If the NBA is purely for TV ratings these days, and it kind of has to be thanks to very limited or no crowds, then Adam Silver probably poured himself a stiff drink on Sunday night.
First, Saturday night saw LeBron James go down with a high ankle sprain. And high ankle sprains tend to be the more annoying and lingering, so when James might be back or might be at full strength is merely a guessing game at this point.
That was followed by the news yesterday that LaMelo Ball will likely miss the rest of the season with a fractured wrist. He hasn’t been officially ruled out, but it’s hard to see a way he’ll play again this season.
Ball was almost certain to win Rookie Of The Year, second in scoring amongst rookies and leading in assists by a full assist per game. Ball was also the only reason anyone paid attention to the Charlotte Hornets in god knows how long, and certainly puts their tenuous hold on the 8 seed in even more jeopardy. Then again, Indiana, Chicago, and Toronto — the teams right behind the Hornets — haven’t exactly shown a propensity to grab anything by the haunches this season either. It’ll be a limp to the finish, likely.
It would be easy to blame this spate of injuries on the condensed season, but high ankle sprains and broken wrists happen. They’re not soft tissue injuries or due to overuse. It just sucks for the league as a whole (though the Lakers were kind of on a wake-me-up-for-the-playoffs setting anyway) that two of its biggest attractions won’t be around for a while.
Let’s stick with basketball, and shift over to the Women’s Tournament for a call by a ref so egregiously bad even Angel Hernandez is backing away slowly:
That’s right, this ended up in a traveling violation for getting Terry Tate’d to the floor. There’s probably a life lesson in there somewhere about how there isn’t a situation that can’t be made worse, especially by authorities, but let’s leave that aside. Thankfully this wasn’t a terribly close game between Oregon State and Florida State where this call would have mattered. But it really takes an abstract eye to see this clobbering and decode traveling out of it. I’m kind of desperate to take this ref to the Art Institute and see what conclusions are drawn in the Dali section.
-I’m supposed to tell you that my entire city is gaga over Loyola’s win over No. 1 seed Illinois, but I don’t really leave the house so I don’t know that. What I will say is that Loyola is led by the most Chicago college basketball star ever in Cameron Krutwig:
This guy has definitely called into a local sports station and pined for the backup quarterback to be put in or for Steve McMichael to be named head coach between MGD belches. There were other suggestions. This guy definitely has vanity plates that say, “DETSUKS.”
In a just world, Oral Roberts University’s surprising run to the Sweet 16 would serve to highlight their homophobic policies on campus. More notoriety would create more uproar and we could perhaps out members of the administration as the bigots they are.
If you don’t know, it’s stated amongst Oral Roberts code of conduct that students will not engage in homosexual activity, along with non-marital sex and that marriage is between a man and a woman. It’s listed under “Sexual Misconduct.” Like, right next to rape.
I know that Oral Roberts is an extremely religious institution, but religion shouldn’t get to mask bigotry anymore. Of course, that’s still used as government policy, so I’m truly shouting at the rain here.
But we know that no network signed into a TV deal with the NCAA would ever come close to such a thing, and that’s basically all of them at this point. They’re just a cute underdog proving the magic of the NCAA Tournament, instead of an institution still propagating outdated, hateful, and pretty much shameful policies.