A high-profile incident involving Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook and a heckling fan highlights the sometimes overly-close physical proximity between NBA fans and the targets of their derision.,On Monday night, Westbrook and 45-year-old Shane Kiesel exchanged insults during the second quarter of the Thunder’s game with the Jazz in Vivint Smart Home Arena.,Westbrook explained after the game that Kiesel’s insult is the latest in a series of disdainful remarks by fans aimed at him and other NBA players when playing in road arenas.,First, Kiesel and several other fans in Vivint Smart Home Arena were issued co-called “warning cards” pursuant to the NBA’s Fan Code of Conduct.,In addition to the Fan Code of Conduct, the uniform player contract signed by every NBA player contains provisions that empower commissioner Adam Silver to punish Westbrook.

James and his closest friends idolized Michael Jordan while they grew up together on Akron’s competitive playgrounds and tough streets.,As James grew into a tantalizing basketball prospect capable of jumping from high school to the NBA as the No. 1 draft pick, he studied, imitated and drew profound inspiration from Jordan’s tongue-wagging dunks, that fadeaway jumper, his competitive fire — even the little details of the way Jordan wore his sneakers and shorts.,Jordan has also admired James’ game for years.,When James surpassed Jordan’s career points total Wednesday night, he did it in a pair of Nikes with “Thank You M.J.” written neatly on the side.,James moved past Jordan into fourth place on the NBA’s career scoring list with a driving three-point play in the second quarter of the Los Angeles Lakers’ 115-99 loss to the Denver Nuggets.

No team in the NBA has lost more games over the past six seasons than the Lakers, but whatever infects basketball operations has graciously spared game operations, which are still the league's best.,The team plays in the most appealing market in the league; their local broadcast deal pays them in excess of $150 million per season; they employ LeBron James; and they have picked second overall in three of the past four drafts.,Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAYRather than assign blame to unfavorable news reports that embarrassed her franchise, Buss could have taken a page from Robert Sarver, the owner of a Suns team with the fifth-most losses over these six seasons.,At some point, the Lakers must recognize that running an NBA team is far more than an exercise in brand management and talent recruitment.,A front office is a managerial project like any other business -- NBA teams make widgets, only they're wins (or, more commonly for the Lakers, losses).

Even though the Thunder narrowly ended their 4-game skid last night @ Portland, they are still 1 loss away from losing 5 of 6 and 6 of 8 games.,Next up for the Hawks was a 6 game Western Conference road trip against average to good teams, all of which would be underdogs to them.,Proposed bet#3: .3 units on LA Lakers ML +200 ~ Potential Profit = .6 units -(Subtracted by the .1 from Denver Bet & the .2 units from Phoenix bet) =+0.3 units

Regardless of which game they loss, my friend Jay would profit between .1 and .6 units as long as they lost one game.,Although I haven't employed such an ambitious strategy, I have always thought about the ways in which Jay would manufacture value by betting against a team multiple times - knowing that if he was wrong on the first game, he would get better value betting against them the next game.,If the true value of the Hawks against OKC, the 6th game of their trip, was an even money proposition, by the time the Hawks won their next 5 games the market would make them significantly more expensive, and the Thunder would obtain more value, around at +130 or better. read more

And at this stage in James' career, with three championships, eight consecutive NBA Finals appearances to his name and an equally burgeoning business and political profile off the court, James is a transcendent star.,Johnson said the Lakers didn't want to make the team like the Cleveland Cavaliers all over again for James.,James was just starting to find his footing with this new cast in Los Angeles.,Since his return from injury, the Lakers have a defensive rating of 109.6 when James is on the floor in four wins; the Lakers have a defensive rating of 113.1 when James is on the floor in the eight losses.,Most of the roster wasn't going to be back next year anyway, given the team's insistence on signing players to only one-year contracts to preserve salary-cap space for a second star this summer.

YOUNGSTOWN — Senior guard Melinda Trimmer scored in double figures for a seventh straight game in leading Youngstown State past Milwaukee, 64-58, in a Horizon League quarterfinal Wednesday night in front of 1,382 fans at the Beeghly Center.,LOS ANGELES (AP) — LeBron James moved past Michael Jordan into fourth place on the NBA’s career scoring list Wednesday night.,James, who entered the NBA at 18 years old compared to 21 for Jordan, began the night averaging 27.1 points per game in 1,189 games over 16 seasons with Cleveland, Miami and the Lakers.,Just eight days ago, James moved into 10th place on the assists list, becoming the first player in league history to make the top 10 in points and assists.,James began the night averaging 27.0 points, 8.7 rebounds and 8.0 assists while hitting 51 percent of his shots and playing 35.7 minutes per game for the Lakers.

They cheered him, but only after booing him.They stood, but not all of them, and not immediately, and not for long.He surely heard them, but never acknowledged them.LeBron James passed Michael Jordan to move into fourth place on the NBAs all-time scoring list Wednesday night, leaping over the legend in a monumental accomplishment that felt like an enormous dud.Epitomizing this embarrassment of a season, the history-rich Lakers couldnt even enjoy making history.It wasnt the franchises fault.,The NBA wouldnt let them stop the game immediately, so at the first stoppage of play after James layup against the Denver Nuggets with 5 minutes 38 seconds to play in the second quarter gave him 32,294 points two more than Jordan an attempted celebration ensued.The scoreboard displayed a video.,The fans stood and cheered, but it was mostly politely, and somewhat uncertainly, as if they were applauding an impromptu speech given by a distant uncle at an acquaintances wedding.Lakers' LeBron James, left, is congratulated by Rajon Rondo after his basket against the Denver Nuggets passing Michael Jordan on the all-time scoring list on Wednesday at Staples Center.James was never given the game ball.,From his initial decision to forgo an introductory news conference last summer to his Culver City prank pizza tweet to his pregame announcements of movie releases in the middle of playoff pushes, he has never really reached out to the fans, and now they are holding him accountable for the Lakers failure.On probably the most unusual milestone night in Lakers history, so much felt different, so much was lost.This passing of Jordan should have been another brick in the foundation of a local debate that James is the greatest player ever.,But even with this monumental history looming, Lakers fans are focused on a different, more uncomfortable milestone.At his current rate, James will easily pass Bryant next season for third place on the all-time list with 32,311 points, hes 1,332 points behind, and he has averaged 2,042 points in the previous three seasons.On the night he passes Bryant, if the Lakers are still struggling, can you imagine how conflicted fans will be?

Now, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft faces misdemeanor charges of soliciting a prostitute after police said he was twice videotaped paying for a sex act at a massage parlor in Florida amid a crackdown on sex trafficking.,Last year, Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson sold the team after allegations surfaced of sexual and racial misconduct in the workplace.,Cincinnati Reds owner Marge Schott was sued by former employees during the days of the Big Red Machine for being a racist and, at one point, was quoted in The New York Times as saying Adolf Hitler initially was good for Germany; that her use of racially inappropriate words was in jest; and that she didn't understand why certain ethnically insulting words were offensive.,Last year, NASCAR's Brian France , whose family owns the stock car racing circuit and many of the tracks where it competes, was arrested in New York on charges of aggravated driving while intoxicated and criminal possession of a controlled substance.,Perhaps the most documented misbehavior by a franchise owner occurred with George Steinbrenner of the New York Yankees.

FILE - In this June 7, 2018, file photo, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft speaks with reporters following an NFL football minicamp practice, in Foxborough, Mass.,less

FILE - In this June 7, 2018, file photo, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft speaks with reporters following an NFL football minicamp practice, in Foxborough, Mass.,Police in Florida have charged New ... more read more

USA TODAY

LOS ANGELES — LeBron James’ team won the All-Star Game, but that’s not the only reason why he had a ton of fun over the past few days.,READ MORE: NBA commentary from columnist Martin Rogers CLICK ROLL: Get exclusive content with our NBA newsletter He just spent a nice little break with a group of elite players, especially those he selected for his own team to take on Team Giannis (Antetokounmpo), that he’d love to be playing with every night.,And there's plenty to suggest that the closest James will get to his preferred Dream Team just passed by over the weekend, or will once again come and go at next year’s All-Star break.,Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions read more