What didn’t happen during the second weekend of the NBA playoffs? Aside from all the action on the court, the basketball gods were also kind enough to give us some a little MMA, a disrespectful dunk, oh, and a racial firestorm created by the owner of a championship contender – who was about to receive a second lifetime achievement award from the NAACP, probably for feeding the same black people he doesn’t want coming to Clippers games.
Sorry, Magic, we don’t know what to tell ya.
Every year the playoffs provide us with plenty of memorable moments, but after the events of the past 72 hours, we’re pretty sure the 2014 postseason is going to be one for the ages. When the leader of the free world is weighing in (from Malaysia, nonetheless), you know things are getting real. So real, in fact, that we had to make a list. Here are the 10 things we learned during the NBA’s wild weekend.
1. Rochelle Sterling Is Not a Racist: Whew! That’s a relief. In fact, this woman loves the man she’s been married to for 50-something years so much that she’d do anything to protect him, including sitting courtside in his stead while the Clips were getting run out of Oracle, refusing to do on-camera interviews with Lisa Salters and suing his gold-digging girlfriend for extortion, because that’s just how she rolls.
2. Donald Sterling Is Also Not A Racist (At Least According to the Clips): In spite of what appears to be more clear-cut evidence of Donald Sterling’s racist mentality, we think Eddie Murphy’s purple leather suit inspired this creative denial from team president Andy Roeser about his boss.
3. Related – You Can Lose and Still Win: The Clippers players may have lost to the Golden State Warriors on Sunday, but it didn’t matter. Their actions before the game even started is what made them winners. Can they re-group in time for Tuesday’s make-or-break Game 5?
4. Vince Carter Remembers: Nearly 13 years ago, Vince Carter woke up in North Carolina, probably had some breakfast, threw on his Tarheel-Blue cap and gown, graduated UNC, then took a private jet to Philly, where he clanked a shot that would’ve sent the Toronto Raptors to the Eastern Conference Finals. He never forgot, and neither did the rest of the NBA. In Game 3 against the San Antonio Spurs, he made up for it… though he’s probably never gonna be welcome North of the Border.
5. Troy Daniels Saves the Day. Wait… Who? We know Rockets owner Daryl Morey is a big stats guy, so he probably already had plenty of data on how clutch the rookie guard is from three-point line. Who says math can’t win basketball games? Of course, the Blazers struck back on Sunday night, putting the Rockets on the brink. Maybe it’s time to turn to Texas Instruments?
6. Lance Stephenson Shows Leadership (Not a Typo): The Pacers guard is known for his flashy Brooklyn style and passionate emotion after a big play. So seeing him tell his teammates to “chill” after David West’s huge three-pointer in Game 4 against the Atlanta Hawks was rather, uhm, strange. You dudes are tied at two with a team that won 38 games! Emote!
7. Adam Silver’s Lost His Learner’s Permit: After TMZ released the Donald Sterling recording to the public, we’re sure the NBA’s new commissioner thought to himself, “So this is what it feels like when your dad finally hands you the keys to the car and you total it before you even get out of the driveway.” The Sterling controversy is probably the biggest issue the league has faced since the Malice at the Palace, and the world will be watching to see how Silver responds. No pressure or anything.
8. Shaquille O’Neal Proves Everyone Loves a Good Dick Joke: Shaq’s (we’re gonna go with accidental) blowjob joke had the Inside the NBA crew in stitches, though Ernie Johnson sorta looked like he was gonna explode. Check, please!
9. For Their Next Trick, the Wiz Will Make The Bulls Disappear: It’s been 10 years since the Washington Wizards won a playoff series. After Sunday’s gritty win against the Chicago Bulls, they’re up 3-1, meaning John Wall is one win away from joining Bill Cosby and Barack Obama as the only people who eat for free at Ben’s Chili Bowl.
10. Paper or Plastic, Mr. Jordan? The Bobcats were already on the endangered species list in Charlotte – they’ll rightfully reclaim the Hornets name next season – and now they’re one game from extinction, courtesy of LeBron James and the Miami Heat. After a weekend full of drama, it’s comforting to know there’s at least one series out there that’s a foregone conclusion.