The NBA gossip today was dominated by the upcoming All-Star Game, which will be held at Madison Square Garden in New York. But today’s starts with some late news on Kobe Bryant.
KOBE HAS TORN ROTATOR CUFF
Los Angeles Lakers players and fans now face a nervous wait as an MRI scan taken today showed that Kobe Bryant has suffered a torn rotator cuff. It is unclear just how long he will be out, if at all.
The Lakers announced that Bryant will return to Los Angeles and will be examined by team doctors Friday instead of playing that night against the Spurs. The team said an update on Bryant’s condition would be issued then.
Bryant suffered the tear with 4:14 left in the third quarter against the Pelicans when he drove baseline for a two-handed dunk.
“It felt fine when I went up, didn’t feel too good when I came down,” Bryant said after the game.
He grabbed his shoulder as he ran back down the court and checked out of the game a few minutes later.
Bryant checked back in with five minutes left in the fourth quarter and immediately favored his shoulder. He tried to rebound and dribble with his left hand, but it became clear something was wrong when he shot and made a turnaround 14-foot jumper with just his left hand.
“Obviously after I saw that everything he did was with the left hand, I knew then, let’s get him out of there,” Lakers coach Byron Scott said after the game.
It’s unclear what the injury means for Bryant’s status going forward. Scott spoke to reporters at practice Thursday before knowing the MRI results, and he declined to state any plans without knowing those results.
ALL-STAR GAME COACHES ANNOUNCED
Due to leading their respective teams to top spot in their conferences, it has been announced that Atlanta Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer will coach the East and Golden State Warriors play caller will lead the West.
With the victory, which improved the Hawks’ conference-leading record to a stunning 35-8, Mike Budenholzer clinched a spot as the Eastern coach in next month’s All-Star Game in New York City.
“I had hoped you wouldn’t mention that,” said Budenholzer, in his second season as Atlanta’s coach after a long stint as an assistant to Gregg Popovich at San Antonio.
Budenholzer should be taking several players with him. The Hawks romped to their 28th victory in the last 30 games, showing the kind of teamwork that has become their trademark in a season no one saw coming.
“It’s a great honor, but I think it’s the players that put you in that position,” the coach said. “We’re the fortunate ones who get the honor of coaching an All-Star Game. I’ll do my best to enjoy it.”
The NBA confirmed Thursday that Kerr clinched the spot after the Warriors’ 126-113 victory over Houston on Wednesday night assured his team of the best record in the conference through Feb. 1. The All-Star Game is being held at Madison Square Garden, where Kerr would have coached had he not turned down the New York Knicks job this summer.
Kerr has the Warriors off to the best start in franchise history at 34-6. The last coach to earn the All-Star nod in his first season was Indiana’s Larry Bird in 1998.
MARION CALLS IT QUITS
After 16 NBA seasons (and a disgusting jump shot), Cleveland Cavaliers’ Shawn Marion will retire at the end of the season.
Marion, 36, has career averages of 15.4 points, 8.8 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.1 blocks per game while building a defensive reputation as someone able to guard all five positions on the court.
“I wanted to go out on my terms,” Marion told the Arizona Republic in a story published Wednesday afternoon, adding that being away from his first child, 8-month-old son Shawn, is driving the decision.
He spent his first eight and a half seasons in Phoenix after being drafted by the Suns out of UNLV with the No. 9 pick in 1999. Marion then bounced around with short stints in Miami and Toronto before spending five seasons in Dallas, winning a title with the Mavericks in 2011.
The 6-foot-7 forward was a four-time All-Star and named to the All-NBA 3rd Team twice in his career.
“He’s a 16-year veteran,” Cavs coach David Blatt said Wednesday. “When Shawn Marion decides to retire, that will not be a negative in any way. He’s a great professional. He’s played at a high level for 16 years. He’s a great guy. Whenever that day comes, he’ll have to be in the discussion for the Hall of Fame.”