John Wall’s 202 Assist

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Pro athletes in 2020 are displaying the power their platform holds within local communities.

During this mass period of demonstration, athletes have been incredibly visible. However, the question of how they can use their status to find concrete and quantifiable ways to improve the lives of others often arises.

Luckily in the D.C area, we have no shortage of athletes who love to give back, and impact the local the communities where they live.

A recent example of that desire to help is put on display by John Wall’s “202 Assist” program.

Wall’s foundation joined with the D.C government and Lydia’s House —A local organization that helps citizens in Wards 7 and 8— to provide rent assistance to D.C residents in ward 8.

Since June 1st, residents have been applying for much-needed help in a part of D.C hit hard by the pandemic.

Ward 8 residents—based on multiple factors—are on the front lines of the Coronavirus outbreak.

Add the obstacles created by COVID-19 to the fact that Ward 8 households use 62 percent of their income to pay rent on average, and you can arrive at the conclusion that paying rent in a city with a high cost of living is an advanced challenge under current circumstances.

Ward 8 Statistics

From May 22nd to June 22nd, “202 Assist” fundraised $531,860 in rent relief funds, and the organization is in the process of putting those funds to use.

Much of the work that Wall and other D.C athletes contribute to holds immense value beyond the donations and demonstrations themselves.

Wall’s presence in the D.C community is highly appreciated and needed.

It has been a pleasure to see one of my favorite players help people survive during a bleak time.

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John Wall and Brad Beal, the “House of Guards”

NBA free agency 2019…so far

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On Sunday afternoon the NBA free agency moratorium period opened and within only a few brief seconds the power dynamic of the NBA started to shift dramatically.

So far we have witnessed one of the most active and lucrative free agency periods ever as NBA teams agreed to shell out an estimated $3 billion dollars within the first 8 hours of free agency.

Along with the extensive amount of money changing hands, the sheer level of talent on the move is changing the power structure of the NBA. We’ve seen Finals MVPs, league MVPs, perennial All-Stars and faces of franchises find opportunity and wealth in new locations.

We’ve all seen the names but before I can even get to the players it is important to have a background on what the moratorium period is.

What exactly is a moratorium period?

For those who don’t know, the moratorium period is when NBA teams can negotiate and agree to verbal terms on contracts with free agents, but they can’t put pen to paper until the moratorium period is over.

The reason this period exists is because the NBA is finalizing the exact amount of the salary cap. The cap is finalized on July 6th. The first day that free agents can physically sign contracts.

The signings made so far should be honored, but there is always a slight chance that a deal could fall through in the coming days.

The 2015 Deandre Jordan fiasco was the last major example of a key signing rescinding a verbal agreement and signing with another team when Jordan backed out of his Mavericks agreement in order to return to the Clippers.

The verbal contract commitments and trades have us seeing a chunk of the top talent in the NBA moving to other teams and probably by the time this is posted more league changing moves will have been made.

Deandre Jordan agreed to a contract with the Dallas Mavericks, but was convinced by Clippers teammates to stay in Los Angeles. (2015)

Big moves so far…

We’ve seen the Warriors lose two Finals MVPs in Kevin Durant (Nets) and Andre Iguodala (Grizzlies), Lock up Klay Thompson with a max contract, re-sign Kevon Looney and trade for D’Angelo Russell.

The Charlotte Hornets asked All-Star guard Kemba Walker to take a significant pay-cut under the $220 million Supermax they could’ve offered him, so he decided to take his talents to Boston to claim the starting point guard spot vacated by Kyrie Irving (Nets).

Jimmy Butler is part of a four team sign-and-trade deal that sends him to the Miami Heat. J.J Redick agreed to sign with the Pelicans which frees up enough cap space so the Sixers can add Celtics big man Al Horford.

The Utah Jazz signed sharpshooter Bojan Bogdanović and tenacious defender/rebounder Ed Davis in order to solidify their roster for a potential contending run this year.

The Portland Trailblazers looked to do the same as they re-signed Rodney Hood and traded for Hassan Whiteside.

These are just a few of the moves that are morphing rosters in a summer that looks to bring parity back to the NBA….Unless Kawhi decides to team up with LeBron and Anthony Davis in LA.

No NBA…What do I do now?

We’re past the NBA Finals, NBA draft and NBA Awards.What’s next? Luckily basketball never stops and summer ’19 is filled with entertaining hoops.

It was nice to see the NBA elite gather around Shaq in order to honor the best players the league had to offer for the 2018-19 season and by the end of the night all loose ends related to last season were tied and the focus is now on the future.

The Giannis v Harden MVP debate was finally settled as Giannis took home the NBA Most Valuable Player award.

The NBA is in the midst of an offseason that will change the power dynamic of the league. Free agency and potential trades have the ability to turn some teams into contenders overnight and the anticipation can eat away at the patience of any basketball fan.

However, with free agency looming and the summer league still a few weeks away here are some ways to fix your basketball itch and check out some high level hoopers you might not normally watch. Or if all you want is a break from incessant baseball highlights that’s okay too. Here’s what we got on tap for this week.

The Big3

The 3-on-3 half-court league founded by Ice Cube is back for its third season with bigger names, new teams and a fiery competition level that we are accustomed to seeing from former NBA athletes.

Josh Smith and Royce White, classic “oldhead” basketball

The league tipped off last Saturday and if you missed seeing some of your favorite players from the 2000’s this is the league for you.

The best moment of the opening weekend was the re-emergence of “Iso” Joe Johnson.

Joe Johnson demonstrated the scoring ability we saw during his time with the Atlanta Hawks and Brooklyn Nets. Every bucket was a reminder of his game in the past but was also a celebration of the present and proves this league accomplishes its goal of giving talented former NBA players a platform to showcase their talents for a longer period of time.

Personally, I am a big fan of the league because it has high level players showcasing different ways to score and defend in the half-court. Having a player like Joe Johnson playing in the league provides a lot of young players with the chance to watch and see how a high level scorer operates in a slowed down game.

“Iso” Joe still has it.

Big3 Week 2 this Saturday on CBS at noon EST.

The Mystics and Elena Delle Donne

The WNBA competition level is at the highest I’ve seen since I started watching a few years ago and I highly encourage anyone who likes basketball to check out a few games.

If you’ve never watched a full game I would start with the Washington Mystics matchup against the Connecticut Sun on Saturday, June 29th at 2 p.m. EST.

This game features two teams currently fighting for the top spot in the Eastern Conference and Mystics forward Elena Delle Donne. Delle Donne is one of my favorite players to watch and you won’t be disappointed when she’s on the floor.

EDD a walking bucket.

Delle Donne is a solid hooper defensively and offensively, evidenced by her 16 points per game. She uses her amazing footwork, length and off-ball movement to efficiently score on any defender.

She also has fantastic guard skills for a post player and when all of those factors are clicking together she becomes incredibly hard to slow down.

Long story short EDD can get or defend a bucket at will. Check out the Mystics this Saturday on ESPN.