Kings

As Wizards still benefit from his leadership, Temple hopes to mold Kings

As Wizards still benefit from his leadership, Temple hopes to mold Kings

SACRAMENTO -- The NBA world is much smaller than one would think. Teams roll into a new city prepping for a game, but also looking forward to seeing old faces. For many of the Washington Wizards, a trip to Sacramento isn’t just another road game, it’s a chance to catch up with veteran wing Garrett Temple. 

Temple left the Wizards over the summer, signing a three-year, $24 million deal in Sacramento. The journeyman out of LSU more than doubled his career earnings in his first season with Sacramento, and for the first time in his seven seasons in the league, he has long-term stability. But that doesn’t mean that leaving was easy.  

“This organization gave me a chance to get back in the league,” Temple said of the Wizards. “Because of that, I’ve been able to prolong my career. I have nothing but respect for them, nothing but positive things to say about them.”

Known for his locker room presence and tireless work ethic, Temple left Washington after four seasons. For many of the Wizards players, he was a mentor and a big brother. 

“I was mad that we didn’t get to sign him back,” Wizards guard Bradley Beal told CSN California. “I’m still a little salty about it sometimes. That’s a great friend, that’s somebody you always want in your locker room. You always want a guy like that who bonds well with everybody, who’s a leader, who is vocal, leads by example, works hard and is a true professional both on and off the floor.” 

Beal came to Washington as the third overall selection in the 2012 NBA Draft. He’s never known the hardship of working his way into the league like Temple, but the two bonded over plenty of things, including their faith. 

“He made my life easy,” Beal said. “He helped me out a lot. That’s my brother to this day.”

Beal wasn’t the only young player to come through DC while Temple was on the roster. Another top three selection, small forward Otto Porter joined the Wizards via the 2013 NBA Draft. Like Beal, Temple instantly filled the role of mentor. 

“Great guy overall, not just a great locker room guy,” Otto Porter said. “He was with me for three years and I learned from him how to be a professional, how to show up for work. Just his dedication to the game. His story is unbelievable - a guy getting cut and sticking with it. Just an unbelievable guy.”

Temple found himself bouncing in and out of the league as a young player, signing five different 10-day contracts and even playing in Italy before sticking in Washington. It was a journey and he kept an open mind to the experience every step of the way.

“I was blessed to be able to be on a lot of different teams, a lot of different organizations - some good, some not and I was able to pull from the ones that were good and I try to bring that knowledge to every team I go to,” Temple said. 

His perseverance is something that stands out when addressing young players. Temple fought for his place in the NBA world and you can’t do that without having a passion for the sport. 

“He loves the game,” Porter added. “He’s the type of guy that takes care of you and shows you the ropes. They’re lucky to have him in the locker room and in the organization. He’s a great person overall.”

Sacramento brought Temple in for his versatility on the floor, but also for his leadership behind the scenes. Voted the Teammate of the Year last season with the Wizards, the 30-year-old Temple is part of a veteran core taxed with bringing along the Kings' young players, which includes four first-round selections from the 2016 NBA Draft. 

Temple has seen young players come into the league as high picks and he’s been there as they take time develop. He couldn’t be more proud of the men and players that both Beal and Porter have become and he hopes to bring that same mentorship to Sacramento. 

“I really want to leave my mark on this organization as being a guy that can help mold people into being the right type of pro,” Temple said. “Hopefully I’ve started doing that.”

Temple credits his parents for giving him the work ethic and guidance along the way. He also will tell you that his faith has helped steer his path, but there was one stop in his NBA journey that set the standard for how to he approaches the game.

Following a very brief stop with the Kings during the 2009-10 season, Temple signed a 10-day contract with the Spurs and then inked a deal to play out the final month of the season in San Antonio. He was with the team coming into the 2010-11 season, but played just three games before being waived. 

In total, Temple played just 16 games for the Spurs over two seasons, but his experience made a tremendous impression.

“You see Tim Duncan getting in his routine everyday before shootaround, before practice, no matter what,” Temple said of his time in San Antonio. “You see Tony (Parker) and Manu (Ginobili) getting their work in. You see the way Pop (Gregg Popovich) coaches and keeps people accountable. From the top down - from the owner to the towel person, everybody is held accountable, everybody is doing their job.”

Sacramento will rely heavily on Temple and other veterans on the team to help usher in a new crop of young players. Between Willie Cauley-Stein and the four 2016 first round selections on the roster, the Kings have plenty of youth. It will get even crazier this summer when the team will potentially add two more first-round selections, an early second-round selection and possibly add Serbian wing Bogdan Bogdanovic to the roster. 

The Kings have made plenty of mistakes in free agency over the years, but Temple isn’t one of them. His versatility on the court is welcomed, but his leadership off the floor is a necessity as the franchise begins to rebuild from the ground up.

 

DeMarcus Cousins: 'Take all them motherf****** down'

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DeMarcus Cousins: 'Take all them motherf****** down'

Some professional athletes take a stand by kneeling on the sidelines or raising a fist into the air. Some write succinct tweets expressing their dismay with the current political climate in the United States of America. Others just get right to the point with a poignant off the cuff statement to a waiting camera.

Former Sacramento Kings big man DeMarcus Cousins has certainly mastered the art of the cryptic tweet, but he’s also never been one to shy away from a direct question when asked. When an inquiry was thrown his direction about confederate statues in New Orleans and his home state of Alabama, Cousins was brief with his words, but very clear.

"Take all them mother****ers down," Cousins told TMZ while navigating a security line at the airport. "Take 'em all down.”

Cousins may not have chosen the most eloquent words, but his point of view is shared by plenty of others. He isn’t the first athlete to take a stand with regards to race in America over the last week as racial tensions have spilled out into the streets in Charlottesville, Virginia. Social media is filled with professional athletes adding their thoughts to the conversation.

The Warriors’ Kevin Durant has made it clear that he will not visit the White House and President Donald Trump, a visit most teams make following an NBA championship.

"Nah, I won't do that," the 8-time All-Star told ESPN on Thursday. "I don't respect who's in office right now.”

"I don't agree with what he agrees with, so my voice is going to be heard by not doing that,” Durant continued. “That's just me personally, but if I know my guys well enough, they'll all agree with me."

Garrett Temple has used Twitter to make his thoughts known as well. Recently named the Kings’ Players Voice Teammate of the Year by the National Basketball Players Association, Temple has used his position as an NBA player to speak out multiple times.

Over the last week, he’s fielded questions and had plenty of discussions through social media on the issues of race and equality. His Twitter timeline is littered with thoughtful replies and some not so thoughtful ideas as well. Plenty of fans thanking him for using his position to further the conversation and of course, there is the occasional, “stick to sports” comment.

Agree or disagree, today’s athletes have huge platforms to share their opinions. From Cousins to Temple, there are varying degrees of engagement, but the time of players staying out of the discussion is long gone.

The Maloofs' colossal charity bet on Mayweather-McGregor circus act

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The Maloofs' colossal charity bet on Mayweather-McGregor circus act

Gavin and Joe Maloof have gambled plenty in their lives, which is in part how they ended up losing the Sacramento Kings. They ran big, they hit a dry well, and they ended up selling the works.

So their decision to bet $880,000 on Floyd Mayweather in his “thing” with Conor McGregor for a $160,000 payout seemed the perfectly daft idea for two guys who were painted as perfectly daft when they were running the Kings and their other businesses into a freeway abutment on I-80.

In fairness, they are planning to donate their winnings to a number of charities in the name of their hangover drink (Never Too Hungover, although I might have gone with the more lyrical HurlNoMore), so it’s not like their hearts aren’t a place close to the mythical “right place.”

But it does beg the question, “Why don’t they just give $160,000 and skip the scam?” Because it wasn’t about charity, it was about promotion, and while there’s nothing wrong with promotion, attaching it to one of the seediest carnival events of the modern era makes it seem, well, kind of creepy.

Or maybe “creepy” is too strong. Maybe’s it’s just opportunism, which is more, well, Vegas-y.

Kings fans will remember the Maloofs as the family that saved the foundering team from the clutches of owner Jim Thomas, and then remember them as the family whose clutches Vivek Ranadive had to save the team from 15 years later. It’s the nature of most ownerships – you do good to eliminate a prior evil, and eventually become evil yourselves when the fans turn on you.

But the Maloofs aren’t evil – even their most strident critics will say that. They just saw an opportunity to scratch a bunch of itches at once – good-heartedness, advertising, gambling and Vegas’ most important product – selling you things you could never imagine wanting.

It almost makes you wonder if they harbor a secret itch to take the $160,000 and double down on behalf of the charities for another of their pet projects – the Vegas Golden Knights. If they put it on the Knights to win the Stanley Cup at 200-1, that’s $32,000,000. Then if they took that and . . .

. . . and before you know it, they’re trapped in the fantasyland of Las Vegas at its weirdest. Maybe it’s just performance art with more money than most of us can eat.