April 29th, 2013 at 11:28 AM
By Dan Benton
Washington Wizards center Jason Collins (who will become a free agent once the season official ends) has done what no one else has done before him: he's become the first athlete playing a major American team sport to come out as gay.
"I'm a 34-year-old NBA center. I'm black. And I'm gay," he said in a Sports Illustrated interview that will hit newsstands on May 6th.
In recent weeks and months there has been much discussion and debate about gay athletes, whether they should come out and how it would impact them. There's also been as many as four NFL players who have contemplated coming out, but have yet to do so. And whether they're feeling the pressure to do so (or not) will likely be made easier by Collins' decision.
The question now becomes: how will Collins be perceived?
Many athletes, like New York Giants defensive captain Justin Tuck, have gone on record as saying they don't care if a teammate comes out as gay so long as he works hard like the rest of the team.
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"If he's helping me win football games, I don't give a damn," Tuck said recently. "The outside reaction to a gay player will be greater than inside the locker room."
October 8th, 2012 at 10:00 AM
By Brian Koch
The Washington Wizards' 100-88 preseason loss to the woeful Charlotte Bobcats was not televised or aired on the radio, and with the Washington Nationals beginning their playoff baseball run and the Washington Redskins struggling valiantly in another tough Sunday duel, who should care?
One look at the Washington/Charlotte box score and it becomes pretty clear that it wasn't a pretty game. So with that in mind, combined with the grounding knowledge that this is only the first game of the preseason, there shouldn't be too much though spent on this one.
Instead of breaking down painful games like this one piece by piece, Wizards 101 is officially adopting a new, Facebook-inspired method of analysis. We're simply going to look at the statistics, see what jumps out, and let the reader know what we "like" and "dislike" about Washington's performance. Simple enough, and it should save fans a few headaches.
Like: Rookie first-rounder Bradley Beal led the team in scoring (18 points) in his first appearance.
Dislike: The Wizards allowed Charlotte to shoot free throws 46 times as opposed to their own 21 attempts.Read more... Join the Conversation...
October 7th, 2012 at 10:26 AM
By Brian Koch
Preseason NBA action tips off today for the Washington Wizards, who begin their exhibition schedule with a short trip south to North Carolina.
Washington faces off against a Charlotte Bobcats team that has made notable improvements via the draft and free agency this offseason, but is still light years away from playoff contention.
The Bobcats added two veteran players, Ben Gordon and former Wizard Brendan Haywood, who will anchor the team on both ends of the floor while providing guidance and leadership for the team's younger generation. Former Laker Ramon Sessions also joins Charlotte as an experienced personality.
These veterans represent the difference between last season's Bobcats and the current roster. Former coach Paul Silas struggled to find consistency with a lineup of almost all youngsters. Though he did witness a breakout season by budding star Gerald Henderson, Silas saw the Bobcats finish as the NBA team with the worst winning percentage in history (.106) during the lockout shortened season.
Gordon, Sessions, and Haywood should help Charlotte claw their way back to prominence. Their presence should be key for several developing players at multiple positions, including Henderson and second-year players Kemba Walker and Bismack Biyombo.Read more... Join the Conversation...
October 1st, 2012 at 8:10 PM
By Brian Koch
The last thing that the Washington Wizards needed was for their best player to go down with an injury before training camp, but that's exactly what happened to John Wall over the weekend.
After the sudden news that Wall would be shut down for at least eight weeks with a knee problem, Washington responded to the adversity by rapidly filling the gaping void at the point guard position with a veteran free agent signing.
Free agent guard Jannero Pargo joined the team on Monday, signing a one year deal. A respected veteran of the league for nine seasons, Pargo has seen action with five different NBA teams, including last season's tour of duty with the Atlanta Hawks.
Talking heads initially speculated that summer acquisition A.J. Price would step into the spotlight and take over the starting point guard job, but that clearly was not an outlook that the franchise shared. Though Price has valuable postseason experience, including a few starts, so does Pargo.
Pargo memorably held his own in the 2008 NBA Playoffs as a member of the second-seeded New Orleans Hornets. He supplemented the former Hornets All-Star point guard Chris Paul with a few key shooting performances off the bench in their seven-game semifinal series against the San Antonio Spurs.Read more... Join the Conversation...
September 25th, 2012 at 10:12 PM
By Brian Koch
Washington Wizards center Nenê irritated his plantar fasciitis condition during the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, England back in August and now the effects of the Brazilian big man having little rest during this NBA offseason will bleed into training camp.
The Washington Post reported that Nenê is still bothered by the injury he reaggravated while playing for his home country in a game against France.
While not entirely damning, this foot injury should have a significant impact on whether or not Nenê begins the new season at full strength. Most likely he'll have to sacrifice the majority of his training camp duties in order to get healthy.
Nenê's injury is a legitimate cause for concern for the Wizards brass. Clearly a centerpiece of the organization's vision for the future, his ability to score on the block and from midrange will be crucial components of coach Randy Wittman's gameplan.
If Nenê somehow ends up missing time in the regular season, the D.C. naysayers will undoubtedly start crowing about how last spring's blockbuster trade that witnessed the departures of JaVale McGee and Nick Young might already be considered a bust. The Brazilian had a history of various injuries before the Wizards traded for him so any muttering opinions are based on honest concerns.Read more... Join the Conversation...