Its been a tough season for the Philadelphia 76ers. A 12-41 is pretty lousy, regardless if they earned it by tanking our just being straight up bad. There’s not a whole lot to do to get your fan base at least a little excited (isn’t that right, Knicks?), but the 76ers gave it a try today by introducing Franklin, the team’s new mascot.
Franklin made his debut, appropriately enough, at the Franklin Institute in Philly. Three hundred kids were on hand to meet the big blue dog “with perky ears and wagging tail” and who is Sixers fans’ new “best friend.” (I wonder if the team gave any thought to introducing a dog mascot in the middle of a dog of a season…)
In Tiffany Mitchell’s short time playing college basketball, the junior guard has developed into a powerful force on the court. She has helped South Carolina reach the top of the national rankings for the first time in school history, while simultaneously becoming the school’s first (preseason) All-America selection.
Mitchell credits much of her success to her coach, Hall of Famer Dawn Staley.
“I wouldn’t want to play for anyone else,” Mitchell says. “That’s why I came to South Carolina, and that [she is my coach] makes everything that much better.”
The relationship between player and coach began long before Mitchell ever stepped on campus.
So while you were all finalizing your plans to watch the NHL All-Star Game and NFL Pro Bowl (ahem), Golden State Warriors guard was making history. On Friday night, Thompson dropped an NBA-record 37 points in the third quarter against the Sacramento Kings en route to a 52-point night (which included 11 threes, tying a Warriors record). The Warriors would go on to win, of course, 126-101. The previous mark was 33, set in 1978 by George Gervin and match in 2008 by Carmelo Anthony.
The most exciting newcomer in women's college basketball is A'Ja Wilson, but she hasn't always been a phenom. When Wilson was 11 years old, her father tricked her into trying out for a local basketball team. "I didn't know I was trying out, but I made the team," she recalls. "The first two years I didn't get any playing time. I was terrible. Awful."
Her feelings shifted around the age of 12. Wilson went from hating the game to watching it, and then she took to the hardwood. When she walked through the doors of Heathwood Hall (a private school in Columbia, South Carolina), she was a 5'9" freshman, but in four years she transformed into a 6'5" senior and champion, leading the Highlanders to their first ever state title and averaging 34.4 points, 13.9 rebounds, 3.0 steals, and 5.0 blocks. She was named a 2014 McDonald's All-American and picked as the top-ranked girls' recruit of her class.
Last April, Wilson announced at her own press conference, live on ESPNU, that she would not be joining Geno Auriemma at UConn or volunteering her services at Tennessee like most top prospects. Instead, she chose to stay close to home. Wilson grew up about 20 miles from the South Carolina campus. Last year the upstart women's program won its first regular-season SEC championship and was a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. (The Gamecocks lost to North Carolina 65--58 in the Sweet 16.) The coach is Dawn Staley, a basketball Hall of Famer and three-time Olympic gold medalist. When Wilson was deciding on where to go, she asked herself, "Why wouldn't you want to be a part of that?"
SI KIDS spoke with Wilson about being a rookie, her favorite Southern food, and making history in her home state.
It’s been a rough season for the Los Angeles Lakers. Entering Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Lakers were 7-16 and their aging star, Kobe Bryant, was becoming… agitated with his team’s performance.
But Sunday gave LA and Kobe a moment to celebrate. In the second quarter of the Lakers-T’wolves game, Bryant hit a couple free throws to give him 32,293 career points, which pushed him past Michael Jordan as the NBA’s third all-time leading scorer.
San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker’s game is built on court vision. So when Parker suffered an eye injury (a scratched cornea, ouch!) while partying with friends in 2012, his court vision was less than perfect as he prepared to play for the French National Team in the London Olympics.
That’s when Bollé, an eyewear company that Parker had previously worked with, stepped in with special glasses for the four-time NBA champion. Now, Parker, whose vision is back to 100 percent, is helping the company launch a kids line, Bollé Sport Protective. The glasses (available with prescription or non-prescription lenses) come in cool colors and names like Swag, Dominance, and Baller.
Before his Spurs took on the Brooklyn Nets in New York last Wednesday, Parker sat down with SI Kids to talk about his experience with the eyewear, his hot start from beyond arc, and if he’ll ever come out of his rap retirement.
For 20 years, starting in his native Orlando, Shaquille O'Neal has bought toys for underprivileged kids. Now he has teamed up with Toys"R"US to become "Shaq-A-Claus, their spokesperson in their annual campaign with Toys for Tots, an organization that delivers toys to kids in need during this holiday season.
SI Kids talked to Shaq-A-Claus recently about the campaign, his favorite toys, and some things he's working on that may be in your stocking next year.