The 8 best things from Dwyane Wade’s extremely fun farewell game

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Wade went out in style, with loved ones around him. You couldn’t write a better ending for a better person.

Dwyane Wade put up a triple double with 25 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists in the final game of his career against the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday. It was a fitting end to a Hall of Fame resumé, the icing on the cake of the one of the best shooting guards to ever play the game.

But as good as Wade was on the floor, the moments and people that accompanied his final NBA game were even better. LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul each came out to support their friend in his farewell game. So did Wade’s wife, Gabrielle Union, and every Heat fan alive in New York City. It set the scene for an incredible game with off-the-court moments that could go down as one of the best career-ending games ever.

The outfit

I mean, come on.

Reuniting with the Banana Boat Crew

LeBron couldn’t make it to Miami for when Chris Bosh got his jersey retired, but he made 100 percent sure he was able to travel to New York for Wade’s final game. So did Melo and Chris Paul. They greeted him on the court before the game.

Gabrielle Union shot t-shirts out of the cannon

I mean…. wouldn’t you?


No, seriously. Wouldn’t you?

Both Nets and Heat fans joined in “Paul Pierce sucks!” chants

It’s rare when fanbases come together to boo a common enemy. Nets fans had their own relationship with Pierce, after the franchise mortgaged its future for him, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry in the Billy King era years ago. Heat fans, among others, didn’t appreciate when Pierce said on real-life live television that he had a better career than Wade.

“You give me Shaq, you give me LeBron. I’d be sitting on five of six championships,” he said.

So the two sides joined together bashing Pierce in Wade’s final game. How fitting.

Melo had his moment

Melo sat court-side with LeBron and Chris Paul, and a loose ball bounced his way. So he took a dribble to the corner and pump-faked a three. Fans were begging for him to shoot, but he chose not to.

This tweet was especially savage:

LeBron videobombed Wade after the game

LOOK AT THIS FACE!

The banana boat crew celebrated the triple double

Melo, Paul and James knew Wade was one assist shy of a triple double. So when he got it — appropriately a dime to Heat lifer Udonis Haslem — they went crazy.

Wade says his goodbyes

This video just speaks for itself.

So does this one:


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Dirk Nowitzki shed tears before the final game of his NBA career

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A fitting end to an unbelievable journey.

In the final game of his Hall of Fame NBA career, Dirk Nowitzki shed a tear. The emotional Nowitzki played his last game on the road in San Antonio, and the Spurs’ video tribute sent the Mavericks legend into disbelief.

Nowitzki’s farewell tour lasted all season. Fans, players, coaches and entire franchises paid tribute to one of the greatest to ever set foot on an NBA floor. Nowitzki didn’t want to admit this was his last season. He would listen to his body, he repeated, and would make the decision at the end of the year.

But before the second-to-last game of the season, Nowitzki came clean. He’d spent his entire career with one franchise, guiding them to an NBA championship in 2011 and decades worth of immensely competitive basketball during his tenure. This year has been surreal. It’s the end of everything he’s known, and the beginning of his next chapter — whatever he decides it to be.

This was the last game of a sure fire Hall of Fame career. And what a way to go out.


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Donald Trump’s Day of the Long Knives

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Michael_Novakhov
shared this story
from Palmer Report.

In what was at the time justified as a preemptive strike against a possible coup, in the summer of 1934, Adolf Hitler ordered the murder of Ernst Röhm and several of his “brownshirt” lieutenants. The net effect of this purge was to rein in the more thuggish elements of Hitler’s regime and consolidate his power. It largely worked and the evening of 30 June, 1934 became known as the “Night of the Long Knives,” in commemoration of those brutal murders.

With Donald Trump ordering the termination of Kirstjen Nielsen and Service Director Randolph Alles, and with other DHS and ICE personnel also on their way out, it’s ironic in light of reflected history that Trump was motivated to take these actions because the personnel he’s purging, though thuggish in their own right, have not, by his lights, been sufficiently thuggish enough. Even so it might not be out of line to call Monday, the eighth of April, and events immediately following, the “Day of the Long Knives,” as a memorialization.

With John Kelly gone, Josef Goebbels lookalike and White House cockroach in residence Stephen Miller is the Svengali currently holding the lion’s share of Trump’s strings. Miller’s well-known toxic views on immigration (it was he who made sport of the “New Colossus,” poem at the base of the Statue of Liberty) are quickly becoming Trump’s too. These days it may even turn out to be dangerous in Trumpland to despise, with substandard zeal, immigrants and asylum seekers. Look for Insufficient Hate to become a fireable offense in the Trump White House soon.

I do not believe that history repeats itself, per se. I do believe, however, that certain identifiable patterns do recur. So apart from yet another tired Hitler dig on Donald Trump, and obvious comparisons of Trump sycophant and lapdog Stephen Miller with Josef Goebbels, what can be achieved by rechristening the eighth of April, 2019, the “Day of the Long Knives”? Only this. During Adolf Hitler’s second year of his rise to power, Hitler never once held in his mortal hands the power to destroy all life on Earth. In fact, he never did. Donald Trump holds two weapons of clear and present danger to the future survival of the human race: the largest nuclear arsenal ever assembled, and a complete disregard for the science of global climate change.

So let’s never lose sight of this chilling reality. Adolf Hitler, with far fewer weapons of far lesser power, and wielding the same simple, inimical bigotry that Donald Trump wields every day, still managed to massacre millions of innocent people, and very nearly destroyed the world. If christening Trump’s latest act of hate-inspired xenophobia the “Day of the Long Knives” reminds you of Trump’s potential to destroy us all, then I see it as a good thing. We need to stay scared.

Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.


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Kristine Anigwe, the best rebounder in the draft, is headed to the Connecticut Sun

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The Cal center put up a 30-30 game in her senior season.

Kristine Anigwe is the WNBA Draft’s most dominant rebounder and now is headed to the Connecticut Sun as the No. 9 overall pick. The Cal senior has nearly every school record imaginable on lock — scoring, rebounding, first 30-30 game — but her physical prowess under the rim is her biggest strand-out trait that should translate to the next level.

Anigwe’s name blew up two years ago when she scored 50 points in a game on 19-of-23 shooting with 14 rebounds, and she’s been producing at ridiculous levels ever since. In 33 games this season, she’s had double-doubles in 32 of them. Yep, almost every single one, including 20 rebounds or more eight times. That includes her 32-point, 30-rebound night in a road win over Washington State. Her numbers are outrageous, and it’s all the more impressive considering she didn’t start playing basketball until she was 13 years old.

Anigwe had a bit of a late start to the game. Born in London, she only started playing basketball in seventh grade, long after she’d moved to the U.S.

“When I was younger, my mom didn’t really know about basketball,” Anigwe told SB Nation. “She had to learn a lot about sports in general, she grew up watching tennis and soccer. Being Nigerian, soccer is really popular in our culture and basketball wasn’t really a strong sport. People didn’t really know how to play or know what it was.”

That hasn’t held her back a bit, despite not taking basketball seriously until her sophomore year in high school.

Why Sun fans should be excited about Anigwe

She claims rebounding was never her specialty, but that’s hard to believe. Anigwe’s grown into the world’s best rebounder. According to Her Hoops Stats, she rebounded 26.5 percent of all possible boards during her time on the floor, the best in the nation. That included 34.4 percent of all defensive rebounds, which is 0.9 percent better than the best men’s college basketball rebounder. She owns the paint.

Anigwe’s a rebounding offensive genius, but her defense is stellar, too. She plays both ends of the court, finishing in the paint on offense and protecting it on defense. The 6’4 big blocked nearly two shots per game (1.7), which ranks 63rd in the nation. She was named the Pac-12’s Defensive Player of the Year in a year despite the conference being stacked with talent. Fellow conference standouts Sabrina Ionescu of Oregon and Alanna Smith of Stanford are expected to be first-round picks in this year’s draft.

Ivan Rabb, a former Cal men’s basketball player who’s now an NBA forward for the Memphis Grizzlies, shared a court with Anigwe for two years. He told SB Nation, “every time I was in the gym, she was there at night.” Rabb pinpointed rebounding as one of Anigwe’s biggest strengths, but also highlighted a lesser talked about part of her game: stretching the floor.

She doesn’t shoot from range often by way of a Cal system that thrives when she’s crashing the boards, but she is plenty capable. This year she’s taken a career-most 23 attempts from behind the arc and sunk seven of them.

Why Sun fans should be nervous about Anigwe

Anigwe’s the ultimate scorer and rebounder, but she might take some adjusting on a team that isn’t centered around her production scoring. At 3.3 turnovers per game and just one assist per game, she fell outside the top 3,000 in turnovers-to-assist ratio, per Her Hoops Stats. With just a 7.2 percent assist rate, she finished outside the top 2,500.

Anigwe took 17 shots per game as the featured star on her team. The next-most prolific shooter Cal has, Kianna Smith, took just nine. But Anigwe will have to readjust at the next level, where she won’t be the best scorer on her team right away. If she can figure out how to contribute to winning beyond scoring, she could be a star in the W.

Get to know Kristine Anigwe

Pregame warmup song: “I like listening to gospel music. I don’t like to get too hyped up before the game. I try to calm down.”

Most Used App: “Instagram honestly. I don’t use social media that much, but if I’m on my phone I’m on Instagram.”

Cats or Dogs? Which kind?: Dogs. I like small dogs. They’re reliable and always there for you.

Favorite meme?


If you didn’t play basketball, what would you want to make a career doing: “I would want to be a sports psychiatrist, helping people find their true self like a life coach. When I was younger I wanted to be a broadcaster because I wanted to help people see their true selves. You don’t see a lot of African-American women on TV. That motivates and inspires you to do that, so I want to do that and help people behind the scenes.”


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Alanna Smith is the shot-blocking, sharpshooting big for the Mercury

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The Australia native is ready to have a huge influence in the WNBA.

Alanna Smith is the 2019 draft’s shot-blocking, sharpshooting 6’3 big who should make herself an immediate influence in the league. After being selected No. 8 overall by the Phoenix Mercury, she should have a chance to do that. The Australian native traveled a long way from home to play at Stanford, where she blossomed into the team’s leading scorer at 19 per game. She also averaged nine rebounds and two blocks.

Smith has professional experience already, having played in the FIBA World Cup for Australia in 2018. Her team, coached by Mercury head coach Sandy Brondello, finished second to the United States with Smith scoring 10 points on five shots in the title game. She saw defense and found success against Breanna Stewart, A’ja Wilson, and Nneka Ogwumike, among other world elites. Smith valued her experience teaming up with the WNBA’s leading scorer Liz Cambage and others, but she also learned where she needs to improve.

“I think I need to work on ball-handling and perimeter skills if I want to be a better player,” Smith told SB Nation. “I don’t want to be just a post player. I want to expand my game a little more.”

Smith’s ability to play a hybrid position is what’s driven her draft stock as she’s become one of the most prolific three-point shooters her size.

Why Mercury fans should be excited about Smith

For any team with a need for a big who can space the floor, Smith is the perfect fit. She has the tools to play in the low post if she needs, but thrives around the perimeter where she can knock home threes. At 5.7 attempts, she ranks just outside the top 200 in the nation despite her 6’3 size, and she’s shooting nearly 40 percent from distance. That’s fantastic. It’s something she’s really worked on.

“I think I naturally have a quick release,” Smith said. “In Australia, when I was younger, we used to do drills where you’d have to get your shot off really quick or you’d get blocked. We’d play against guys a lot.”

Smith says she doesn’t want to be held to just playing the power forward spot, though. She’s a great rebounder (in the 97th percentile on the defensive end) and an outstanding shot-blocker — at 2.2 per game, she ranks No. 37 in the country. She’s an intimidating inside presence, and her blocks are a highlight reel in themselves.

“A lot of people look at the ball when they’re blocking shots, which is important as people pump-fake and throw you off,” Smith said. “But if you not only look at the ball, but incorporate the whole play into their body, their eyes, you can kind of tell when they’re going to get their shots off.

“I hate being scored on, so if I can block your shot, I’m going to do it.”

Why Mercury fans should be nervous about Smith

With the ball in her hands so much, Smith is turnover-prone. She averaged 2.5 per game her senior season, which is a number you’d expect from a true guard rather than a big. Smith often struggled with foul trouble, too, averaging 2.8 per game. Those missteps are correctable in the right setting, especially as her role is reduced as a rookie.

Smith’s draft selection will also go as high or low as general managers value a big who prefers to step beyond the arc. In any setting, she’s absolutely a high-level contributor at the next level. The question that will define her career is what else she can add to be a team’s star.

Get to know Alanna Smith

Favorite pregame song? “Right now we’ve been listening to Future’s ‘March Madness.’” [Smith spoke with SB Nation before Stanford’s opening game of the tournament.]

Who is your favorite WNBA and NBA player and why? “My favorite player in the W is my girl Liz Cambage. She’s such a base. She’s unstoppable. I remember playing with her and watching her get a rebound, take it full court, pull-up jumper. Make it. Who’s 6’8 and can do that?

In the NBA, I’d have to say Giannis [Antetokounmpo]. The crazy skillset he has is very impressive.”

Favorite Liz Cambage moment? My favorite Liz moment … gosh, there’s a lot of them. My favorite one is when she had this tea that had affirmations on the tea bag, and we’d do our daily tea affirmations. Her reading those out at breakfast … it was nice to be affirmed from the day. Especially from Liz.

It was a lot of like ‘Believe it and you can do it,’ just dumb, but it was funny on a tea bag. Like my tea bag is telling me I can achieve my dreams.

Most used app on your phone? “Probably Instagram.”

Cats or Dogs? “Which kind? Dogs. Big dogs.”

What’s your favorite meme?

(After several attempts to describe this over the phone and then realizing I couldn’t see her hand motions, I think Smith means this one.)


If you didn’t play basketball, what would you want to make a career doing? “I’m really interested in reality TV. I’d like to have my own show. I think I have an interesting life and people would want to watch it. Probably just like an everyday life with cameras in my house. I have nothing to hide.”


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Arike Ogunbowale is taking her star power to the Dallas Wings

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She’s ready to take her success from the NCAA tournament straight to the WNBA.

Notre Dame guard Arike Ogunbowale is explaining some of the ways that her life has changed since she hit The Shot.

“I just get a lot of stuff in my DMs that clearly I’d never have gotten before last year,” she says.

If you didn’t see The Shot — the buzzer-beater that made last year’s NCAA women’s tournament one of the most thrilling in history and won Notre Dame its second title — when it happened, you’ve almost certainly seen it since. Ogunbowale’s bucket is in just about every single commercial for this year’s NCAA women’s tournament, commercials currently in heavy rotation on ESPN.

“A lot of people won’t be able to say that they kind of became one of the faces of women’s basketball in college,” Ogunbowale says as she prepares for a return to the Final Four amid next to insurmountable expectations for a showstopping performance. “I mean, I think that’s pretty cool — It’s really an honor and a blessing to be in that position.”

Ogunbowale’s performance in the 2018 women’s Final Four put her in the national spotlight in a way few women’s basketball players at any level ever see: she went on Ellen, and spent part of her offseason competing on Dancing With The Stars. Most of the time, it’s tough to find women basketball players on TV at all, much less hamming it up with celebrities on network television. But it wasn’t just that Ogunbowale hit two consecutive buzzer-beaters — it was the way she hit them, with fearless style and unapologetic swagger, pointing at her forearm after the ball swished through the net to indicate the ice in her veins. And it was the fact that she hit them that way while being a woman — a fact she readily acknowledges.

“Watching our Final Four, people were really shocked that girl’s basketball could be that exciting,” says Ogunbowale. “I’m kind of glad it had such close games — they brought a lot of attention. People are realizing that the women’s game needs more coverage. Throughout the year, there are so many close games and overtime games and competitive games that they don’t show on TV just because they think it’s just women’s basketball. But that’s not actually a fact.”

Her experience in the spotlight has made Ogunbowale ready to be an ambassador for the WNBA — but the thing that anyone who’s watched her play knows is her game is a marquee event even without her ability to argue its merits. She averages 22 points per game, leading the way for Notre Dame. “I just really have a scorer’s mentality,” she says. “I want to get to the basket.” The way she gets to the basket is what makes her so fun to watch: she’s lightning-quick in transition, but if she runs into traffic Ogunbowale shoots regardless — even if she’s practically flat on her back. Most of the time, it goes in.

As Ogunbowale goes pro, the big question is how her flashy style will translate when she’s grinding it out as a rookie. But her reputation, her attitude, and her willingness to advocate for the women’s game will make her an asset to the league the second she gets drafted.

“I already know there are a lot of challenges, especially with the hate that women’s basketball and the WNBA get,” she says. “That’s something that hopefully I’ll be able to use my platform to help with. I know that’s going to be a challenge to get the respect and equality that we need. But also, it’s basketball — I’m just gonna have fun.”

Get to know Arike Ogunbowale:

Pregame warmup song: “‘Every Season’ by Roddy Ricch”

Favorite WNBA/NBA player: “Maya Moore. I like how she can just score really anywhere. She’s a strong guard, she can score in the post, she has a good midrange pull up, she can shoot the three, she can pass. I think she can really do everything.

“Kobe [Bryant] all around, but that’s actively playing, Russell Westbrook. He’s just a killer — he’s at 110 percent at all times. He wants to really dominate anyone that’s in front of him, he doesn’t care. I just love his mentality and how he plays.”

Most used app: “Twitter. I read a lot of threads and stuff — people are hilarious. I wouldn’t say I tweet a lot, but I read people’s tweets. I love that people can retweet, because I see stuff that I never would otherwise.”

Cats or dogs: Dogs. I have a goldendoodle named Kobe.

Non-basketball career: Play soccer.


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Katie Lou Samuelson is a perfect fit for the Chicago Sky

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The 6’3 sharpshooter can do a little bit of everything.

Katie Lou Samuelson is the WNBA Draft’s most deadly three-point shooter, and now headed to the Chicago Sky as the No. 4 overall pick in the WNBA draft. The 6’3 guard/forward is able to get her shot off in an instant, create for others, and use her size to snag boards down low. She has all of the talent to become a WNBA all-star.

When “Lou” gets on a roll, the game can get out of control quickly as one drained three leads to another and another. She locks into zones of relentless confidence where she launches shots that are slightly off-balance or contested and it won’t even matter. In March 2017, she became the second college basketball player to ever drain 10-of-10 three-point shots, as Andre Smith did the same for George Mason nine years earlier.

Samuelson could start in the WNBA today.

Why Sky fans should be excited about Samuelson

With the W changing to a more three-point-oriented league each season, Samuelson’s skills blend perfectly. At 6’3, she’s on the taller end of wings, which should only help her launch an already-speedy shot from deep. In four years at UConn, she’s averaging 41 percent from deep, and 84 percent from the foul line. Her jumper is elite.

Lou is more than a shooter, though. From the wing, Samuelson is a great passer, able to find players in the low post and cutting to the basket. She may never play a traditional guard’s role, and the system she’s placed in might dictate her early passing success, but in college, she’s averaging three assists per night over her entire career.

Samuelson has also become a significantly better rebounder as a senior. With fewer elite bigs on Connecticut’s roster, she’s stepped up, averaging three more rebounds than the year prior with seven. Her rebound rate jumped more than two percent over that span.

Why Sky fans should be nervous about Samuelson

Samuelson has been hit with an injury that’s cost her playing time in three of her four seasons. In her freshman year she broke a bone in her foot in the Final Four that saw her miss the championship game. After missing five games due to several ankle tweaks in her junior year, she needed surgery after the season. And this season, Samuelson missed four games due to back spasms.

It isn’t clear if any of these injuries are worrisome in the longterm, but it’s notable for any teams using a first-round pick on the UConn great.

If she’s able to keep healthy, Samuelson should, at worst, be an OK starter. Few have ever been able to shoot like she has at the collegiate level, and her height, shot mechanics and high free-throw percentage all suggest that will translate in the pros. Samuelson should join the ever-growing Connecticut elite of the W.


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Teaira McCowan is a true center ready to take over the Indiana Fever

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The double-double machine was the No. 3 overall pick in the WNBA draft.

If Teaira McCowan doesn’t get a double-double, something is amiss. The 6’7 center, who was selected No. 3 overall by the Indiana Fever averaged 18 points, 14 rebounds (the second most in the nation), and 2.5 blocks per game. When things are going right, she can draw all the defenders to her so that teammates can score, or grab their rebounds and bat cleanup — or just toss up layups over almost everyone’s head. She can mostly out-rebound entire teams on her own. This is exactly what the Indiana Fever need.

In short, McCowan is the kind of player who appears specifically tailored for the WNBA hardwood. But it didn’t necessarily come easily — like so many people of extra-impressive height, when she was growing up in Brenham, Texas, McCowan started playing basketball more or less as a matter of course, not thanks to extraordinary passion for the sport. When she arrived at Mississippi State, she was tall and strong, but almost completely raw.

“Coming in my freshman year, I was average for a post player,” McCowan told 24/7 Sports. “When I got here, I didn’t know a lot of the terminology. [Mississippi State assistant coach Johnnie Harris] took a lot of time out of her schedule to make sure that I knew all of the fundamental things and I was mastering the skills she was trying to teach.”

That extra time and increased knowledge paid off.

”She’s the most improved player I’ve ever coached from where she was when she got here to where she is now,” Mississippi State coach Vic Schaefer told ESPN recently. “Her growth, on and off the court, and her development as a basketball player. She’s taught me patience. She’s emotional like her head coach, and I have a real appreciation for her because of that.”

Now, along with her obvious size advantage, McCowan has made herself indispensable as both a scorer and a facilitator. She’s a true center, but her efficiency — second best in the nation at 1.25 points per play — makes her a tantalizing prospect for the Fever. An AP poll of WNBA coaches and GMs named her the top WNBA prospect of the 2019 draft back in January, presumably betting on the fact that as much as she’s progressed so far in Vic Schaefer’s program, she’ll learn and develop even more at the pro level.


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