Allen Iverson’s emotional Instagram post on John Thompson

Legendary former Georgetown Hoyas coach John Thompson has passed away. Here’s Philly Voice reporting on Allen Iverson’s reaction to the tragic news:

Georgetown University basketball coach John Thompson died Sunday night at 78 years old, prompting an outpouring of tributes Monday morning.

Among them was a message from NBA Hall of Famer and Philadelphia 76ers great Allen Iverson, who played under Thompson for two seasons from 1994-1996. Iverson became the Big East Rookie of the Year and helped lead the Hoyas to an Elite Eight in the NCAA Tournament during his sophomore season.

But it went beyond basketball for Iverson, who credits Thompson for saving his life when he was jailed in connection with a 1993 brawl in his hometown of Hampton, Virginia. Thompson defied critics by standing behind Iverson, whose conviction was later overturned due to insufficient evidence.

Iverson’s post:

Legendary former Georgetown coach John Thompson dies

The world is taking lots of losses lately. The latest is that legendary former Georgetown college basketball coach John Thompson has died. Here’s the Washington Post reporting:

John Thompson, the Washington native who elevated Georgetown University basketball to national prominence, earned Hall of Fame honors and carved a place in history as the first African American coach to lead his team to the NCAA championship, has died at 78.

His family announced the death in a statement but did not provide additional details.

Physically imposing at 6-foot-10 and nearly 300 pounds and possessed of a booming bass voice that commanded authority better than a shrill whistle could, Mr. Thompson built his teams around similarly intimidating centers such as Patrick Ewing, Dikembe Mutombo and Alonzo Mourning and a physical, unrelenting approach to defense.

His most profound contribution to the game was his grasp of its power to lift disadvantaged youngsters to a better life. He used college basketball — and his stature in the sport — as a platform from which to demand greater opportunities for Black athletes to gain the college education they might otherwise have been denied.

And here’s the Washington Times:

All his life, Thompson grappled with the topic of race. Before winning the 1984 title, Thompson became the first black coach to lead a team to the Final Four in 1982. But when a reporter asked him about that achievement, he said he “resented the hell out of” the question.

“It implies that I am the first black man to be accomplished enough and intelligent enough to do this. It is an insult to my race,” Thompson said. “There have been plenty of others who could have gotten here if they had been given the opportunity they deserved.”

In perhaps the most famous story about Thompson, he scared off Rayful Edmond, a Washington drug lord in the 1980s, from fraternizing with some of his players at the time, including future NBA star Alonzo Mourning.

Thompson was one of the most beloved college basketball coaches of all time. He’ll be greatly missed.

Giannis Antetokounmpo suspended one game by NBA for headbutting Moritz Wagner

Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo has been suspended one game without pay for headbutting Washington Wizards center Moritz Wagner during a stoppage in play, it was announced today by Kiki VanDeWeghe, Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations.

The incident, for which Antetokounmpo was assessed a Flagrant Foul 2 and ejected, occurred with 8:50 remaining in the second quarter of the Bucks’ 126-113 win over the Wizards on Aug. 11 at Visa Athletic Center on the campus of ESPN’s Wide World of Sports in Orlando.

Antetokounmpo will serve his suspension Thursday when Milwaukee faces the Memphis Grizzlies at Visa Athletic Center.

Washington DC now has a sportsbook

Sportsbetting is growing, in every way imaginable. Here’s the Washington Post reporting on a gambling development in D.C.:

With American sports stirring back to life, sports gambling in the nation’s capital entered a new phase on Friday with the opening of the District’s first sportsbook.

William Hill, the British bookmaker, opened a temporary sportsbook at Capital One Arena, making it the first professional sports arena or stadium in the country to host a full-service sports betting operation.

The gambling conglomerate is working on a permanent sportsbook in the space formerly occupied by the Greene Turtle Sports Bar and Grille, but construction has been delayed by complications related to the coronavirus pandemic.

With the return of live sports, though, William Hill and Monumental Sports and Entertainment, which owns the arena, wanted to get a sportsbook up and running quickly. So they converted the arena’s ticket box office area, dormant in the absence of Wizards and Capitals games this spring, into a temporary betting site…

Ticket windows will now be used to place sports wagers, and nine electronic kiosks will also be spread across the space. The sportsbook will be open seven days a week, from 11 a.m. until 11 p.m. The space opened Friday afternoon, just hours after the team secured its licensing from city officials and shortly before the Wizards tipped off their first game of the NBA’s restarted season in Florida.

We used to post daily odds on our site, back years ago. Maybe it’s time to start doing that again.

NBA news: Wizards sign Jarrod Uthoff as Substitute Player

The Washington Wizards today signed forward Jarrod Uthoff (pronounced “YOU-toff”) as a substitute player for the remainder of the 2019-20 season.

Uthoff (6-9, 221) spent most of the season with the Memphis Hustle (the Grizzlies’ G League affiliate), where he appeared in 34 games (all starts) and averaged 18.9 points, 10.7 rebounds, 1.4 steals and 1.2 blocks in 34.9 minutes. The 26-year-old was also named to the Western Conference Midseason All-NBA G League Team in February. Uthoff saw limited action in four games with the Memphis Grizzlies after signing a 10-day contract on Feb. 27.

His previous NBA stop included a nine-game stint with the Dallas Mavericks during the 2016-17 season, where he averaged 4.4 points and 2.4 rebounds in 12.8 minutes. Uthoff originally went undrafted out of the University of Iowa in 2016, where he was named to the All-Big Ten First Team as a senior.

Wizards practice footage at Disney NBA restart campus, featuring Rui Hachimura

The 24-40 Washington Wizards were just good enough to be one of 22 NBA teams invited by the league to their Disney “quarantine bubble” NBA campus in Florida for a season restart focused on playoff seeding. Already without star point guard John Wall this season, the Wizards recently lost the services of star shooting guard Bradley Beal to a shoulder injury. The most compelling player left on the roster, for our viewing purposes at least, is rookie forward Rui Hachimura. Here’s some Wizards practice footage with Hachimura as the focus. Press play:

Bradley Beal reportedly in investor group seeking to buy the New York Mets

Wizards star shooting guard Bradley Beal is reportedly looking to make a business move in the world of baseball. Here’s NBC Sports Washington reporting:

Nationals-Mets games could take on a different meeting someday soon, as Washington Wizards star Bradley Beal is reportedly among a group of investors trying to buy the New York Mets.

Beal, 27, was listed with a large group of athletes and celebrities headlined by Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez in a report by ESPN about the investor group. Former NFL star Brian Urlacher and current Nuggets player Mason Plumlee are some of the others.

As NBA contracts continue to grow, we can only expect more players to make big moves in entertainment, sports outside of basketball, and more.

Wizards guard Bradley Beal will miss NBA restart at Disney in Orlando

Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal will not participate in the NBA’s 2019-20 season restart in Orlando due to a right rotator cuff injury.

The decision was made in full consultation with Wizards Chief of Athlete Care & Performance Daniel Medina, Wizards Orthopedist Dr. Wiemi Douoguih, Beal and his representation.

“Bradley did everything possible to be ready to play, but after closely monitoring his individual workouts we came to the conclusion that it was best for him to sit out the upcoming games in Orlando and avoid the risk of further injury,” said Wizards General Manager Tommy Sheppard. “Although he was able to play through the majority of the season with the injury, the layoff from March until now did not leave any of us feeling comfortable that he would have enough time to be ready to perform at the extremely high level we are all accustomed to seeing and agreed that not participating in the games in Orlando was the right decision.”

Per the Washington Post: “General Manager Tommy Sheppard said in an online news conference Tuesday that he does not think surgery is an option for Beal. Sheppard believes the guard initially injured himself during a game in Phoenix in November but was adamant that the injury won’t be a long-term problem. Sheppard was confident that on a normal offseason timeline Beal would have been ready to play, but having to be game-ready after such a long hiatus amid the novel coronavirus pandemic and then a short period of preparation posed issues.”

Beal experienced discomfort with his shoulder early in the season and worked with the team’s medical and performance staff to manage the injury. The symptoms worsened over the course of the hiatus and he began to rehabilitate the injury with the intent of returning to play. He will not travel with the team to Orlando and will continue his rehabilitation process over the summer.

“This was a difficult decision and one that I did not take lightly as the leader of this team,” said Beal. “I wanted to help my teammates compete for a playoff spot in Orlando, but also understand that this will be best for all of us in the long term. I appreciate the support of my teammates, the fans and the entire organization and look forward to returning next season to continue the progress we have made.”

At the postponement of the season on March 12, Beal was averaging 30.5 points per game (to go along with a career-high 6.1 assists), trailing only James Harden’s 36.7 points per game. He also led the NBA in points per game since January 1 at 33.6. Beal tallied back-to-back 50-point nights on February 23 (53 at Chicago) and 24 (55 vs. Milwaukee), becoming just the sixth player in NBA history with back-to-back 50-point nights and the first since Kobe Bryant in 2007. Beal has recorded 50 20-plus-point games, 31 30-plus-point games, 10 40-plus-point games and two 50-plus-point games, placing him in the top three in the league in each category.

With his current averages of 30.5 points, 4.2 rebounds and 6.1 assists per game on 45.5% shooting from the field, Beal joins Stephen Curry, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Michael Jordan as the only players to post averages of at least 30.0 points, 6.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game on 45.0% or better shooting in a single season since 1975. Beal scored 25-or-more points in 21-straight games from January 20 – March 6, the longest streak in franchise history and the second-longest NBA streak in the last 10 seasons. During the streak, Beal passed Jeff Malone for second place on the franchise’s all-time scoring list.

Wizards sign Jerian Grant, who played for Capital City Go-Go this season

The Washington Wizards have signed guard Jerian Grant.

Grant, a 6-4, 204-pound guard, appeared in 39 games (37 starts) with the Wizards’ NBA G League affiliate, the Capital City Go-Go, this season, averaging 16.3 points, 4.3 rebounds and 5.9 assists per game. At the conclusion of the NBA G League season in March, Grant was shooting .469 from the field and .435 from three-point range, the fifth-best percentage in the league. Grant topped 20-plus points 12 times on the season and tallied five double-doubles (three point-assist and two point-rebound).

According to the Washington Post, Grant is a replacement player for “forward Davis Bertans, their best three-point shooter, who is opting to stay home when the NBA season resumes July 30 in Florida.”

Also from the Post: “As a replacement for Bertans, the point guard will make the league’s prorated minimum salary, and he will be a free agent when the season ends. His contract will not count against Washington’s salary cap.”

A native of Silver Spring, MD, and a DeMatha product, Grant has appeared in 273 games with 61 starts in his four-year NBA career with the New York Knicks, Chicago Bulls and Orlando Magic. In 60 games with the Magic in 2018-19, Grant averaged 4.2 points and 2.6 assists per game and holds career averages of 6.1 points and 2.9 assists per game.

Grant, the son of former Washington Bullet Harvey Grant, played four seasons at Notre Dame, where he was twice named to all-conference teams and was a Consensus All-American in the 2014-15 season. He was originally selected by the Wizards with the 19th overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, but was traded on draft night to the Atlanta Hawks and then again to the New York Knicks.

Wizards set to resume NBA play this summer in Orlando

The Washington Wizards announced their final eight games of the 2019-20 regular season today, set to be played in Orlando at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Washington will begin its eight games on July 31, with a matchup against the Phoenix Suns at 4:00 p.m. The 2019-20 Wizards season is presented by Capital One.

“We are all looking forward to reuniting as a team and having the opportunity to represent our DC Family in Orlando as we resume the regular season,” said Wizards General Manager Tommy Sheppard. “As exciting as it will be to see our players competing on the court again, we are equally eager to be able to use this platform to continue the amazing and inspiring work that our players and organization have done in addressing issues of social injustice and providing relief during the pandemic.”

The team will resume the season against the Suns, marking the second time the two teams will face each other after Washington won the initial meeting 140-132 on November 27 in Phoenix. Washington’s remaining schedule consists of five Eastern Conference opponents (Brooklyn, Indiana, Philadelphia, Milwaukee and Boston) and two Western Conference teams (Oklahoma City and New Orleans). The Wizards have played at least one game against all their upcoming opponents this season other than the New Orleans Pelicans. The team will close out the regular season against the Boston Celtics on August 13.

The Wizards’ first seven games will be televised on NBCSW, with the broadcast information for their final game against Boston TBD. All games will be broadcast via radio on WFED 1500 AM.

Washington will continue with individual player workouts at the MedStar Wizards Performance Center through July 6. They will then depart for Orlando on July 7 and complete a mandatory quarantine period prior to beginning a three-week training camp before the resumption of games. Playoff play-in games are set to begin on August 16 (if necessary), with the first round of the playoffs beginning on either August 17 or August 18.

At the suspension of the NBA season on March 12, the Wizards had amassed a record of 24-40, which left them as the ninth-seed in the Eastern Conference and 5.5 games behind the Orlando Magic for the final playoff spot. Under the format for the resumption of play, the ninth seed in the conference can force a potential two-game playoff with the eighth seed (the ninth seed must defeat the eighth seed twice, while the eighth must only win once) if the ninth seed finishes within four games of the eighth seed in the final standings.