October 17, 2017
Ruth J Morrison

Ruth J Morrison

VIDEO DISCUSSION: Has Odell Beckham reached NFL icon status?

New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. landed at number 8 on the Top 100 NFL Players list and some people are already giving him icon status.

Michael McDonald and Keisha Wilson, hosts, of What’s The 411Sports, are pondering the question, has Odell Beckham Jr. reached icon status?

According to Mike McDonald, not yet.

“Certainly he has a long way to go. He’s got the talent to be a Hall of Fame wide receiver. He’ got the game-changing ability. He’s not on Julio Jones, Antonio Brown’s level yet, but he’ll probably get there because he's younger than those guys, and he hasn’t had as many opportunities to play in the playoffs. But, with the NFL, for me, the guys who are the icons are the quarterbacks, those are the guys that have to lead their team. But, there's no question that Odell Beckham Jr. despite all the controversy which is mild controversy, it’s not like this guy is out there getting into fights, doing anything illegal or anything like that. All the controversy that surrounds him, it's all small stuff. It's like you shouldn't have gone to Miami to go party. It's not like it's major things. But he has certainly no question about it, the opportunity in front of him to be one of the most famous athletes in the world,” responded Mike McDonald.

“A lot of that has to do with the fact that he plays in New York, a lot of it has to do with the fact that he plays in this major market and a lot of it has to do with the personality that he has. People always point to the hair. It's not just the hair it's the fact that he is one of the few players in the NFL where at any given moment in the game he just has that breakaway speed where he can just pull away and just have a game game-changing touchdown. I think he absolutely has an opportunity, but to make a name for himself and be one of the greatest to ever play at his position, but icon status he has a long way to go until he gets to that point,” Mike continued.

Keisha Wilson is threading the needle on Odell Beckham and icon status a little differently.

“I think at this point he's had iconic moments. I think we all remember the catch and I think that catch against Dallas Cowboys will always be in the running for one of the best catches ever. So, there are other times when he has had iconic moments but like you said he has a long way to go and hopefully he will be injury-free to allow him to have a long career to cement his status as being an icon. He's got out of this world talent and I think we're still are scratching the surface. I think there's still more to come and it just going to get better and better, Keisha added.

He's definitely, while not an icon, he's definitely I think he's one of the faces of the NFL and I think that he has transcended football and I think you know he's becoming worldwide a phenomenon. He's very active on social media. I think he’s great at marketing himself. He went over to Germany and he had a picture, he had his phone, and he was on top of a car and there was a mass of people. As far as I know, the NFL doesn't have a big football presence in Germany, but they loved him. They knew him, they were shouting his name and so everywhere he goes, he has this magnetic personality. It's the hair, it’s the smile, it’s the outfit, it’s who he is, and that's bigger than NFL. I think even if he doesn't become an NFL icon, I think he'll be one of the biggest personalities that the game has seen in a long time, if ever.”

VIDEO DISCUSSION: New York Yankees were in a huge tailspin heading into the MLB All-Star Break

Given, where the Yankees are right now, they have to make some moves to help their bullpen, and of course, acquiring another first baseman.

Even with these moves, the Houston Astros in the American League are so far superior it is hard to see what changes the Yankees could make to their roster to compete with the Astros.

This is not to say the Yankees should do nothing, as the team could compete with the Red Sox in the American League East. However, don’t look for the Yanks to mortgage their future to do so.

A push for the World Series is not going to happen this year even though they are getting Matt Holliday and Starlin Castro back, two guys who have been hurt recently. Hopefully, with their return, they'll get the Yankees rolling again.

Many people are talking about how great it would be if the Yankees could obtain Logan Morrison who is with the Tampa Bay Rays. However, that's never going to happen.

Bryce Harper, a right fielder for the Washington Nationals is on the wish list, but we’ll see.

On another note, congratulations are in order for Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge; he won the Home Run Derby at the MLB All-Star Game.

VIDEO DISCUSSION: Knicks fans okay with Hardaway Jr.’s return, but concerned about $71 million

Phil Jackson is out as the NY Knicks president and directly after his exit, the Knicks inked a four-year deal to bring Tim Hardaway Jr. back to the team.

New York Knick fans seem to be okay with Hardaway’s return because of his improvement since going to the Atlanta Hawks. However, fans are crowing about Hardaway’s $71 million four-year deal.

Meanwhile, David Griffin, former Cleveland Cavaliers general manager, has turned down the job of general manager of the New York Knicks.

So the hunt for a general manager continues. Purportedly, the new general manager will report directly to Steve Mills, who is expected to be elevated to team president.

VIDEO DISCUSSION: Brooklyn Nets Teamwork

On NBA Draft night with the number 22 pick in the first round, the Brooklyn Nets chose Jarrette Allen, but prior to the draft they acquired D'Angelo Russell and Timofey Mozgov from the Lakers in exchange for Brook Lopez and a first round draft pick.

Russell attended NBA Summer League and like a good teammate, he cheered on the Nets. Reportedly, Russell stayed and watched the Lakers play.

The question among reporters that cover the Nets is will D’Angelo Russell benefit from the Nets development culture.

Jeremy Lin said he's very excited about having Russell playing in the backcourt with him, according to Nets general manager Sean Marks.

Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson is known for developing guards, so the expectations that D’Angelo Russell will assimilate in Brooklyn is very high.

VIDEO DISCUSSION: Lonzo Ball drew crowds during NBA Summer League, is this a prelude of things to come in L.A.?

Lavar Ball must be something of a Nostradamus. He predicted that his son, Lonzo Ball, would make it to the NBA and play for the Los Angeles Lakers, check and check, his son Lonzo is in the NBA, playing for the Lakers. Currently, Lonzo is playing in NBA Summer League and, of course, is under scrutiny by media, NBA pundits, and Lakers fans.

Although his father, LaVar Ball, has been his one-man promotions team, many who are seeing Lonzo play for the first time are concerned for the Los Angeles Lakers. No need to worry about the Lakers’ management on this one. The Lakers did their due diligence before signing Lonzo, so there’s no nervousness on their part. In fact, Magic Johnson isn’t nervous; he’s confident that Lonzo will live up to the hoopla. Magic told Lonzo that he fully expected that his jersey would one day hang from the rafters next to his, but just save him some records.

So, the pressure is on Lonzo. He's from Los Angeles, he went to UCLA, and he and his family had the Lakers in clear sight. So, now his dream has come true. However, Lonzo’s first game in NBA Summer League didn’t go as planned. He kind of laid an egg. But not to worry, Lonzo bounced back very nicely in the next game and had a triple-double with flashes of that court vision that had been reported about by those who covered his college game. If there is one knock on Lonzo, it is that he is a little scrawny and needs to bulk up.

Only time will tell if Lonzo will be a superstar. But right now, Lakers’ fans are very excited about what the future holds for Los Angeles and Lakers’ summer league ticket sales are a good indication of things to come. Hopefully, Lonzo will live up to his father’s hype. But with Magic Johnson in the front office, who better to mentor him.

VIDEO DISCUSSION: Is OKC a good spot for Paul George and are the Los Angeles Lakers still an option for Paul George in 2018?

Indiana Pacers guard Paul George has left the building and has landed in OKC to play with NBA MVP, Russell Westbrook, and the rest of the Oklahoma City Thunder team.

This move puts the Thunder in a better position to compete in the Western Conference. However, some NBA pundits think OKC still needs another star player or a 1-A player to overcome San Antonio, who beat them in 2017 in the second round of the NBA Western Conference playoffs, or the NBA Champions, the Golden State Warriors for that matter.

Interesting enough, a surprising element of this move is that Kevin Durant gave George encouraging words that helped shape his thinking about the move to OKC.

If the Thunder makes it to the NBA Western Conference championship game, would the Los Angeles Lakers still be an option for Paul George in 2018?

VIDEO DISCUSSION: NBA Free Agency 2017 took NBA fans on a wild ride with expected and unexpected changes

Yes, NBA free agency was in full effect this past week. There were changes that most of us expected and some that very few people saw coming. Let’s talk about the winners and those who didn't win too much.

Winners

Houston Rockets landing Chris Paul from the Los Angeles Clippers, which seemed to come out of nowhere. But rumor has it that the relationship between Chris Paul and Doc Rivers had soured somewhat because of perceived favoritism towards Austin Rivers who is Doc Rivers’ son. The challenge will be how Chris Paul and James Harden will be able to play together.

Other winners include the Boston Celtics landing Gordon Hayward; OKC obtaining the services of Paul George; Minnesota for adding Jimmy Butler to its roster, the Golden State Warriors because Kevin Durant took a pay cut in order to keep the team intact, and the NBA for continuing to make headlines in mid-July.

Biggest Losers

The Chicago Bulls with the trade of Jimmy Butler to Minnesota Timberwolves by many accounts is the biggest loser in the 2017 NBA Free Agency. 

Also, the Indiana Pacers losing Paul George to OKC, and the Utah Jazz losing Gordon Hayward to the Boston Celtics. Indiana and Utah are both small market teams who are losing their draw and possibly revenue.

VIDEO: Jimmy Butler and Timberwolves are big winners in NBA Free Agency; Paul George lands in OKC, Brooklyn Nets, Knicks, focusing on young players

Before we get to our discussions of the top sports stories, here a couple of quick bites:

• The NBA fined Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid for foul language after he released a video on Instagram where he said, "F- LaVar Ball"
• Lakers small forward Brandon Ingram will miss the remainder of summer league due to cramping in his right leg
• The Miami Heat officially waived Chris Bosh and plan to retire his jersey. Bosh has since cleared waivers and is now a free agent.
James Harden landed the biggest NBA extension contract in history. The deal, reportedly worth $228 M, would start trickling in 2019-20 at a salary of $37.8M, $40.8M, $43.8M and $46.8M.

NBA Free Agency

NBA free agency was in full effect this past week. And, Keisha and Mike are talking about the winners and those who did not do as well.

Paul George Goes to OKC

Indiana Pacers guard Paul George has left the building and has landed in OKC to play with NBA MVP, Russell Westbrook, and the rest of the Oklahoma City Thunder team. Has OKC positioned itself to be in better contention to take over the West? Did the Los Angeles Lakers miss the boat on not trading for him?

Lonzo Ball NBA Summer League Outing

As his father, LaVar Ball predicted, NBA Draft stand-out, Lonzo Ball is now in the NBA and playing for the Los Angeles Lakers. Lonzo had a rough Game 1, but he managed to right his ship and played clicking on all cylinders for Game 2. Will Lonzo bring “show time” back to the Lakers?

What’s The 411Sports’ Photo of the Week

Our photo of the week is a photo of Markelle Fultz, the 2017 NBA Draft’s #1 pick overall, being helped off the court by his teammates because of an injured left ankle.

What’s The 411Sports’ New York Sports Report

Brooklyn Nets

The Brooklyn Nets acquired Jarrett Allen in the 2017 NBA Draft at No. 22, and just before the draft, the Nets acquired guard D’Angelo Russell and center Timofey Mozgov from the Los Angeles Lakers in exchange for Brook Lopez and a Nets first round draft pick. Russell attended NBA Summer League and like a good teammate, he cheered on the Nets. However, when the game was over, Russell stayed to watch the Lakers play.

Should D’Angelo Russell have stayed to watch the Lakers summer league game? Will the Nets development culture be able to assimilate D’Angelo Russell?

New York Knicks

Phil Jackson is out as the NY Knicks president and the Knicks inked a four-year deal to bring Tim Hardaway Jr. back after Jackson’s exit. New York Knick fans are crowing about Hardaway’s $71 million four-year deal. Meanwhile, David Griffin, former Cleveland Cavaliers general manager, has turned down the job of general manager of the New York Knicks.

Is this a good move to bring Hardaway back to the Knicks? Who made this decision? Would the Hardaway acquisition have happened if Phil Jackson was still with the Knicks?

The New York Yankees

New York Yankees were in a huge tailspin heading into the MLB All-Star Break.

Will the Yankees turn this ship around and sail into smoother waters?

New York Giants

New York Giant wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr landed on the number 8 spot on the list of Top 100 NFL Players of 2017 as determined by his peers.

Off Topic

LaVar Ball Gets Real

LaVar Ball’s camera-ready persona has reportedly landed the Ball family a reality-show deal. Deadline is reporting that the Ball family will be the focus of a yet-to-be-named docu-series as part of Facebook's push for original video content.

A Woman Uber Driver Gets First-Day Surprise

It was a woman’s first day as a Uber driver and she picked up Golden State Warriors center JaVale McGee. How cool is that?

AUDIO: Sean Marks and Kenny Atkinson introduce the Brooklyn Nets’ 2017 NBA Draft Pick Jarrett Allen to the New York media

NBA Draft night 2017 is over and the picks are in. Listen in on the Brooklyn Nets press conference as the team introduces its NBA Draft pick, Jarrett Allen.

The Brooklyn Nets selected Jarrett Allen from the University of Texas at Austin in the first round at No. 22, and on the very next day, June 23, 2017, the Nets held a press conference to introduce its draft selection to the New York media.

Sean Marks, Brooklyn Nets general manager, and Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson agreed after the NBA Draft that the Nets will need time to develop Allen.

Even Allen is clear that he is a work in progress, particularly the need to strengthen his body. In addition to developmental work, Allen admitted that he needs to adjust to New York City since he comes from a more suburban environment.

The Brooklyn Nets is a very young team, and Sean and Kenny will look to Jeremy Lin, Trevor Booker, Sean Kilpatrick, and even recent pickup Timofey Mozgov to provide leadership to the younger players both on and off the court.

Leading into the draft, speculators had Allen floating in the first round around 12-16, even Sean Marks was surprised that Allen was still available at No. 22. Scouting reports listed Jarrett Allen’s attributes as a good defender, a remarkable 7’5” wingspan to go along with a wide frame, and quick feet and surprising agility.

VIDEO: Brooklyn Nets introduce D'Angelo Russell and Timofey Mozgov to New York media; questions about Russell maturity still abound

The Brooklyn Nets introduced D'Angelo Russell and Timofey Mozgov to the New York media. Again, Nets general manager Sean Marks, and head coach Kenny Atkinson prefaced their remarks by giving kudos to Brook Lopez and thanking him for his service to the Brooklyn Nets.

The Nets acquired D'Angelo Russell and Timofey Mozgov through a trade with the Los Angeles Lakers in exchange for Brook Lopez and a first round draft pick. The Nets had Boston’s first-round pick (Boston has Brooklyn’s), which gave the Nets a second first round pick at No. 27, which it turned over to the Lakers to complete the deal.

Much of the reporters’ questions focused on Russell’s maturity level and will Russell be a good fit within the Nets’ culture. Marks stands firmly behind his decision to acquire Russell and Atkinson believes contrary to public opinion, Mozgov will be motivated to work hard to quiet his critics.

Mozgov is one of two Russians to have won an NBA Championship. Mozgov won with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016.

The Lakers trade of Russell and Mozgov was Magic Johnson’s first big move to make room to bring “show time” back to the Los Angeles Lakers. Russell is a good player, but if Lonzo Ball, who the Lakers drafted in the NBA Draft turns out to be as good a player as his father touts him to be, it will be the beginning of show time in L.A.

Acquiring Russell and Mozgov could prove to be better than a draft pick for the Nets, as both players have tremendous upsides. Russell does look at his trade to Nets as an opportunity to hit the reset button and prove the naysayers wrong. Russell wants to be a respected player in the NBA. Mozgov believes that Russell could be an elite player in the NBA because he has the talent, he just has to put in the work.

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