NBA Social Recap, Playoffs Week 5: Mother’s Day, Lottery Moves and Conference Finals
Just because the NBA playoff field has narrowed to four teams doesn’t mean there’s any less love to go around the basketball world on social media. Mother’s Day brought out more than a few fond remembrances and old family photos on Instagram, and Tuesday’s wild draft lottery inspired plenty of robust discussion and lighthearted banter among players on Twitter. Here, then, are the five best social posts from the week leading up to the NBA postseason’s “Final Four," starting with No. 5.
5) Kyle Kuzma Takes a Bow for Lakers’ Draft Lottery Luck
So much has gone awry all around for the Los Angeles Lakers since the start of the NBA season—from injuries to LeBron James, Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and the rest of the roster; to a botched attempt to trade for Anthony Davis; to Magic Johnson abruptly resigning as president of basketball operations and the remaining front office captaining a chaotic coaching search. Kyle Kuzma, though, did his part to return some positive vibes to Laker Land by representing the team at Tuesday’s draft lottery in Chicago, where L.A. moved up from No. 11 to No. 4 in the order. While Kuz had no control over how the ping-pong balls ultimately bounced, that didn’t stop him from not so subtly claiming credit for the leap with a cheeky tweet.
4) C.J. McCollum Shares Love with His Favorite NFL Team
C.J. McCollum has made no secret of his affection for the Cleveland Browns. Tune into just about any episode of his Pull Up podcast, and you’re bound to hear him expound upon the virtues of Baker Mayfield, the recently acquired Odell Beckham Jr. or the coaching credentials of Freddie Kitchens. So when C.J. exploded for 37 points on Sunday, to carry the Portland Trail Blazers past the Denver Nuggets in Game 7 of their Western Conference semifinals series, the Browns made sure to show the Canton, Ohio native some love on Twitter. Naturally, C.J. returned the favor with a simple appreciation of his own.
3) Ben Simmons Thanks Fans, Looks Forward to FIBA Basketball World Cup
Ben Simmons’ second active NBA season ended in the Philadelphia 76ers’ heartbreaking Game 7 loss to the Toronto Raptors on Sunday. After taking a couple of days to absorb the blow from Kawhi Leonard’s historic, series-ending shot, the 22-year-old All-Star took a few moments to thank fans for their support, look ahead to spending his summer working on his game “in the lab” and, most importantly, announce that he will represent Australia at the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup in China later this year. With Ben onboard, the Boomers should have the talent to emerge from Group H in Dongguan and compete for gold in September.
2) Luc Mbah a Moute Smiles for Joel Embiid, Pascal Siakam
Cameroon had two big reasons to smile during the seven-game brawl between the Sixers and Raptors. The series pitted a pair of the Central African nation’s top athletes, in Philly’s Joel Embiid and Toronto’s Pascal Siakam, against one another in pursuit of a spot in the Eastern Conference finals. For Luc Mbah a Moute—a native of Yaounde, Cameroon—that face-off held even greater significance beyond pure patriotism. Both players were discovered at Luc’s basketball camps back in Cameroon before starring at American prep schools, shining in college and, now, emerging as key cogs on playoff powerhouses in the NBA.
1) JaVale McGee Keeps Basketball in the Family for Mother’s Day
Mother’s Day carries a little more meaning in the McGee household than it does for most basketball families. After all, Pam McGee is the first former WNBA player to have a son (JaVale) play in the NBA. As of 2016, Pam can claim motherhood over pros in both of America’s top professional basketball leagues with her daughter (and JaVale’s half-sister) Imani McGee-Stafford reaching the WNBA. It was particularly touching, then, to see the Lakers' big man pay tribute to Pam on Mother’s Day this year, considering the success she’s had raising her kids to be not only productive pros, but also quality people—and, in JaVale’s case, a parent in his own right.
Josh Martin is the Editorial Director of CloseUp360. He previously covered the NBA for Bleacher Report and USA Today Sports Media Group, and has written for Yahoo! Sports and Complex. He is also the co-host of the Hollywood Hoops podcast. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.