Story highlights Iranian-born Arsalan Kazemi was picked 54th overall in the 2013 NBA Draft Kazemi first Iranian ever to be drafted by an NBA team Second round pick of the Washington Wizards, who traded him to Philadelphia 76ers When Arsalan Kazemi was picked 54th overall in the 2013 NBA Draft, he knew his elevation to the sport's elite competition was about more than progressing his own career. "I don't do this just for myself and my family," the NBA's first Iranian-born player to be drafted declares on his official Twitter page. "I have the whole country on my back." And for Kazemi his success is not just about shouldering that weight of expectation. "I was more excited for my country," the 23-year-old told CNN. "For the kids that play basketball and have a dream to one day make it to the NBA. I want to show them it's possible." Kazemi fell in love with basketball at age nine while growing up in Esfahan, Iran, playing outside and disturbing his neighbors at all hours of the day. … [Read more...] about Weight of expectation: Kazemi carries Iran into NBA
Story highlights San Antonio Spurs have been the best team in pro sports, but you wouldn't guess it "Fans are hypocrites" who demand things they don't really want, says NBA reporter Despite Spurs' .702 winning percentage, Tim Duncan doesn't get respect of other big stars Spurs tip off Sunday against Oklahoma City Thunder in Western Conference finals LeBron James is cocky. Kobe Bryant is a ball hog. Kevin Garnett is a thug. Dwight Howard got his coach fired. And Metta World Peace? Ugh, Metta World Peace. These are the constant groans of NBA fans filling message boards and Twitter. We'll leave it to you to debate their merits in the comments below, but the message is (supposedly) clear: We want better role models, less individualism and players who show respect for the game. So what about the San Antonio Spurs? They are, for the most part, none of those negative things. They're the winningest pro franchise in the country over the last 15 years, led by two men, David Robinson and … [Read more...] about San Antonio Spurs poised to win 5th NBA crown, but … yawn?
(CNN)To witness greatness while it's happening is a privilege few realize until later. That wasn't the case with Michael Jordan, who did more than enough to solidify himself as one of the greatest to ever play in the NBA during his career. From his athletic feats, to demeanor, to prowess, each aspect of his game exhibited greatness. Perhaps no moment encapsulated his elite status more than the 1998 MLB Finals against the Utah Jazz. In a decisive Game 6, Jordan hit a 20-foot jumper with 5.2 seconds left to give Chicago a one-point lead, securing a third-straight championship for the Bulls and cementing Jordan's legacy as one of, if not the, greatest to ever play the game. Watch Jordan's 1998 interview with CNN World Sport at the top of the page. … [Read more...] about Michael Jordan pulls off three-peat for sixth NBA title in 1998
Story highlights Ugo Udezue is the CEO of the African Basketball League The ABL is currently active in four countries with a total of six teams "I want to cultivate all our LeBron James and our Kevin Durants here in Africa for Africa," says Udezue Lagos (CNN)Ugo Udezue is a man on a mission His goal is to create a sports empire to rival one of the most lucrative and successful franchises in the world; the NBA. "I woke up one day and said, 'I have to do something,'" Udezue told CNN. "Africa has the best talent in sports, look at, even LeBron James or Kevin Durant. Their lineage is from Africa." The former basketball player and NBA agent is now CEO of the African Basketball League (ABL), which aims to promote the sport on the continent and discover and cultivate young talent. Finding the new LeBron James Read More "The motivation is more about creating an opportunity for all those kids I see that are seven foot tall walking down the streets not doing anything," he said. … [Read more...] about Ugo Udezue: The man who wants to build Africa’s NBA
Lagos (CNN)The National Basketball Association (NBA) on Monday commissioned a new training center in Saly, Senegal, the first of its kind in Africa, as part of its drive to attract young teenagers to the league. Ugo Udezue: The man who wants to build Africa's NBA The new facility, which features two indoor basketball courts, a multidimensional activity center, a weight room, conference rooms as well as dormitories and educational facilities, will be the primary training location for NBA Academy Africa future hopefuls from across the continent, the league said in a statement. View this post on Instagram That new gym feeling ✨ — Today, #NBAAcademy Africa officially opened their new facility in Saly, Senegal 🇸🇳 Stay tuned for more info! — 📷: @asphaltchronicles A post shared by NBA Academy (@nbaacademy) on Nov 26, 2018 at 2:39pm PST "We are thrilled to open this new world-class venue in Saly for NBA Academy Africa prospects," … [Read more...] about Senegal gets Africa’s first NBA training center