Wow. What a day. There are a special days on #NBATwitter every basketball fan will always remember. The great DeAndre Jordan emoji battle of 2014, the Warriors blowing a 3-1 lead in the 2016 NBA Finals, the Cavs blowing up their team at the 2018 trade deadline, and the annual Dwight Howard has a new team day that comes around every late June.
If you're not familiar with #NBATwitter, it's quite possibly the most insane phenomenon of the internet age. No other sport has this sort of fan engagement. To participate in #NBATwitter, you have to follow two people - ESPN NBA Insider Adrian Wojnarowski (Woj) and The Athletic's Shams Charania. They're the overlords of this weird little Twitterverse. When these two report break NBA news, Twitter essentially erupts with GIFS, memes, and photoshops. The NBA is the most dramatic league in the world, and #NBATwitter perfectly balances the theatrics with unparalleled humor.
Today, #NBATwitter was something special. What should have been a week celebrating major milestones, Dwyane Wade announcing his final season and Elton Brand accepting the 76ers GM position, the focus is now on three separate events all colliding simultaneously. As an #NBATwitter addict, I'm here to break down the events of the day for you.
12:46 p.m. - Jimmy Butler requests a trade from Minnesota Timberwolves
Let's cook! The first news drop of the day was arguably the juiciest. After only one year in Minnesota, it was reported Jimmy Butler requested a trade to one of three teams - the Clippers, Knicks, or Nets. The announcement wasn't a huge surprise as rumors swirled all summer of his unhappiness with the Timberwolves organization. It was also reported Thibs was flying to LA this morning to meet with Jimmy and sort out this mess. I think most people figured Jimmy would stick it out one more year and then test free agency in 2019.
He demanded a trade. When a guy's PR team tells one of the two pillars of #NBATwitter that their client wants out right now, that means they're not fucking around. Within a few minutes of telling Shams, every team in the NBA knew Jimmy was suddenly available, thus crashing his trade market value for the Timberwolves. Now Minnesota has no choice but to move him for pennies on the dollar.
The silver lining for Minnesota is the franchise belongs to Karl-Anthony Towns once again. He's one of the brightest young stars in the league and doesn't have to share the leadership role with Jimmy anymore. The downside is, they traded two young assets and my sweet, beautiful, baby boy Lauri Markkanen to the Bulls for a one year rental. WHOOPS!
1:25 p.m. - Mark Cuban donates $10 million to promote women in leadership roles
Back in February of this year, Sports Illustrated released a report on the misogynistic and toxic culture of the Dallas Mavericks organization. Calling it "A Real-life Animal House," the story reported on dozens of current and ex-employees accounts of sexual harassment and domestic violence within the Mav's workplace. After the article came out, a law firm was brought in to conduct an independent investigation of the organization. The result was a 43-page report that was released today. It stated investigators found that such harassment was allowed because of a company-wide culture of misconduct. The report concluded with recommendations the Mavs hire more women for leadership and supervisory positions. Mav's owner Mark Cuban has committed $10 million to numerous organizations that promote women in leadership roles and combat domestic violence.
Obviously this is a serious issue and shouldn't receive the typical funny #NBATwitter replies. This story deserves honest reflection and discussion of how to prevent systemic misogynistic culture from developing in any organization. The timing of the report's release was what added to this day's insanity. What should have been the top story of the day was overshadowed by the Jimmy Butler news dropping 39 minutes earlier.
2:04 p.m. - Space Jam 2 is officially announced
Of course! Why not on a day with two major NBA storylines pumping through the veins of #NBATwitter, the most anticipated cartoon/live-action mashup sequel of all-time is announced?! It's been 22 years since the original came out. It couldn't have waited for a day when nothing else was going on?
I feel like the first whispers of LeBron starring in Space Jam 2 began when he took his talents to South Beach. Then speculation got even hotter when he surprised a lot of people with his above average performance in Train Wreck. Finally, the move to the Lakers this summer flared up rumors of wanting to settle in Hollywood for a career in acting after basketball. LeBron confirmed the locker room graphic on Instagram later today. It's really happening, folks.
#NBATwitter shifted from trade scenarios, to commentary Cuban's donation, to predictions of the new Monstars lineup in an hour and a half. I've never seen #NBATwitter move that fast in this short of a timeframe. Unreal. This is why the NBA offseason reigns supreme. No other sport can demand this much attention between seasons. What will happen tomorrow with #NBATwitter? I'm not sure, but something delicious I bet. Can't wait to find out.
Here's my official Space Jam 2 Monstars lineup prediction:
Elena Della Donne
When was the last time you looked up? Focusing on the stars and thinking about your place within the cosmic network? There's a good chance it's been a minute. Maybe you never have. It's easy to let the stress of our lives pull our heads down.
A year ago I tried something new. I signed up for Sun Salutations Yoga at Adler Planetarium. The one hour class offered every first Saturday is a rare opportunity to practice yoga beneath the domed Grainger Sky Theater with flowing celestial objects projected above.
I've said it before – I'm terrible at yoga. I never know what I'm doing, I have the physical flexibility of a dead animal, and I'm too cynical to believe anything about chakras. But I keep going back to my mat.
Yoga is all about connection. It bridges your physical and spiritual side through movement and focused breathing. Or something like that. I'm still figuring it out. But what I do know is that showing up on your mat and connecting with something larger than ourselves is what it's all about.
Sun Salutations is an opportunity to let go of your stress and focus your attention on the natural beauty of the cosmos. Along the way, with your breathing and movement, you begin to understand your place in the universe. You feel the atoms that make your physical form and how they came from the dust of a star that died a long time ago.
The collapse of a star gave us the iron in our blood.
One tumultuous event can create new opportunities.
There's no substitution for actually going outside and looking up at the stars, but Sun Salutations is the next best thing available. If you can escape the city for a bit, I encourage you to take a moment and look up. It's easy to feel insignificant, but if you focus long enough, you'll feel you're part of the universe. The hydrogen that fuels our sun is the same hydrogen flowing through your veins. You belong and you matter.
I write the words I'm too uncomfortable to say.