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Liberty Links: Lonzo Ball unveils his first signature sneaker

It has a price tag of $495.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-UCLA vs Cincinnati Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the weekend and check out the links:

Big Baller Brand unveils Lonzo Ball’s first signature sneaker - Twitter

I’m certainly not the world’s foremost Lavar Ball fan, but good on him for trying to maximize his son’s earning potential. Charging $495 for the younger Ball’s signature sneaker, however, before he’s stepped on an NBA court seems a tad much. Ball is all about publicity though. Maybe he threw on the ridiculous price tag with the plan all along being to drop the price once the noise surrounding his family dies down some?

Will Lonzo Ball’s off-the-dribble shot-making translate to the NBA? - Fansided

This piece plays off another prospect report Cole Zwicker previously did on Markelle Fultz that I covered in Wednesday’s Liberty Links. It’s definitely worth a read. Here’s Zwicker’s conclusion:

But part of what makes Ball a tough evaluation is that he’s unconventional, which should not be construed negatively. Ball is not going to be a James Harden or Isaiah Thomas kind of pick-and-roll primary initiator or shot-maker. And that’s ok. I feel confident in his shot translating off-the-dribble from 3 enough to keep defenses honest, including at the point of attack in pick-and-roll, and he shoots high value 3s enough to trade less volume for greater efficiency.

Outside of that, shot-making off the dribble is a cloudy projection, and one which really pushes a more off-ball narrative. How much can his intellect in “figuring it out” overcome his shooting form, lack of shake and flexibility with the ball? Only time will tell.

Tony Parker’s injury is a season-ending ruptured left quadriceps tendon - SB Nation

I had anticipated that the matchup between the Spurs and Rockets would be the highlight of this round of the playoffs. I was clearly mistaken, given that the margin of victory was 28 and 25, respectively, in each of the first two games. Parker’s injury doesn’t help that cause in the future either.

While Parker’s game the last few years has fallen from its former All-Star and Finals MVP tier, he’s been rock solid for Gregg Popovich and San Antonio this postseason, dropping an efficient 27 points in their series-clinching win over the Grizzlies and then another 18 in their win over Houston on Wednesday night.

Get well soon, TP.

Sports agent fired after running up $42,000 in Uber charges on NBA player’s credit card - SB Nation

This is bonkers:

A probe by the NBA Players Association led to the termination of Christian Dawkins, who was listed as part of the “Management Team” of ASM Sports before the agency deleted his profile. A memo released on Thursday by the NBAPA states that Dawkins used the credit card of an unnamed player to charge $42,000 in Uber rides between 2015 and 2016, of which only a few were authorized by the player.

It’s alleged that Dawkins used Uber 1,865 times between July 2015 and May 2016. Assuming the impropriety began on July 1 and ended on May 31, he used Uber on average 5.5 times per day, racking up average charges of $125 per day.

I looked up a cached version of his since-deleted profile. Here’s his bio:

Christian Dawkins joined the ASM Sports family in 2015.

Prior to joining ASM, Dawkins recruited and managed multiple 1st round picks and saw great success leading the Dorian’s Pride grassroots program that sent multiple alumni to college.

Dawkins prides himself on having a relentless work ethic & always putting the client’s best interest first.

“Always putting the client’s best interest first,” huh?

Sixers to Participate in NBA 2K League's Inaugural Season -

I really don’t know much about eSports, so check out the opener of this press release below:

The Philadelphia 76ers announced today its intent to participate in the inaugural season of the NBA 2K eSports League, set to debut in 2018. The Sixers join 16 other teams, including the Golden State Warriors, Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics in the endeavor, which was announced in February 2017 by the NBA and Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. NBA 2K is currently the highest-rated and highest-revenue-generating sports title in North America and the second-highest sports game globally.

Team play within the league will consist of five players utilizing original avatars; additional details on player selection, team branding and league structure will be announced in the coming months. To support its NBA 2K league team, the Sixers will draw upon the success of its eSports franchise, Team Dignitas, which fields six teams in five of eSports most popular games, including League of Legends and Heroes of the Storm.

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