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Orlando Magic Enshrine Tracy McGrady in Team’s Hall of Fame

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This past Tuesday the Orlando Magic honored one of the NBA’s premier talents when it enshrined NBA Hall of Fame guard/forward Tracy McGrady into its own hall of fame. McGrady spent 4 season with the Magic, making the all-star team every season, the All-NBA 1st or 2nd team every season, winning two scoring titles and the most improved player award in the 2000-2001 season. The more notable part of McGrady’s enshrinement is that we are still asking “what if” due to the injuries that cut short his run of dominance in the NBA, and the likelihood of his star shining even brighter had he not incurred them.

“We all sit around and wonder what it would have been like if he had spent the majority of his career here or finished his career off here after those four years.” said Orlando Magic CEO Alex Martins. “If he had, I think, clearly, his number would be hanging in the rafters here and perhaps we’d even be talking about the Magic having won a championship during that time.’’

“It’s full circle because I used to drive up with my mom from Polk County and at a certain point I’d smell that bread and then we’d pass (Amway Arena) and I’d be like, “I’m going to play there one day, I’m going to be in that uniform,’’ McGrady said after the enshrinement. “Now, here we are getting inducted into the Orlando Magic Hall of Fame and it’s a gratifying feeling. This is how it should have been.’’

Donning number one in tribute to his favorite player coming up Penny Hardaway, as well as coming up in Florida as a kid, McGrady definitely fit the bill of hometown hero during his tenure with the Magic. As impressive as his 28 points, five assists and seven rebounds a game were, like many greats of the past, McGrady’s game was an experience; An experience that had viewers watching his career and team high 62 points in his final season with the team and believing that could happen any given night.

At some point, the question was “T-Mac or Kobe?” with regard to who the best player in the league was. In a not so surprising remark, NBA legend Kobe Bryant was asked who was his toughest cover during his playing days.

 

Still occasionally getting the itch to ask “what if” about McGrady’s career, fans should still acknowledge the 8 year teaser was a very substantial appetizer just as McGrady is able to.

“There’s a lot of what could have been with my career,” McGrady said. “But no, I don’t look back on it. I live on the experiences.”.

 

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NBA G League Announces Player Salary Increase for Upcoming Season

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An official statement from the NBA G League came earlier Tuesday announcing an increase in base salaries from $26,000 to $35,000 and $77,250 from a previous $75,000 for players with a league based salary also known as a two-way contract. Additional money can also be earned by players through affiliate player bonuses and NBA call-ups in which an average player could be bringing in $85,000 and $385,000 for two-way contract players.

The NBA, who pays the G League salaries is experiencing some of the highest volumes of popularity it ever has, so naturally there would be a trickle down effect. Over the years the league has done it’s part in attempting to establish itself as a legit minor league system and grow its own brand whether it be through live game streams, or re-branding itself with Gatorade. Now with the increases in salary, the league is setting itself up to be on par with Europe to provide top high school talent with an alternative to the NCAA while providing a suitable income.

With 30% of NBA rosters containing G League players this season and the majority of the NBA teams having G League affiliates, there is a growing sense that its presence will only continue to grow. However there are still concerns that the average player still runs the risk of getting lost in the shuffle thinking back to the days of the G League when barely any call-ups were made. Ultimately the NBA’s willingness to help this league evolve into a growth and development “farm system” as opposed to a shelf for afterthoughts will be the deciding factor in their ability to draw emerging talent.

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Triple G Committed to May 5 Fight as Promoters Scramble to Finalize Details

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With the suspension of “Canelo” Alvarez by the Nevada State Athletic Commission for multiple failed drug tests in February, the team behind Gennady “Triple G” Golovkin is now making a concerted effort to make sure he will still be fighting on Cinco de Mayo. While the withdrawal of Alvarez is a letdown for the boxing world, Golovkin remains indifferent of the situation or who his potential next opponent will be.

“Now is my time. I’m ready to fight with anyone, we’ll see. I will be ready to fight on May 5 in Las Vegas,” Golovkin told ESPN Deportes. “Canelo withdrawal is not my problem, I’m ready to fight. I am a professional and I know how I should do things. It should not be a problem for me [to fight on May 5].”.

There still however remains concerns that the fight will even happen due to time to find a suitable opponent and to promote the event. Golovkin’s management seems to have already settled on moving the May 5th fight to the StubHub Center, nicknamed the “war grounds” in Carson, California which would be a far more intimate location in comparison to the MGM Grand Garden.

While the venue will play a big part in selling this fight, ultimately the obvious main draw would be the fighters. Boxing names such as Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan, Sergiy Derevyanchenko and Billy Joe Saunders have all been brought up, but no official decision has been made as of this moment.

“I’m not interested in fighting anyone else. Golovkin is the one I want. He keeps saying he wants to unify – well here I am and I’m ready to have it with him.” told Bad Left Hook.

Despite Saunders’ enthusiasm, O’Sullivan still seems to remain as the favorite to fight Golovkin, and Derevyanchenko is Golovkin’s International Boxing Federation mandatory opponent now that Alvarez has withdrawn.

Alvarez is set to meet with the Nevada Athletic Commission to hopefully get his suspension reduced to be able to face Golovkin later this year. Within the next week or so more concrete details of the uncertain Cinco de Mayo fight as well as the future of Alvarez-Golovkin should emerge.

 

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Villanova Takes Down Feisty Wolverines for Second Title in Three Years

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Closing out to yet another wild and unpredictable NCAA tournament, the Villanova Wildcats found themselves hoisting the championship trophy after a resounding 79-62 win over the Michigan Wolverines. The Wildcats joined some rare company after the win, being one of the few NCAA championship teams to win every game by double digits as well as one of the few two win multiple titles in a three-year span.

While the 17 point win would indicate Villanova more or less had their way, the Wolverines put up a good fight early on, holding the Wildcats to 1-9 shooting from three-point range and making timely buckets, specifically through big man Moritz Wagner. The turning point however came in the form of tonight’s most outstanding player, Donte DiVincenzo, who lifted his team with 31 points off the bench.

“Honestly I didn’t look at the score at all” DiVincenzo told ESPN. “I didn’t know how many points I had. I didn’t know any of that. I was just trying to make the right play. And Omari (Spellman) was setting unbelievable screens for me and getting me open. And I was just feeling it.”

Perhaps the loudest supporter of DiVincenzo tonight was national Player of the Year Jalen Brunson who only finished with just nine points, but in the fashion of a true leader, embraced what would benefit the whole as opposed to just himself.

“It just shows how much depth we have, and that we don’t care who gets the credit” said Brunson post game.

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Villanova guards Donte DiVincenzo (left) and Jalen Brunson (right) celebrating post game.

In a tournament filled with upsets, the Wildcats lived up to their ranking as a number one seed, showing their resiliency in every round, with every member of the team having a key role regardless of status. While the Wildcats year after year seem to always put competitive teams on the floor, it’s not until you start to pile up on titles that you begin to be talked about as an elite program, and the Villanova is definitely in that discussion now,

“When you come to Villanova,” said Villanova head coach Jay Wright post game. “You come because you want to be a part of something bigger than yourself.”.

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