TIME

NBA Suspends Hornets Forward Jeffery Taylor 24 Games

Charlotte Hornets forward Jeffery Taylor appears in a photo after his arrest on Sept. 25, 2014, in East Lansing, Mich., on domestic assault charges.
Charlotte Hornets forward Jeffery Taylor appears in a photo after his arrest on Sept. 25, 2014, in East Lansing, Mich., on domestic assault charges. AP

Taylor pled guilty to a misdemeanor domestic violence charge in October

The NBA announced Wednesday that it has suspended Charlotte Hornets forward Jeffery Taylor 24 games for his domestic violence incident.

Taylor was arrested Sept. 25 and charged with assault, misdemeanor domestic assault and misdemeanor malicious destruction of property, later pleading guilty to the latter two charges on Oct. 29. The assault charge was dropped as a part of his plea deal.

Taylor said in court that he pushed his then-girlfriend, damaging a wall in an East Lansing, Mich., hotel.

In his opinion, NBA commissioner Adam Silver highlighted his commitment to stopping domestic violence, saying the issue has the league’s full attention.

I have the responsibility to safeguard the best interests of the league and all of its constituents. In addition to its profound impact on victims, domestic violence committed by any member of the NBA family causes damage to the league and undermines the public’s confidence in it.

The Hornets suspended Taylor indefinitely the day after his arrest and said they would decide on his possible reinstatement after the NBA concluded its own investigation.

Because Taylor has already missed the first 11 games of the season, he must sit out 13 games to satisfy the terms of the NBA’s suspension. Taylor will be eligible to return for the Hornets’ Dec. 17 game against the Phoenix Suns.

Taylor’s arrest was the NBA’s first domestic violence incident after the issue became a national topic in the wake of the Ray Rice controversy in the NFL. In the NHL, Los Angeles Kings defenseman Slava Voynov was suspended indefinitely by the league after his October domestic violence arrest.

Taylor was sentenced to 18 months’ probation after his guilty plea. The domestic assault misdemeanor carries up to 93 days in jail, but the prosecutor in the case said at the time Taylor entered his plea that it wouldn’t object to the judge ordering Taylor to be placed in a probation diversion program.

A second-round pick of Charlotte in the 2012 NBA draft, Taylor has averaged 6.6 points in 103 career games.

This article originally appeared on SI.com

TIME Basketball

Jason Collins Announces NBA Retirement

Brooklyn Nets v Denver Nuggets
Jason Collins #98 of the Brooklyn Nets speaks with the media prior to a game against the Denver Nuggets at Pepsi Center on Feb. 27, 2014 in Denver. Justin Edmonds—Getty Images

Nine months after signing with the Nets

It has been 18 exhilarating months since I came out in Sports Illustrated as the first openly gay man in one of the four major professional team sports. And it has been nine months since I signed with the Nets and became the first openly gay male athlete to appear in a game in one of those leagues. It feels wonderful to have been part of these milestones for sports and for gay rights, and to have been embraced by the public, the coaches, the players, the league and history.

On Wednesday at the Barclays Center, I plan to announce my retirement as an NBA player. The day will be especially meaningful for me because the Nets will be playing the Bucks, who are coached by Jason Kidd, my former teammate and my coach in Brooklyn. It was Jason who cheered my decision to come out by posting on Twitter: “Jason’s sexuality doesn’t change the fact that he is a great friend and was a great teammate.”

Considering all the speculation about problems I might face within the locker room, Jason’s support was significant. It had been argued that no team would want to take on a player who was likely to attract a media circus from the outset and whose sexuality would be a distraction. I’m happy to have helped put those canards to rest. The much-ballyhooed media blitz to cover me unscrambled so quickly that a flack jokingly nicknamed me Mr. Irrelevant.

Among the memories I will cherish most are the warm applause I received in Los Angeles when I took the court in my Nets debut, and the standing ovation I got at my first home game in Brooklyn. It shows how far we’ve come. The most poignant moment came at my third game, in Denver, where I met the family of Matthew Shepard, a gay college student beaten to death in a 1998 hate crime on the outskirts of Laramie, Wyo. For the past two years I have worn number 98 on my jersey to honor his memory. I was humbled to learn that number 98 jerseys became the top seller at NBAStore.com. Proceeds from sales, and from auctioned jerseys I wore in games, were donated to two gay-rights charities.

There are still no publicly gay players in the NFL, NHL or major league baseball. Believe me: They exist. Every pro sport has them. I know some of them personally. When we get to the point where a gay pro athlete is no longer forced to live in fear that he’ll be shunned by teammates or outed by tabloids, when we get to the point where he plays while his significant other waits in the family room, when we get to the point where he’s not compelled to hide his true self and is able to live an authentic life, then coming out won’t be such a big deal. But we’re not there yet.

This article originally appeared on SI.com

TIME NBA

Police Confirm Dwight Howard Child Abuse Investigation

Dwight Howard of the Houston Rockets shoots from the free throw line during the Los Angeles Lakers first regular season NBA game against the Rockets on Oct. 28, 2014 at Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Dwight Howard of the Houston Rockets shoots from the free throw line during the Los Angeles Lakers first regular season NBA game against the Rockets on Oct. 28, 2014 at Staples Center in Los Angeles. Robyn Beck—AFP/Getty Images

"Dwight Howard will continue to act in the best interest of his children and do whatever is necessary to protect their welfare and best interests"

Police in Cobb County, Ga., confirmed to SI.com on Tuesday that there is an active child abuse investigation involving Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard.

TMZ first reported the allegations against Howard, and NBC News reported earlier Tuesday that Cobb County Police were re-opening an investigation of Howard.

A Cobb County Police sergeant told NBC News that the investigation stems from an incident from this summer. Originally, police said they did not have enough evidence to proceed past an initial investigation, but new information came to light to trigger renewed interest from authorities in the case, according to NBC.

In response to earlier reports about child abuse allegations against Howard in Florida, the eight-time All-Star released a statement to The Orlando Sentinel through his attorney rejecting accusations of abuse.

“It is troubling to see a mother use her son as a pawn against his father, which is what is happening in this case,” the statement reads. “Dwight Howard will continue to act in the best interest of his children and do whatever is necessary to protect their welfare and best interests.”

This article originally appeared on SI.com

TIME Basketball

Derrick Gordon Opens Up About Troubled Family History

Massachusetts guard Derrick Gordon playing against Ohio in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Athens, Ohio on Dec. 18, 2013.
Massachusetts guard Derrick Gordon playing against Ohio in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Athens, Ohio on Dec. 18, 2013. Ty Wright—AP

The first openly gay Division I men's basketball player describes coming out to his family and his twin brother Darryl's jail time

University of Massachusetts basketball player Derrick Gordon, the first openly gay man to play Division I basketball, opened up about coming out to his family and his twin brother Darryl’s jail time in an Sports Illustrated profile.

Darryl was recently released from prison after a five-year sentence for shooting a man several times after an altercation, SI reports. “There was nothing that anyone could have said. My parents tried everything they could think of to help me. But I wasn’t listening to anyone,” Darryl told the magazine. “No one other than me could have stopped what happened.”

Derrick came out to his family while his brother was in prison — and eventually came out publicly, becoming the first college basketball star to do so.

You can read the full profile at SI.com.

TIME Basketball

NBA and Adidas Roll Out First-Name Christmas Jerseys

2014 Addidas NBA Christmas Day Games Jerseys
2014 Addidas NBA Christmas Day Games Jerseys Addidas

Only one player's jersey will remain the same

The NBA and Adidas officially unveiled a new way to sell more jerseys this holiday season: Put the players and fans on a first-name basis.

The 10 teams set to play on Christmas — the Washington Wizards, New York Knicks, Oklahoma City Thunder, San Antonio Spurs, Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, L.A. Lakers, Chicago Bulls, Golden State Warriors and L.A. Clippers — will sport the new NBA Holiday Collection gear for their games. Only Nene, of the Wizards, will be saved from the gambit.

Adidas said in a statement that the new jerseys serve “as a nod to [the players] familiarity and popularity with the NBA fan base around the world,” which makes sense when you consider LeBron, Kobe and Carmelo. But who would want to pay $109.95 for Tim [Duncan], John [Wall] and Kevin [Durant] jerseys? Every hoops-obsessed Tim, John and Kevin, of course.

The real question is how did they not think of this sooner? They put sleeves on the jerseys last year.

TIME Basketball

NBA’s Ryan Anderson Reveals Struggle to Overcome Girlfriend Gia Allemand’s Suicide

New Orleans Pelicans power forward Ryan Anderson (poses for a portrait at NBA basketball media day in Metairie, La on Sept. 30, 2013.
New Orleans Pelicans power forward Ryan Anderson (poses for a portrait at NBA basketball media day in Metairie, La on Sept. 30, 2013. Gerald Herbert—AP

"I think it’s really important for me to talk about it"

NBA player Ryan Anderson has revealed his struggle to come to terms with the suicide of his girlfriend, “Bachelor” contestant Gia Allemand, in a new interview with Sports Illustrated.

The New Orleans Pelicans forward found Allemand, 29, hanging from a vacuum-cleaner cord “so tight around her neck that at first he couldn’t loosen it” in August 2013. She died a short while later.

Anderson, 26, fell into despair after she was taken off life support. He returned to basketball in September.

Anderson took to Twitter after an outpouring of support from readers.

Read the article at SI.com.

Read next: Why the Funniest People Are Sometimes the Saddest

TIME Basketball

Clippers Forward Blake Griffin Charged with Misdemeanor Battery

Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin during an NBA preseason game against the Denver Nuggets on Oct. 18, 2014, in Las Vegas.
Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin during an NBA preseason game against the Denver Nuggets on Oct. 18, 2014, in Las Vegas. Isaac Brekken—AP

It's alleged that Griffin battered the victim, Daniel Schuman, by "squeezing his hand and shoulder and/or slapping him on the face".

Officials confirmed Wednesday that Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin has been charged with one count of misdemeanor battery stemming from an incident at a Las Vegas nightclub, according to Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times. TMZ first reportedthe news.

Las Vegas authorities were investigating Griffin last month for the alleged altercation but no arrests were made or charges filed at that time. The Clippers were in Las Vegas to play the Denver Nuggets in a preseason game at the Mandalay Bay Events Center.

According to Bolch, it’s alleged that Griffin battered the victim, Daniel Schuman, by “squeezing his hand and shoulder and/or slapping him on the face.”

Griffin’s first court date is scheduled for Dec. 8 at the Regional Justice Center in Las Vegas. The Clippers play a home game against the Phoenix Suns that day.

Griffin is averaging 24.3 points and 6.9 rebounds per game on 47.1 percent shooting this season.

This article originally appeared on SI.com

 

TIME Basketball

Watch this Guy Make the Longest Backwards Basketball Shot Ever

Harlem Globetrotter Thunder Law made the shot with his back to the rim from 82 feet away

Corey “Thunder” Law was so far downtown when he made this shot that he could’ve hailed a cab. And he wasn’t even looking.

The Harlem Globetrotters star set his second world record in a Youtube video posted on Wednesday for the longest-ever backwards basketball shot.

The clip[, shot at the Phoenix Suns’ arena, shows Law standing a few feet inside the opposite baseline with his back to the rim. He then bends his knees, let’s fly, and … nothing but net.

Law, who also holds the longest-ever shot record for his 109-foot, 9-inch floater from the stands last year, shot his backwards attempt from 82 feet, 2 inches away.

Next read: Watch Newly Released Footage of Kobe Bryant Playing Basketball in High School

TIME Basketball

Kobe Bryant Breaks NBA Record for Missed Shots

Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakes dribbles the ball during the game against the Memphis Grizzlies at FedExForum on Nov.11, 2014 in Memphis, Tenn.
Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakes dribbles the ball during the game against the Memphis Grizzlies at FedExForum on Nov.11, 2014 in Memphis, Tenn. Andy Lyons—Getty Images

Bryant currently ranks fourth on the NBA's all-time scoring list

Kobe Bryant has missed more shots in the regular season than any other player in NBA history.

The Los Angeles Lakers star passed Celtics legend Jon Havlicek’s record (13,147) during Tuesday night’s game against the Grizzlies. Bryant eclipsed passed Havlicek’s mark in 18 fewer games.

The record-breaking miss came on a mid-range jump shot in the fourth quarter.

Bryant, 36, has hoisted at least 1,500 shots in 10 of his 19 seasons. His 2,173​ attempts in 2005-06 were a career high. Bryant has shot 45.3 percent from the field and averaged 25.5 points per game during his career.

Over six games this season entering Tuesday, Bryant has scored 26.5 points per game while posting a 39.4 field goal percentage — which would be a career-low if maintained over the entire season.

Bryant currently ranks fourth on the NBA’s all-time scoring list.

This article originally appeared on SI.com

TIME Sports

Kobe Bryant v. Michael Jordan: Sizing Up the Greatest Player of All Time

2003 All Star Game
NBA All-Star Michael Jordan (L) of the Washington Wizards watches Kobe Bryant (R) of the Los Angeles Lakers miss his second free throw that would have ended the NBA All-Star game at Philips Arena on February 9, 2003 in Atlanta, Georgia. AFP—AFP/Getty Images

David Berri is a professor of economics at Southern Utah University.

Bryant may be on his way to surpassing Jordan's career points this season, but other numbers tell the fuller story of who should go down in basketball history

The Los Angeles Lakers are off to one of their worst starts in franchise history. The early returns not only suggest that the Lakers will not contend for a title in 2015, they also suggest that the Lakers are unlikely to appear in the playoffs.

Although the Lakers as a team appear destined to struggle, one positive event seems quite likely. Entering the 2014-15 season, Kobe Bryant had scored 592 fewer points in his career than Michael Jordan in his entire career. And given how much Kobe is scoring in the first few games of the 2014-15 season, we can expect that Kobe — if he stays healthy and keeps his scoring pace — will pass Jordan before Christmas.

When this happens, people might be tempted to ask: Is Kobe “better” than Jordan?

Brandon Jennings, the starting point guard for the Detroit Pistons, already answered this question before the season started. According to Jennings, Jordan had more help winning titles. As Jennings noted, Jordan never won without Scottie Pippen, while Kobe won two titles without another “great” player. Therefore, Jennings argues that Kobe is the GOAT (Greatest of All Time).

I suspect that few people agree with Jennings. At least, I think most people will agree that Jordan did more in his career than Kobe. But I also suspect that Kobe is “like Mike.” In other words, I imagine many people think the gap between these two players isn’t that large. The data, though, seem to tell a different story. Jordan isn’t just better than Kobe; in fact, when we measure the difference, we see that no one should suggest these two players are similar.

The NBA tracks a variety of box score statistics to measure player performance. When we look at these numbers for Jordan and Kobe, it is clear that the former has a significant edge. For example, when we compare what Jordan did for the Chicago Bulls to what Kobe did for the Lakers (before this season), although their scoring totals are similar, Jordan was the more efficient scorer. With the Bulls, MJ had an effective field goal percentage of 51.83%. In contrast, Kobe’s mark with the Lakers is only 48.72%. To put that in perspective, the average shooting guard in the NBA (since the 1979-80 season when the three-point shot was added to the NBA) has an effective field goal percentage of 48.56%. In sum, Kobe has not been much better than average with respect to shooting from the field.

Jordan’s advantages with respect to Kobe, though, are not confined to shooting from the field. On a per-minute basis, Jordan also did more than Kobe has with respect to rebounds, assists, steals and blocked shots. Jordan was also less likely to commit turnovers, less likely to draw a personal foul and more likely to draw a foul. In sum, with respect to everything in the box score, Jordan was simply better.

We can do more than just stare at the numbers. The NBA’s box score numbers can also be translated into how many wins each player produces. What this analysis reveals is that wins in the NBA are primarily about gaining and keeping possession of the ball (rebounds, turnovers and steals) and then turning that possession into points (shooting efficiently). We have already seen that Jordan did more than Kobe with respect to all the factors that matter most with respect to wins. And when we turn to wins produced, we can see how Jordan’s impact on outcomes was so much bigger than Kobe’s.

Let’s begin with each player at his best. In 1988-89, Jordan produced 26.5 wins as a 25-year old shooting guard. Kobe’s best season was in 2002-03. As a 24-year old shooting guard for the LA Lakers, Kobe produced 13.0 wins. So each player hit his peak in his mid-20s (that is actually fairly normal for a basketball player). And at each player’s peak, Jordan was nearly twice as productive.

Across each player’s entire career (up until this season), it’s the same story. Jordan finished his career with the Bulls in 1998 (we will ignore his ill-fated return to the Washington Wizards when he was 38 years old). Here is what MJ did for the Bulls:

  • 35,887 minutes played
  • 204.8 wins produced
  • 0.274 wins produced per 48 minutes

Meanwhile, here are Kobe’s career numbers before this season:

  • 45,225 minutes played
  • 138.7 wins produced
  • 0.147 wins produced per 48 minutes

Again, Jordan’s production of wins dwarfs Kobe’s. And contrary to what Jennings argued, Kobe actually had better teammates across his career. Entering this season, Kobe’s teammates averaged 0.117 wins produced per 48 minutes. In contrast, Jordan’s teammates with the Bulls produced only 0.106 wins per 48 minutes.

So Jennings appears to be quite wrong. Kobe has not come close to Jordan. And I want to take this a bit farther. Kobe has also not been as productive as a few other shooting guards. For example, Kobe has produced fewer wins in his career than the career production of Clyde Drexler, Reggie Miller and Ray Allen. And on a per-minute basis, Kobe has done less across his career than both Manu Ginobili and Dwyane Wade.

A key difference between Kobe and these players is shooting efficiency from the field. Each of these shooting guards were simply better than Kobe at getting shots to go in the basket. And that means each player had a larger impact on his respective team’s ability to win games.

Kobe’s inability to excel with respect shooting efficiently was noted recently in an article by Henry Abbott for ESPN The Magazine.

Bryant has fired away for nearly two decades. He’s fourth on the NBA’s all-time scoring list, trailing only Kareem, Karl Malone and Michael Jordan. He’s also just a few weeks’ play from setting an all-time league record for misses. “The problem is, he’s just not as good as he thinks he is,” says one source in the Lakers’ inner circle. “He’s just not as efficient as he thinks he is.

This passage essentially captures the weakness in Kobe’s game. Kobe will soon pass Jordan in scoring totals. But he will also soon pass everyone else in missed shots.

Those missed shots matter. The key to evaluating players is to make sure you measure accurately the positives and the negatives. In other words, accurate evaluation requires you get past the “scoring illusion” (i.e., placing too much emphasis on scoring totals in evaluating basketball players). When you take that step, it becomes clear that Jordan did much more than Kobe, and Kobe is nowhere close to being “like Mike.”

David Berri is a professor of economics at Southern Utah University. He is the lead author of The Wages of Winsand Stumbling on Wins and continues to serve on the editorial board of bothJournal of Sports Economics and theInternational Journal of Sport Finance.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

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