community are probably thinking 'you're only here because your boy knows how to play basketball, you don’t know anything [and] you’re not bringing anything to the table.’”

James, a three-time NBA champion, said that Jackson’s comments will give him and his business team “extra motivation” moving forward. 

What an amazing start to the season for this young Lakers team. You can literally see a change in the Lakers on the court. Coach Walton has managed to ignite a spark and get this team to compete at a high level every single time they step on the court. So far I’m loving what I’m seeing from the Lakers and hope that it continues. Right now their record is 3-3 which is already a tremendous improvement than last season. They beat the Rockets and Warriors not to mention almost the Pacers. This will be a very entertaining season and I’m looking forward to it.

Lakers shock Warriors as Stephen Curry’s ridiculous 3-point streak ends

Stephen Curry shot 0-for-10 from long range, ending an NBA-record streak of 157 games with at least one 3-pointer, as the Warriors lost to the Lakers at Staples Center on Friday night, 117-97.

The Warriors fell to 4-2 on the season, while the Lakers improved to 3-3.

The game was new Lakers coach Luke Walton’s first against his former club.  

While beating the mighty Warriors continues a nice start for the young Lakers, Walton put things into perspective.

“We’re looking at the big picture,” Walton said, per the L.A. Times. “The big picture isn’t beating Golden State and losing Sunday night at home. The big picture is we make it really hard for teams to come into Staples Center and win. The big picture is we did what we’re supposed to do. We won at home.”

Friday night was a tough spot for the Warriors. On Thursday, they earned an emotional win over the Thunder, Kevin Durant’s former team, and playing the second night of a back-to-back on the road is not an ideal situation for an NBA team. 

Curry said after the loss (via USA Today), “You don’t like the feeling at all. But you’ve got to wrap your head around where you are in the season, and the good we’ve shown early in the year, but also focus on the things we need to work on. Regardless of a game like last night or tonight, we still have some things we need to work on.”

So while we shouldn’t overreact to the result of an early-November game or a team’s record so early in the season, it’s clear the Dubs have some work to do to get Durant, Curry and company to mesh and that there is some reason for optimism in Laker land.

Writes L.A. Times columnist Bill Plaschke, “With a new core, a new coach, and mere months removed from the worst record in franchise history, the Lakers are not yet great again. But quickly, stunningly, they are fun again, and, man, did they have a blast Friday night at Staples Center in beating up on The Greatest Team Ever.”