• Heat guard Dwyane Wade and his two sons appear on the cover of the September issue of Ebony wearing hooded sweatshirts alongside a "We are Trayvon" headline. Deadspin.com notes that this isn't the first time Wade has expressed support for Trayvon Martin, a Florida teenager who was shot to death in February. George Zimmerman, the man accused of shooting Martin, was acquitted of second-degree murder charges last month.
• In case you missed it, Matt Norlander of CBSSports.com had a piece in July about an Atlanta AAU team that donned "I Am Trayvon" t-shirts at a Las Vegas tournament.
• Dan Feldman of ProBasketball Talk recaps Brandon Jennings' eventful introductory press conference.
“We could bring the Lob City to Detroit this year,” Jennings said.
“The things that I was doing in Milwaukee, I won’t have to do here, take all the bad shots,” Jennings said. “Now, I can just actually be myself and be who I was five years ago when I was in high school, playing AAU basketball.”
• Israel Bayer, the executive director of Street Roots, offers some thoughtful commentary on Terrence Jones' recent arrest for allegedly stomping on a homeless man.
I don't know Terrence Jones, but I do know the streets. I know that the NBA cares about the poor, and I also know what basketball means for people on the streets. Many people without a home look to their local basketball team as a vehicle of hope. There's not a day that passes during the regular season that people on the streets of Portland are not talking about the Trail Blazers.
Basketball transcends cultural and class lines and brings us together. We collectively root for our favorite players and/or teams, regardless of our economic circumstances. We rise and fall together as communities and sports fans, from the homeless man or woman sleeping in a doorway listening to the game on a wind-up radio to the family enjoying the action courtside.
• Andrew Unterberger of The Basketball Jones nominates Kelly Olynyk as one of the most interesting players in the Atlantic Division.
A brutally depressing Boston offseason may have been slightly redeemed, however, with the drafting — well, more so the Summer League play — of Kelly Olynyk. The Gonzaga big man seemed like a minor stretch when Danny Ainge traded with the Mavs to move up in the draft and take him with the 13th pick, but Olynyk made the selection look like a steal with his impressive exhibition play in Orlando, scoring with ease both in the post and from the perimeter, rebounding and passing well, and generally showing a ridiculous feel for the game for a not-even-rookie. Olynyk was one of the stories of the summer’s exhibition season, averaging 18 and 8 on 58 percent shooting, with the name “Dirk” even being invoked on more than one occasion. Suddenly, there was a non-ping-pong-balls-related reason to be excited about the ’14 Celtics.
"Blake is one of those guys, where his age has nothing to do with anything," Paul said in a wide-ranging phone interview with ESPNLosAngeles.com this week. "People may say he's a young guy, but he's been special in this league, he's been an All-Star. His voice carries a lot of weight and I think our team will definitely go as Blake goes.
"He's our guy, and he's good enough to do so."
The NBA hasn’t gotten soft. It’s gotten smarter. It’s just as physical a game, if not more, than it was in 1985, because everybody wants to play defense now, and the athletes are that much better. Because for every hard-ass Piston or Celtic team you had banging bodies, there were far more that were more than willing to let things slide. The preponderance of block/charge calls in the modern game is frustrating, but it’s also due to all the people that are blocking and charging. Those people, at least not in great numbers as is the case today, weren’t attempting this back in 1985.
Some six months before the billboards appeared, in positioning Howard as the franchise's future, the Lakers put Pau Gasol in the past, and often, on the bench.• Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic recounts the love story of Suns lottery pick Alex Len and his 6-foot-7 basketball-playing girlfriend.
“We did have a free-agent market last year we had to be aware of, and you make certain arguments based on the future,” Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni told ESPNLosAngeles.com. “Whether they’re right or wrong, that’s the reality of it, and we went that way, but it was never meant to be a slight to (Gasol) or never meant to be that he was the cause of our problems.”