LeBron James, SpringHill Entertainment Bringing Two Basketball Shows to NBC

LeBron James’s SpringHill Entertainment is behind a pair of new shows coming to NBC.

NBC has given a script commitment plus penalty to two scripts for shows produced by LeBron James and SpringHill Entertainment, according to Nellie Andreeva of Deadline.

The plot behind one of the shows was inspired by the life of Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons. It will be called Brotherly Love and will focus on a sibling relationship within a multi-ethnic family. It will take place in Philadelphia, and Simmons and his brother Sean Tribe will serve as consulting producers. Kourtney Kang, a former co-executive producer on Fresh off the Boat, will also be an executive producer.

The other show will center on a former WNBA star player and coach who returns to her alma mater to become the first-ever female men’s college basketball coach. Elizabeth Banks and Max Handelman’s Brownstone Productions will work with SpringHill Entertainment on the project.

Warner Bros. Television will also be a part of both shows.

Recently, James and Maverick Carter debuted their new HBO show “The Shop.”

Erik Karlsson Bolsters Fearsome Blue Line in San Jose

Setting aside the Ottawa Senators’ spectacular nosedive from conference finalists into fire-selling reconstructionists, let us start with this basic, fearsome fact that crystallized Thursday afternoon: Two of the past five Norris Trophy winners now reside on the San Jose Sharks blue line, a unit soon capable of unleashing multiple world-class, right-shot defensemen—not to mention suitable Pirates of the Caribbean extras—for upwards of 50 total minutes every night.

What does it all mean? Nothing especially good for fellow Western Conference contenders, who must’ve exhaled as San Jose general manager Doug Wilson whiffed on other splashy offseason overtures (Ryan O’Reilly, John Tavares) before landing a future Hall of Famer on the eve of training camp. It was a steep cost in quantity: defenseman Dylan DeMelo, center Chris Tierney, prospects Rudolf Balcers and Josh Norris, a first-rounder, a second-rounder, and two conditional picks. As for quality? Well, the Sharks employ Erik Karlsson now. And the Senators do not.

The top-four defensemen patrolling around Nashville might object on the grounds of two-way hockey prowess, but how many other teams can claim the skill of San Jose’s back end? Certainly none possess more offensive firepower than San Jose now. Over five full seasons since the 2012–13 lockout, here are how Karlsson and Brent Burns rank among their positional peers in goals, assists, points, power play points and shots on goal:

Karlsson — 3rd (83), 1st (272), 1st (355), 1st (132), 2nd (1,211).

Burns —1st (107), 2nd (219), 2nd (326), 3rd (117), 1st (1,495).

As Burns tweeted when the trade news broke: “Unreal! Can’t wait to see that sauce in person!”

For now, at least, said sauce is only for rent. Entering the final season of his $6.5 million contract, the 28-year-old Karlsson would surely entertain Tavares-levels of free agency courtship if he hit the open market next summer. Various pick conditions baked into the deal will help soften the blow for San Jose should he walk, but it’s awfully easy to imagine Karlsson staying put too. With Burns, shutdown specialist Marc-Edouard Vlasic, goalie Martin Jones, and prime-age forwards Logan Couture, Evander Kane and Tomas Hertl all locked down through 2021-22, the Stanley Cup window in the Bay Area remains plenty open.  

Much like signing Tavares vaulted an already-strong Maple Leafs squad into title favorite territory, acquiring Karlsson should put San Jose in lockstep with Nashville and Winnipeg atop the Western Conference. (Ensuring that the four-time Norris Trophy finalist did not join Pacific Division rival Vegas was a bonus byproduct for Wilson as well.) But even if Karlsson decides against signing long-term, even if his surgically repaired left ankle poses unexpected problems, the Sharks made the no-brainer decision that Wilson summarized in a statement like this: “It’s extremely rare that players of this caliber become available.”

Which brings us to the team that made that caliber of player available in the first place. Cringeworthy as it was, the after-dark, in-house interview between veteran Mark Borowiecki and owner Eugene Melnyk that dropped during Monday Night Football quite clearly announced the blueprints for a detonation plan. Maybe Balcers, 21, and Norris, 19, will blossom into useful NHL pieces. Perhaps those future draft picks will pan out. Surely general manager Pierre Dorion is not finished acquiring soon, whether by flipping expiring deals (Matt Duchene, Mark Stone) or finding buyers for bloated contracts (Bobby Ryan). And maybe the Senators will indeed rediscover relevancy at the end of this painful road. But it was sure tough to watch Karlsson fighting tears at his farewell press conference, lamenting “a very emotional and sad day” and calling Ottawa “my forever home,” and not wonder how nine elite seasons could end like this.

“I don’t think that I’ve ever in my wildest imagination thought I would leave this place, but unfortunately we’re here under these circumstances,” Karlsson said Thursday, replying to a question from TSN about whether he had spurned an extension offer from the Senators in July. (His agent, Craig Oster, did not return a voicemail from SI requesting comment.) Those reports emerged not long Karlsson’s wife Melinda had filed for a protection order against then Ottawa winger Mike Hoffman’s fiancee, alleging harassment and cyberbullying; the Senators subsequently traded Hoffman to San Jose, who then flipped him to Florida.

“I think they made it very clear what direction they were going with,” Karlsson said later. “Unfortunately I wasn’t part of that.”

Of course, focusing on such bummers is to ignore more entertaining curiosities awaiting in Karlsson’s new home. Like how coach Pete DeBoer will divide ice time between Burns and Karlsson on the Sharks’ power play. Or whether Vlasic will continue skating with longtime partner Justin Braun, ensuring that San Jose will have either him, Burns or Karlsson on the ice for every moment of even strength. Or if Burns and Karlsson can become the first set of blue line teammates with 20 goals apiece since Washington’s Sylvain Cote, Kevin Hatcher and Al Iafrate in ‘92–93.

Now that is some scrumptious preseason sauce.

La emotiva carta de despedida del camerunés de Boca que debió dejar el fútbol

La ilusión de Christian Mayo de jugar profesionalmente al fútbol y de llegar a la Primera División de Boca se topó con un imprevisto que modificó no solo su sueño de dedicarse a la pelota sino también su proyecto de vida. Al camerunés, señalado como una de las grandes promesas de la cantera xeneize, le fue diagnosticada una condición cardíaca que lo obliga a dejar el deporte que tanto ama.

Boca le ofreció seguir ligado al club, pero Mayo tomó la decisión de regresar a su país natal. De todas formas, el exjugador de 19 años hizo pública una carta de despedida que el dirigente Marcelo London publicó en sus redes sociales:

Image by Daniel Szwarc

“Hola chicos, hoy me tocó vivir una situación re fea, pero para mí es una etapa, Dios está en mi camino. Perdón por irme así, no es lo que quería. Tampoco quería un asado de despedida porque es un descanso y nos vamos a ver muy pronto. Quiero agradecerles a todos por todo lo que me aportaron no únicamente en el fútbol; en la vida también. Gracias al club: intentaron mil maneras, pero no se podía hacer nada. Hoy me voy feliz porque viví cosas muy buenas en este club y me sentía en familia.

Chicos, hay que seguir y aprovechar cada momento que nos regala la vida. El fútbol es lo más lindo que hay. Gracias a los dirigentes, al cuerpo técnico y a ustedes, chicos, los voy a extrañar mucho. Dios los bendiga”.

¡TODO EL FÚTBOL ARGENTINO EN 90MIN!

ATENCIÓN | Los históricos que podrían volver para el partido ante Brasil

La Selección Argentina comandada por Lionel Scaloni dejó buenas sensaciones tras los amistosos en Estados Unidos por Fecha FIFA ante Guatemala (3-0) y Colombia (0-0). La renovación de jugadores planteada por el entrenador interino resultó satisfactoria y ahora deberá determinar qué futbolistas “históricos” regresarán.

El próximo rival que aparece en la agenda es nada menos que Brasil, el próximo 16 de octubre en Arabia Saudita, y para dicho compromiso el DT quiere tener a disposición la mejor calidad de jugadores posible.

Por eso, la primer medida que empleará Scaloni será la de llamar a Lionel Messi, capitán y referente del seleccionado que se tomó un descanso luego del golpe duro en el Mundial de Rusia 2018, y que deberá determinar si es un buen momento para el retorno o si habrá que seguir esperando.

ROMAN KRUCHININ/GettyImages

Otro de los que aparece en su lista es Nicolás Otamendi, zaguero del Manchester City que se convirtió en un caudillo del combinado nacional. Más allá de que el entrenador quedó muy conforme con el rendimiento de Ramiro Funes Mori y Germán Pezzella durante la gira, tener al ex Vélez le parece primordial.

SAEED KHAN/GettyImages

Los dos interrogantes mayores pasan por Ángel Di María y Sergio Agüero. Ambos serán estudiados en base a sus presentes y, sobre todo, a determinar si ya cumplieron un ciclo con la camiseta del seleccionado, aunque encabezan la lista por sobre Gonzalo Higuaín, Ever Banega y Marcos Rojo, quienes a día de hoy se encuentran muy lejos de poder regresar a vestir la Albiceleste.

ESPECTACULAR | El impresionante récord que alcanzó Marcelo Gallardo como DT de River

Marcelo Gallardo sigue haciendo historia al mando de la dirección técnica de River Plate. El “Muñeco” no sólo logró una identidad futbolística como hace mucho no se veía en el conjunto Millonario, sino que además lo avala con resultados constantes y récords que se van tachando.

Tras la victoria de ayer ante Platense por Copa Argentina (fue 2 a 0 con goles de Lucas Pratto e Ignacio Scocco, ambos de penal), Gallardo se convirtió en el entrenador con mayor racha invicta en la historia de River, con 26 partidos sin perder.

El récord marca que hace 202 días que el equipo no cae, desde aquella derrota en Liniers ante Vélez el 24 de febrero, y desde ahí acumula 16 triunfos y 10 empates en las cuatro competencias, con 42 goles a favor y apenas ocho en contra.

Además, “Napoleón” comparte el récord histórico del club con Ramón Díaz, ya que el Pelado había acumulado 8 sin ser derrotado en 2014 y luego llegó Gallardo, que estuvo 23 encuentros sin perder, por lo que en total son 31 juegos (en 1922 también se llegó a esa cifra).

Por otro lado, hay que marcar otra hazaña: River lleva 15 éxitos en fila en la Copa Argentina, del que es bicampeón actual, y en la general sólo lo supera Racing, que logró 17 en el amateurismo, entre 1915 y 1916. ¿Llegará?

NI UN PASO ATRÁS | Scaloni NO debe volver a convocar a los históricos en el amistoso contra Brasil

Los amistosos contra Guatemala y Colombia dejaron buenas sensaciones y por primera vez en mucho tiempo llegó el recambio en la selección Argentina. Hubo rendimientos altos y jugadores que demostraron que van a pelear por un lugar.

En octubre se vienen dos nuevos amistosos, contra Egipto y contra Brasil. Si, habrá clásico sudamericano y eso no tiene que hacer perder el foco. Lionel Scaloni comenzó una renovación y tiene que mantenerla.

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Si los nuevos jugadores llegaron para quedarse, lo dirá el tiempo y para eso necesitan tener minutos en cancha. Aprovechar los entrenamientos, conocerse y poder hacer una mejor evaluación.

Los históricos, los que juegan en los mejores equipos del mundo, deberían seguir esperando. Para muchos de ellos, que siguen compitiendo en las mejores ligas, su hora en la Selección terminó. O al menos deberán saber darle un descanso.

También está claro que los cambios rotundos no son buenos y que todo es parte de un proceso. Seguramente hayan jugadores como Nicolás Otamendi o Sergio Aguero que todavía tienen mucho para darle a la Selección. Lionel Messi volverá cuando él lo decida, pero primero hay que formar un equipo.

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Brasil y Egipto serán una buena prueba para confirmar las buenas sensaciones del comienzo de la era Scaloni. ¡No demos un paso para atrás!

NWSL Semifinal Match Moved to Portland Due to Hurricane Florence

The game was rescheduled due to the uncertainty surrounding Hurricane Florence.

The NWSL announced today that the North Carolina Courage vs. Chicago Red Stars semifinal game on Sunday, Sept. 16 has been moved due to the pending arrival of Hurricane Florence.

The game has been rescheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 18 at 9 p.m. ET at Providence Park in Portland, Ore. It was originally slated to be hosted in Cary, N.C.

“Due to uncertainty of the impact of the storm in North Carolina, the NWSL worked in partnership with North Carolina Courage and Chicago Red Stars to make the decision in the best interests of the safety and well-being of fans, players and staff,” the league announced.

Both NWSL semifinal games and the championship will now be played in Portland.

Assessing the Details of Jabari Bird’s Domestic Violence Arrest

Boston Celtics guard Jabari Bird faces multiple charges arising from a domestic violence incident that occurred last Friday in Bird’s Boston area apartment. Bird, who was arrested by the Boston Police Department, had been treated for undisclosed reasons at a Boston area hospital until his arraignment in Brighton Municipal Court on Thursday. The 24-year-old is accused of choking, kidnapping and assaulting a woman with whom he had a romantic relationship.

The alleged victim, a college student who has dated Bird, was allegedly strangled to the point of unconsciousness. Prosecutors from the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office also assert that Bird threw the alleged victim against the wall, dragged her by the ankles and blocked her multiple attempts to exit his apartment. The alleged attack occurred over a period of hours, portions of which time she hid under a bed and locked herself in a bathroom. She has been hospitalized with multiple injuries. Bird has pleaded not guilty to the charges and is being held in a holding cell on $50,000 bail.

While important details concerning the incident remain unknown at this time, the alleged victim, Bird, the Celtics and the NBA each has important legal interests in what occurs next.

The alleged victim

For the alleged victim, the immediate concern is healing from injuries. The specific type and extent of injuries are unknown, though the strangulation charge suggests that there are neck injuries. Strangulation injuries can range anywhere from temporary cuts and bruises on the neck to more life-altering damage to the voice box, windpipe, main arteries and, if oxygen was cut off, the brain. Emotional and psychological injuries are also common with victims of domestic violence.

The alleged victim will also be a crucial witness for prosecutors. She will be asked to explain what transpired in the encounter with Bird and the larger context of the incident—including the history of her relationship with Bird and the circumstances that immediately preceded the alleged attack.

The willingness of the alleged victim to participate in Bird’s prosecution will be integral to the case. Prosecutors are often hesitatant in domestic violence incidents if the alleged victim is unwilling to testify. This is because the burden for prosecutors is high: to gain a conviction, they must convince all of the jurors beyond a reasonable doubt of the defendant’s guilt. The degree to which the testimony of Bird’s alleged victim will be essential to prosecution is unknown. Along those lines, it is unclear if there is supporting physical and electronic evidence, such as surveillance camera footage, iPhone video, audio, texts and emails linking or separating Bird to the crime. Any communications between the alleged victim and Bird, and between them and other persons around the time of the incident, will be carefully reviewed by police and prosecutors.

Jabari Bird

Craig F. Walker/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Jabari Bird

For Bird, the immediate concern is not his nascent NBA career but rather having candid conversations with his attorneys. In order for Bird’s attorneys to mount a successful legal defense, Bird will need to confide every relevant detail about the incident. He will also need to share candid insights and narratives about his relationship with the alleged victim.

Legally, Bird has a good deal to worry about. Convictions on any of the reported three charges could lead to him spending months or even years behind bars. Also, if there are so-called “aggravating factors”, such as if Bird was armed or if the victim suffered a “serious bodily injury” (which under Massachusetts law refers to permanent disfigurement, loss or impairment of a bodily function, limb or organ, or a substantial risk of death), the length of a potential prison sentence would increase substantially.

Turning to the charges, domestic assault and battery falls under Massachusetts General Law Chapter 265, Section 13A. Prosecutors will need to prove that Bird intentionally touched the victim without consent or did so recklessly and caused bodily injury. In the absence of aggravating factors, a domestic assault and battery charge is a misdemeanor and carries a potential penalty of up to two and half years in jail. However, the charge can be elevated to a felony if certain circumstances exist. For example, Bird could face a felony charge if the victim suffered serious bodily injury or was pregnant, or if Bird violated a restraining order to stay away from the victim. In any of those scenarios, Bird would face up to five years in prison upon conviction.

A charge for strangulation falls under Massachusetts General Law Chapter 265, Section 15. This is a crime that carries a potential prison sentence of five years. If there are aggravating circumstances, including if the victim suffered serious bodily injury or if Bird violated a restraining order, the potential penalty would jump to 10 years in prison.

Lastly, the kidnapping charge falls under Massachusetts General Law Chapter 265, Section 26. Under the law, “kidnapping” has a more expansive definition than how that term is commonly understood. Kidnapping can refer to unlawfully abducting someone—the conventional definition—or to unlawfully detaining a person, such as not letting someone leave an apartment, bathroom or other confined space. A conviction on kidnapping can carry a potential prison sentence of 10 years. If aggravating circumstances were present, such as if Bird was armed with a firearm and caused serious bodily injury, the minimum prison sentence would be 25 years and the maximum would become life.

While the above discussion suggests that Bird could face several years or even decades in prison, a more realistic assessment is that he would face far less time. For one, it does not appear that Bird has a criminal record. The absence of a criminal record would mean that Bird is viewed not as a repeat offender or as someone who “didn’t learn his lesson” the first time. Instead, he would be regarded more favorably—someone who made a criminal mistake for the first time. It is also possible that there are no aggravating factors; if that proves true, Bird would avoid the possibility of very lengthy prison sentences. Further, judges can sentence defendants concurrently (meaning the sentences run at the same time) rather than consecutively (meaning the sentences run one after the next, which would obviously be worse for the defendant). If Bird reaches a plea deal with prosecutors he might be able to negotiate a sentence that includes some combination of participation in a pretrial diversion program, probation, supervised release and community service in lieu of spending a long time behind bars. There are many factors at play, including quality of lawyering. Big picture, though: the maximum prison time Bird faces should not be viewed as anywhere near what he would actually face if convicted.

Whether Bird will be found guilty is another important consideration. We have yet to hear his legal defense or his side of the story (if he offers one). People have been falsely accused and Bird is entitled to the presumption of innocence. The fact that he is hospitalized is potentially relevant. It’s unclear if he suffered physical injuries, such as defensive wounds, or if he is being psychologically evaluated, or both. Depending on the circumstances, self-defense is a possible defense and is often raised by defendants in assault and battery cases. That said, it is notable that Bird did not appear to have suffered injuries when he appeared in court on Thursday. While his suit and other clothing may have obscured certain kinds of injuries, his head, face, neck and hands did not exhibit injuries and he walked normally.

Another potential defense could reflect Bird’s psychological state at the time of the incident. An “insanity” defense would acknowledge that Bird committed the act but contend that, due to a compromised mental state, he lacked legal responsibility. If his attorneys raised such a defense, they would claim that Bird could not understand right from wrong or was unable to discern consequences of his behavior. Such a defense is considered very difficult to prove, particularly if the defendant has no clinical history of mental illness. If Bird had been hospitalized for a mental health issue since Friday, that clinical history could become relevant to his defense.

Bird issued a statement on Thursday alluding to suffering a health problem. He noted that he is “taking some time away from the team as I deal with my legal and medical issues.” Bird’s reference to the word “medical” is an additional sign that he may plan to use a legal defense that incorporates mental health. This could also play a role in his contractual dealings with the Celtics and NBA (see below).

The Boston Celtics

The Celtics are clear stakeholders in Bird’s legal situation. Bird is an employee of the franchise. Although he is one of the least known players on the team (despite sharing the same last name as Celtics legend Larry Bird), Bird’s identity as a Celtics player publicly connects him—and his reputation—to the franchise. The team obviously does not want to be associated with players who batter their loved ones.

It remains to be seen whether the team decides to release Bird based on his arrest or waits to see if Bird is convicted or is found not guilty. The Celtics issued a statement on Thursday in which they expressed their “thoughts with the victim.” They also made clear the organization “deplores domestic violence of any kind” and is “deeply disturbed by the allegations against Jabari Bird.”

The Celtics drafted Bird out of California in the second round of the 2017 NBA draft. He has impressed the team with his development. Bird averaged 19 points per game last season with the Maine Red Claws of the G League and then dominated the competition during the recent Summer League. Bird is highly regarded for his defense and for having a well-rounded game. He is also, by all accounts, a good teammate and a hard worker.

In July, the Celtics signed Bird to a two-year, $2.94 million contract. Only the first year, where Bird will be paid $1.35 million, is guaranteed. Bird’s relatively modest contract reflects the small role he’s expected play on a team that features a formidable starting lineup of Kyrie Irving, Jaylen Brown, Gordon Hayward, Jayson Tatum and Al Horford and a deep bench. While Bird may only be a minor figure on the roster, it is a roster with a realistic chance of winning the NBA title. Bird’s future, then, seemed bright: he is a promising young player on a team that could go all the way.

That has changed. While the Celtics continue to conduct fact-finding as they await Bird’s legal process, the team may decide to cut ties with Bird. As noted above, Bird’s contract is structured so that $1.35 million is guaranteed in the 2018-19 season while his $1.59 million salary for 2019-20 is not guaranteed. If the Celtics waived Bird right now, it would be through the conventional process of releasing a player. Accordingly, the team would owe Bird his guaranteed amount ($1.35 million). Such an amount would continue to count against the team for salary cap and luxury tax purposes.

However, depending on how the legal process plays out, the Celtics might eventually construe the “guaranteed” portion of Bird’s contract as no longer guaranteed. First, under Paragraph 16 of the uniform player contract, an NBA team has the right to terminate a player’s contract if he fails to “conform his personal conduct to standards of good citizenship, good moral character (defined here to mean not engaging in acts of moral turpitude, whether or not such acts would constitute a crime), and good sportsmanship.” Paragraph 16 stipulates that the termination process requires that the player be placed on waivers; if unclaimed, all obligations of the team to pay the player compensation “shall cease on the date of termination.” A player whose contract is terminated under this procedure has the right to challenge it before a grievance arbitrator, who is neutral. Exhibit 2 to the uniform player contract conduct also notes that base pay shall not be paid if a player is convicted, pleads guilty or pleads no contest to any felony.

Given that Bird is the likely “15th man” on the team’s roster and given the disturbing aspects of the accusation, the team might decline to give him the benefit of the doubt. As a signal that the team could be moving in that direction, the Celtics reportedly worked out free agent guard Marcus​ Georges-Hunt on Tuesday. On the other hand, the team may want to learn more facts—including Bird’s explanation, if he has one—before letting Bird go and thus avoid the perception of rushing to judgment.  

Also, the last time the Celtics had a player accused of domestic violence, the team kept him. In 2013, the Celtics suspended forward Jared Sullinger—who had been charged with assault and battery and intimidation of a witness after he allegedly pinned his girlfriend to a bed and floor—for one game. One important difference: the Celtics punished Sullinger only after the charges were dropped and only after Sullinger acknowledged an error in judgment; with Bird, the Celtics may seek a faster resolution. Also, the world is different in 2018 than in 2013. The #MeToo movement has amplified public awareness about the mistreatment of women by abusive men and accordingly led employers to become less tolerant of employees accused of such wrongdoing.

Rather than cutting Bird—which would have the seemingly undesirable consequence of paying him a lot of money right after he is accused of horrendous conduct—the Celtics appear inclined to monitor Bird’s interaction with the NBA and National Basketball Players’ Association’s collectively bargained domestic violence policy. Under Article 16 and Exhibit F of the CBA (discussed below), the joint policy takes priority over any team policy. In other words, unless the Celtics want to pay a man accused of savagely beating up a young woman $1.35 million, the team must wait to see how the NBA and NBPA investigate and judge Bird. The Celtics statement on Thursday expresses this very point: “Pursuant to Domestic Violence Policy in the NBA’s labor agreement, matters of this kind are handled by the League Office, not the team, and so the Celtics will be working with both the league and local authorities to assist in their ongoing investigations.” Further, if the NBA punishes Bird, the “one penalty” clause detailed in the CBA would kick in: Under Article VI, the NBA and a team shall not discipline a player for the same act or conduct.

The NBA

The NBA and NBPA have negotiated a joint policy on domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse. The policy, which went into effect in July 2017, is contained in Exhibit F of the CBA. It stipulates that domestic violence acts “are prohibited at all times and regardless of where they occur.” The policy defines “domestic violence” to encompass many kinds of actual violence and threatened violence, including “any actual or attempted violent act that is committed by one party in an intimate or family relationship against another party in that relationship. Such an act may include physical assault or battery, sexual assault, stalking, harassment, or other forms of physical or psychological abuse. It may also include behavior that intimidates, manipulates, humiliates, isolates, frightens, terrorizes, coerces, threatens, injures, or places another person in fear of bodily harm.

The policy also charges a “policy committee” with important powers, including the creation of a “treatment and accountability plan” for a player implicated in domestic violence. Such a plan may require the player to submit to psychological tests and other evaluations, and also attend counseling sessions. A player’s failure to adhere the plan can lead to fines and suspensions. In terms of the composition of the policy committee, it consists of two persons from the NBA, two from the NBPA and three independent experts with expertise in domestic violence, sexual assault and/or child abuse. Committee decisions are made by a majority vote and are final, binding, and unappealable.

In addition to the policy committee potentially reviewing Bird’s situation, the NBA itself can, almost certainly will, investigate the allegations against Bird. The NBA’s investigation can include the use of third-party resources such as outside legal counsel, outside investigators and other individuals with relevant expertise. Per the policy, Bird is expected to cooperate fully with the NBA, unless he reasonably believes it would compromise his defense in the criminal prosecution. Cooperation would involve Bird agreeing to be interviewed by NBA investigators with a representative from the NBPA present; if Bird refuses without good reason he would face immediate suspension. Bird’s attorneys might object to the NBA interview out of fear that the interview transcript could be vulnerable to a subpoena by prosecutors.

Meanwhile, NBA investigators will likely try to speak with the alleged victim and other witnesses. The policy makes clear that should Bird attempt to enter into any agreement with the alleged victim or witnesses—such as paying them for their silence—the NBA would construe that type of transaction as uncooperative conduct and grounds for a suspension.

During the investigation, commissioner Adam Silver can decide to place Bird on what’s called “administrative leave”. Such leave is tantamount to a paid suspension. In assessing whether to place Bird on leave, Silver would weigh the fact that Bird has already arrested and arraigned. This means law enforcement believes Bird is guilty and thus the accusations are more credible than if they arose only in a civil lawsuit or other accusation.

Silver will also consider the severity of the allegations, the extent of injuries suffered by the alleged victim, the potential reputational damage to the NBA if Bird were permitted to keep playing and other factors that Silver deems relevant. If Bird is placed on administrative leave, he would continue to be paid by the Celtics and receive other employment benefits such as health care and pension accrual. It would also be permissible for Bird and the Celtics to seek the NBA’s permission for Bird to participate in practices and workouts while on leave. However, given that Bird will soon be prosecuted, the Celtics might eschew that option and keep their distance from Bird. In theory, Bird could challenge being placed on paid administrative leave by filing a grievance with the league’s grievance arbitrator. Such a challenge would likely fail given that the commissioner would appear well within his powers to place Bird on leave.

If the league’s investigation leads to Silver finding that Bird violated the joint policy on domestic violence, Silver could fine, suspend or ban Bird from the NBA. To be sure, a ban would be unlikely, particularly since the policy mentions repeat offenders as subject to enhanced discipline and there is no known record of Bird being a repeat offender with the NBA. In determining Bird’s punishment, Silver would consider both aggravating and mitigating factors. Those factors would include the use of violence, the use of weapons in the assault, evidence of self-defense, acceptance of responsibility and Bird’s cooperation in the investigation. Bird should also be mindful that any conviction, guilty plea or no contest plea would conclusively establish a violation of the joint policy on domestic violence. If Bird is suspended after already being placed on administrative leave, his time on leave would be credited toward the suspension so long as he remits to the NBA the applicable portion of his salary that he received while on leave.

Although every domestic violence incident is unique and not necessarily comparable, it’s worth noting that in February the NBA suspended center Willie Reed for six games under the joint policy on domestic violence. Reed, who played for the Detroit Pistons at the time, was suspended on account of his 2017 arrest for misdemeanor battery. The arrest followed an incident where Reed was accused of twisting his wife’s arm, grabbing her by the hair and knocking her to the ground during an argument in which she told him she wanted a divorce. Reed resolved the charge by entering a pretrial intervention program. The NBA determined that a six-game suspension was appropriate on account of the “outcome of the criminal matter, Reed’s voluntary participation in counseling [and] the court-mandated program, among other factors.”

Reed, 28, was the first player suspended under the joint policy. The NBPA initially filed a grievance over Reed’s suspension, most likely out of concern over precedent, but soon thereafter dropped the challenge. Reed only served one game of the suspension before being traded by the Pistons to the Chicago Bulls and then immediately waived. Should he rejoin an NBA roster, he would need to sit out five games.

The potentially complicating role of mental health

As noted above, Bird may have been hospitalized over the last week for mental health reasons. If that proves true, a separate clause in the CBA, Article XXII, would become relevant. Article XXII concerns player health and wellness. It dictates procedures related to the mental health of players and their capacity to play. It is too early to forecast whether and how Article XXII might connect to Bird’s situation, but it is another reason for the Celtics and NBA to proceed cautiously.

The Crossover will keep you updated on developments in the Bird matter.

Michael McCann is SI’s legal analyst. He is also Associate Dean of the University of New Hampshire School of Law and editor and co-author of The Oxford Handbook of American Sports Law and Court Justice: The Inside Story of My Battle Against the NCAA.

The Top 10 Uniforms in College Basketball

Uniforms are a popular topic in every sport. They’re a source of pride, a showcase for school colors and, perhaps most importantly of all, a source of outsized amounts of analysis and debate. As the college basketball offseason approaches the finish line, we asked our writers and editors to rank their 10 favorite uniforms in the sport. The choices were to be based off of each school’s most current set of uniforms, and voting for a program’s entire set of uniforms instead of one specific look. Like we did for our top 10 upsets of the last decade post, we averaged the weighted rankings to come up with this list, with some honorable mentions at the bottom.

1. North Carolina

Brian Murphy, Mitchell Layton, Abbie Parr/Getty Images

Sponsor: Jordan Brand

The Tar Heels cruised to the top spot in this ranking as the SI staff’s clear favorite uniform in college hoops. The Carolina blue-dominated unis are a staple of the sport, and the argyle stripe down the side of both jerseys adds a unique touch. Along with the rest of the event’s participants, UNC’s uniform got a new look (above left) at last year’s PK80 Invitational: Nike opted for all black letters and numbers on top of solid Carolina blue, with black argyle on the right side.

2. UCLA

Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire/Getty Images

Sponsor: Under Armour

In their first year as an Under Armour school, the Bruins kept it classic in 2017–18. UCLA’s traditional look is always a standout, with its blue, gold and white color scheme and piping producing a sharp look for both their home and away uniforms. The JRW patch on the top right of the jerseys remained in honor of Bruins coaching legend John Wooden, who died in 2010.

3. Kansas

Jamie Squire, Ronald Martinez, Ed Zurga/Getty Images

Sponsor: Adidas

The Jayhawks largely stuck with their traditional white home and blue away uniforms (first two from left) last season, but they did break out some alternates for specific occassions. The look that puts “Jayhawks” in cursive and also features an outline of the mascot logo on the shorts is particularly strong. Kansas also had a set of gray jerseys (not pictured) and even broke out the crimson reds (fourth from left) for senior night against Texas at the request of Devonte’ Graham.

4. Villanova

Gavin Baker, Steven Ryan, Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Sponsor: Nike

The national champs had uniforms fit for the occasion, as the Wildcats crack the top five of our ranking. Villanova relies heavily on the navy and white look, with a splash of light blue mixed in to its uniforms. It also has a twist on its regular home-and-aways (right and middle, respectively), with an outline of light blue around the lettering, along with modified piping and a Wildcat logo on the shorts. As a No. 1 seed, it wore the white uniform featured on the left for its entire NCAA tournament run.

5. Marquette

Mitchell Layton, Zach Bolinger, Dylan Buell, Quinn Harris/Getty Images

Sponsor: Jordan Brand

The Golden Eagles have a consistent yet diverse set of uniforms, utilizing the same base look of a solid color with a striped pattern on the side. What makes them stand out is that those uniforms come in four different colors: navy, gold, light blue and white. Marquette used all of them in its rotation throughout the season.

6. Duke

Richard C. Lewis, Justin K. Aller, Fred Kfoury III, Rich von Biberstein/Getty Images

Sponsor: Nike

North Carolina may get the nod in this chapter of one of college basketball’s greatest rivalries, but the Blue Devils’ duds are historically good in their own right. Last season, Duke trotted out a number of different looks, including two different versions of its home whites and road blues, the majority of which are shown above. Duke also utilized a sharp black uniform (third from left) for multiple games.

7. Indiana

Michael Hickey, Michael Allio/Getty Images

Sponsor: Adidas

The Hoosiers’ crimson and cream combos make for one of the cleanest, most classic looks in the nation. In addition to the traditional home and away uniforms with red and white piping, Indiana also featured an alternate, even simpler design, seen on the far right.

8. Loyola-Chicago

Ronald Martinez, Keith Gillett/Getty Images

Sponsor: Nike

Being in the Final Four has its perks. With a boost from some extended March exposure, the Missouri Valley Conference champs cracked our top 10 on the strength of their maroon-and-gold design featuring “Loyola” in cursive. And while you saw plenty of the maroon in March—Loyola-Chicago was never the higher seed during its run and therefore wore its road jersey all the way to the Final Four—its white home uniforms (above right) are pretty sweet themselves.

9. Miami

Richard C. Lewis, Lauren Rakes, Michael Hickey, Andy Mead/Getty Images

Sponsor: Adidas

The Hurricanes truly utilize their school colors, going all-in on an array of uniforms in which white, green, orange and black take turns as the dominant color. Beyond the four pictured above, Miami also used an orange version of the white and green ones on the left and even a white/gray blend look. Together, the uniforms make up one of the most colorful sets in college hoops.

10. Michigan

Scott W. Grau, Joshua Sarner/Icon Sportswire/Getty Images

Sponsor: Jordan Brand

It probably isn’t a coincidence that all four teams from the 2018 Final Four ended up in this top 10. The Wolverines round out the list behind a set of three uniforms that emphasize the maize and blue and combine a traditional look of lettering and numbering with the Jordan Brand style. Jordan Brand, by the way, did well for itself on the list, trying Adidas and non-Jordan Nike with three schools on this list.

Honorable Mentions (in order of votes received):

Getty Images

Wichita State, Notre Dame, Syracuse, USC, Gonzaga, Florida State, Houston, Rhode Island, Florida, Nevada, Kentucky, Oregon.

2018-19 ACC Men’s Basketball Complete Conference Schedule: TV Channels, Game Times

The ACC’s men’s basketball conference season will open on Jan. 1 in the 2018-19 season with Notre Dame visiting Virginia Tech.

The slate features 135 ACC regular-season league games and 14 New York Life ACC Tournament games. All games, from the conference opener on New Year’s Day through the conclusion of the ACC Tournament in mid-March, will be available on an ESPN network, Raycom Sports, CBS Sports or a Regional Sports Network.

See the complete schedule and TV listings below:

2018-19 ACC Basketball Schedule: Conference Games Only

Tuesday, January 1
Notre Dame at Virginia Tech, ESPNU, 1 p.m.

Thursday, January 3
NC State at Miami, ESPN/U, 7 p.m.

Saturday, January 5
Boston College at Virginia Tech, RSN, Noon
North Carolina at Pitt, Raycom, Noon
Syracuse at Notre Dame, Raycom, Noon
Wake Forest at Georgia Tech, RSN, 2 p.m.
Clemson at Duke, ESPN, 2 p.m./8 p.m.
Florida State at Virginia, ESPN2, 3 p.m.

Sunday, January 6
Miami at Louisville, ESPNU, 6 p.m.

Tuesday, January 8
Duke at Wake Forest, ESPN/2, 7 p.m.
North Carolina at NC State, ESPN/2, 9 p.m.
 
Wednesday, January 9
Virginia Tech at Georgia Tech, RSN, 7 p.m.
Clemson at Syracuse, Raycom, 8 p.m.
Louisville at Pitt, Raycom, 8 p.m.
Virginia at Boston College, ESPN2/U, 9 p.m.
Miami at Florida State, RSN, 9 p.m.
 
Saturday, January 12
Boston College at Notre Dame, RSN, Noon
Virginia at Clemson, Raycom, Noon
Louisville at North Carolina, ESPN/2, Noon
Pitt at NC State, Raycom, Noon
Duke at Florida State, ESPN, 2 p.m.
Wake Forest at Miami, RSN, 2 p.m.
Georgia Tech at Syracuse, ESPN/2, 6 p.m.
 
Monday, January 14
Syracuse at Duke, ESPN/U, 7 p.m.
Florida State at Pitt, ESPN/U, 7 p.m.
 
Tuesday, January 15
NC State at Wake Forest, Raycom, 8 p.m.
Virginia Tech at Virginia, Raycom, 8 p.m.
Notre Dame at North Carolina, ESPN, 9 p.m.
 
Wednesday, January 16
Boston College at Louisville, RSN, 7 p.m.
Georgia Tech at Clemson, RSN, 9 p.m.
 
Saturday, January 19
North Carolina at Miami, ESPN/2, Noon
Virginia at Duke, ESPN/2, 2 p.m./4 p.m./6 p.m.
NC State at Notre Dame, Raycom, 2 p.m.
Pitt at Syracuse, RSN, 2 p.m.
Louisville at Georgia Tech, Raycom, 4 p.m.
Wake Forest at Virginia Tech, RSN, 4 p.m.
 
Sunday, January 20
Florida State at Boston College, ESPNU, Noon
 
Monday, January 21
Virginia Tech at North Carolina, ESPN, 7 p.m.
 
Tuesday, January 22
Clemson at Florida State, ESPN/2/U, 7 p.m.
Notre Dame at Georgia Tech, RSN, 7 p.m.
Wake Forest at Virginia, RSN, 9 p.m.
Duke at Pitt, ESPN/U, 9 p.m.
 
Thursday, January 24
NC State at Louisville, Raycom, 8 p.m.
Miami at Syracuse, Raycom, 8 p.m.
 
Saturday, January 26
Georgia Tech at Duke, Raycom, Noon
Virginia at Notre Dame, CBS, 1 p.m.
Pitt at Louisville, Raycom, 2 p.m.
Clemson at NC State, Raycom, 2 p.m.
Boston College at Wake Forest, RSN, 4 p.m.
Syracuse at Virginia Tech, ESPN2, 8 p.m.
 
Sunday, January 27
Florida State at Miami, ESPNU, 6 p.m.
 
Monday, January 28
Duke at Notre Dame, ESPN, 7 p.m.
 
Tuesday, January 29
North Carolina at Georgia Tech, RSN, 7 p.m.
Virginia at NC State, ESPN/2, 7 p.m.
Pitt at Clemson, ESPN2/U, 9 p.m.
 
Wednesday, January 30
Virginia Tech at Miami, ESPN2/U, 7 p.m.
Syracuse at Boston College, Raycom, 8 p.m.
Louisville at Wake Forest, Raycom, 8 p.m.
 
Saturday, February 2
Georgia Tech at Florida State, RSN, Noon
Virginia Tech at NC State, Raycom, Noon
Notre Dame at Boston College, RSN, 2 p.m.
Miami at Virginia, Raycom, 2 p.m.
North Carolina at Louisville, ESPN/2, 2 p.m./4 p.m./6 p.m.
Syracuse at Pitt, ESPN2/U, 6 p.m.
 
Sunday, February 3
Wake Forest at Clemson, ESPNU, Noon
 
Monday, February 4
Louisville at Virginia Tech, ESPN, 7 p.m.
 
Tuesday, February 5
Boston College at Duke, ESPN/2, 7 p.m.
Pitt at Wake Forest, ESPNU, 7 p.m.
Florida State at Syracuse, Raycom, 8 p.m.
NC State at North Carolina, Raycom, 8 p.m.
 
Wednesday, February 6
Clemson at Georgia Tech, RSN, 7 p.m.
Notre Dame at Miami, ESPN2/U, 7 p.m.
 
Saturday, February 9
Virginia Tech at Clemson, ESPN/2/U, Noon
Miami at North Carolina, Raycom, Noon
Boston College at Syracuse, Raycom, 2 p.m.
NC State at Pitt, Raycom, 2 p.m.
Louisville at Florida State, ESPN/2/U, 4 p.m.
Duke at Virginia, ESPN/2, 6 p.m.
 
Sunday, February 10
Georgia Tech at Notre Dame, ESPNU, 6 p.m.
 
Monday, February 11
Virginia at North Carolina, ESPN, 7 p.m.
 
Tuesday, February 12
Pitt at Boston College, ESPNU, 7 p.m.
Duke at Louisville, ESPN/2, 9 p.m.
 
Wednesday, February 13
Clemson at Miami, ESPN2/U, 7 p.m.
Wake Forest at Florida State, RSN, 7 p.m.
Georgia Tech at Virginia Tech, Raycom, 8 p.m.
Syracuse at NC State, Raycom, 8 p.m.
 
Saturday, February 16
Clemson at Louisville, ESPN/2/U, Noon
North Carolina at Wake Forest, Raycom, Noon
Florida State at Georgia Tech, Raycom, 2 p.m.
Notre Dame at Virginia, Raycom, 2 p.m.
Virginia Tech at Pitt, RSN, 4:30 p.m.
NC State at Duke, ESPN/2, 4 p.m./6 p.m./8 p.m.
 
Sunday, February 17
Miami at Boston College, ESPNU, 6 p.m.
 
Monday, February 18
Virginia at Virginia Tech, ESPN, 7 p.m.
 
Tuesday, February 19
Wake Forest at Notre Dame, ESPN2/U, 7 p.m.
Florida State at Clemson, ESPN/2/U, 9 p.m.
 
Wednesday, February 20
Boston College at NC State, RSN, 7 p.m.
Louisville at Syracuse, ESPN, 7 p.m.
North Carolina at Duke, ESPN/Raycom, 9 p.m.
Pitt at Georgia Tech, RSN, 9 p.m.
 
Saturday, February 23
Virginia at Louisville, Raycom, Noon
Boston College at Clemson, RSN, Noon
Georgia Tech at Miami, RSN, 2 p.m.
Florida State at North Carolina, CBS, 3:45 p.m.
Virginia Tech at Notre Dame, ESPN/2/U, 4 p.m.
Duke at Syracuse, ESPN/2, 6 p.m./8 p.m.
 
Sunday, February 24
Wake Forest at NC State, ESPNU, 6 p.m.
 
Monday, February 25
Notre Dame at Florida State, ESPN, 7 p.m.
 
Tuesday, February 26
Duke at Virginia Tech, ESPN/Raycom, 7 p.m./9 p.m.
Syracuse at North Carolina, ESPN/Raycom, 7 p.m./9 p.m.
Miami at Wake Forest, RSN, 7 p.m.
 
Wednesday, February 27
Clemson at Pitt, RSN, 7 p.m.
Louisville at Boston College, RSN, 9 p.m.
Georgia Tech at Virginia, ESPN2/U, 7 p.m.
 
Saturday, March 2
NC State at Florida State, ESPN/2, Noon
Syracuse at Wake Forest, Raycom, Noon
Pitt at Virginia, Raycom, 2 p.m.
Miami at Duke, CBS, 4 p.m.
North Carolina at Clemson, ESPN/2, 4 p.m./6 p.m.
 
Sunday, March 3
Notre Dame at Louisville, CBS, 1:30 p.m.
Boston College at Georgia Tech, ESPNU, 6 p.m.
 
Monday, March 4
Virginia at Syracuse, ESPN, 7 p.m.
 
Tuesday, March 5
Virginia Tech at Florida State, ESPN2/U, 7 p.m.
Wake Forest at Duke, ESPN/2, 7 p.m.
Pitt at Miami, Raycom, 8 p.m.
North Carolina at Boston College, Raycom, 8 p.m.
 
Wednesday, March 6
Georgia Tech at NC State, RSN, 9 p.m.
Clemson at Notre Dame, ESPN2/U, 9 p.m.
 
Friday, March 8
Miami at Virginia Tech, ESPN2, 7 p.m.
 
Saturday, March 9
Syracuse at Clemson, CBS, Noon
Florida State at Wake Forest, Raycom, Noon
Notre Dame at Pitt, Raycom, Noon
NC State at Boston College, RSN, 2 p.m.
Louisville at Virginia, ESPN/2, 4 p.m./6 p.m./8 p.m.
Duke at North Carolina, ESPN, 6 p.m./8 p.m.
 
2019 ACC Tournament
Spectrum Center, Charlotte, N.C.
March 12-16