L.A. Clippers player DeAndre Jordan was set to go to the Dallas Mavericks this summer. He’d agreed in principle with Mavs owner Mark Cuban, but when it was revealed that he’d not yet signed his contract, he became the star of the funniest off-season NBA soap opera.
On July 8, The Clippers, including coach Doc Rivers, players Chris Paul, Chandler Parson, J.J. Reddick, Blake Griffin and others stormed Jordan’s Texas home and held him jokingly hostage until the midnight deadline to sign free agents passed to ensure he’d truly changed his mind and would remain an L.A. Clipper.
This saga played out on Twitter to the hilarity of everyone but presumably Mark Cuban. Jordan who wouldn’t respond to Cuban’s phone calls, said later that the pressure of the decision just got to him and he was overwhelmed. The Clippers’ full-court press has helped them remain in playoff contention in the competitive Western Conference.
8. Los Angeles Laker star and NBA icon Kobe Bryant announced he’d finally hang up his sneakers via a poem posted to The Player’s Tribune. Well, we didn’t necessarily expect a press conference or a TV show along the lines of LeBron James’ infamous “The Decision” did we? Bryant will leave the league with the very same team he started with as a starry-eyed 18-year-old with hoop dreams that became hoop realities to the tune of 20 NBA seasons and five championships.
Brittney Griner of the Phoenix Mercury and Glory Johnson of the Tulsa Shock either gave the WNBA some much-needed publicity or showed that female ballplayers are every bit as messy as the men or maybe a little bit of both.
In the space of a couple of months, the two WNBA players were involved in a domestic violence incident, then got married, then Johnson announced her pregnancy, then Griner moved to have the marriage annulled.
Griner alleges that Johnson cheated on her with an ex-boyfriend. Johnson alleges that her pregnancy with Griner was planned and that Griner agreed to parent the children with her. Johnson, who had twin girls via IVF in October, and Griner are still working out paternity issues for the two girls so their divorce is not yet final.
As sports figures become more like entertainers, especially when they make appearances on reality TV, the lines blur between the two. Although he’s not a superstar player, NBA journeyman Matt Barnes has become a name via his entertaining Twitter account and his made-for-reality-TV relationship with his ex-wife, Basketball Wives star Gloria Govan, whose sister was once married to former NBA player Gilbert Arenas.
In October, when Barnes found out that former Laker and now New York Knicks coach Derek Fisher was hanging out with Govan, he allegedly drove to Fisher’s home 95 miles away and the two got into a fight. Whatever actually happened, Barnes, now with the Memphis Grizzlies, was suspended for two games by the NBA. Fisher, apparently wasn’t the aggressor, as he faced no punishment. The two men, who both played for the L.A. Lakers, were once good friends.
Honorable Mention to American Pharoah, the first horse to win the Triple Crown since Affirmed in 1978, and the U.S. Women’s World Cup team, the first U.S. women’s soccer team to win a World Cup since 1999.