#1 Lauren gave him the von panxing18 30.08.2018 03:34

Michael Jordan hired proven general manager Mitch Kupchak this offseason to help turn around a franchise mired in mediocrity since he became the Charlotte Hornets‘ majority owner eight years ago.

But that doesn’t mean the highly competitive Jordan won’t have input on personnel decisions Youth Braden Smith Jersey , beginning with the NBA draft on Thursday night.

Kupchak said in a pre-draft news conference Tuesday that he’ll have final say in who the Hornets select before quickly adding, ”well, with the exception of one person – and obviously that’s ownership.”

Kupchak has won 10 NBA championships, including seven as an executive with the Los Angeles Lakers – so he knows a thing or two about building a winning roster. But he’s quickly learning that Jordan, who many consider the best NBA player ever, is still very much a hands-on owner when it comes to the players he employs.

And Kupchak understands that.

”There is a huge business component to our relationship,” Kupchak said.

Kupchak said he has communicated with Jordan on the phone and via text throughout the draft evaluation process. The 55-year-old Jordan arrived in Charlotte, North Carolina on Monday and the two have been studying tape on potential draft picks since.

The Hornets, who have failed to make the playoffs three of the past four seasons, have the 11th overall pick in the draft.

Kupchak has known Jordan since he was a freshman at the University of North Carolina.

However, Kupchak said that while they both are former Tar Heels Lorenzo Carter Color Rush Jersey , he never had considered Jordan a friend prior to being hired this past offseason to replace Rich Cho as Hornets general manager.

Since then they have had dinner together and gotten to know each other a little more.

He said the relationship has changed for the better.

”Hopefully when all is said and done, our other relationship, which is our friend relationship continues to grow and is not altered in any way,” Kupchak said. ”There are no favors being done here. We’re friends and I think we’ll remain friends, but the bottom line in this business is success and winning games.”

Kupchak was rather forthcoming in the team’s pre-draft press conference Tuesday, saying the does not expect to trade the 11th overall pick.

He also said he expects that the handful of top-notch big men will be off the board by the time the Hornets make their selection.

”Right now I think the best player on the board is the player we are going to go after – and I’d expect that player to be a guard or a wing,” Kupchak said. ”… I think we expect that we will be looking at guards and wings, but we will see.”



Devon Still describes his daughter as "your typical, soon-to-be 8-year-old." Nothing's typical about Leah Still , who faced long odds against reaching that eighth birthday. Or about her father, a former NFL defensive lineman who retired after last season and has immersed himself in a second career 鈥?helping other families deal with childhood cancer.

"We call it recycling our pain Adidas Jakub Voracek Jersey ," Still said.

Still retired last December after another foot injury sidetracked his career, deciding that at 28 years old, it was time to move on to something else. It was a difficult moment 鈥?he'd played football since age 13 and spent three years with the Cincinnati Bengals and one with the Houston Texans.

"The most successful people know when it's time to call audibles," he said.

Even when that means giving up a promising career that began when he was a second-round pick out of Penn State.

"Since I got to the NFL in 2012, I feel it's been a roller coaster," Still said in a phone interview from Houston, where he now lives. "I tell people all the time that my life has been like climbing a mountain. When I got to the top of the mountain, the view wasn't what I thought. Making it in the NFL wasn't what I thought. I had so many injuries."

The biggest surprise came in June 2014, when Leah 鈥?then 4 鈥?was diagnosed with stage four of a rare cancer that affects primarily infants and young children. She was given a 50/50 chance to survive.

Still shared her story through videos and interviews. Sports fans as well as people who couldn't name an NFL team became engrossed in her struggle. Surgeons removed a tumor from her abdomen. She got chemotherapy, radiation and experimental treatments. There were setbacks and very dark days when the treatments seemed to be inadequate.

More than three years later, the cancer is in remission and Leah is "just trying to be a kid again Authentic Ed Dickson Jersey ," as her father describes it. In addition to attending school, she's tried gymnastics and cheerleading. She's signed up for acting classes.

And Still is trying to recycle those difficult years into helping other parents going through the same experience.

He formed the Still Strong Foundation in 2015, helping families dealing with childhood cancer to cover non-medical bills so they can devote more time and resources to fighting the disease. He works with other foundations such as the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation trying to find new treatments.

He's also gone back to school as part of his second career.

Still got a degree in criminal law at Penn State with the idea of helping juvenile delinquents when his football career ended. He's working on a master's degree in leadership at the University of Houston that will help him navigate corporate culture as he advocates for families.

At times when he's sharing his story with families, those memories of Leah's ordeal return fresh. He's gotten to know children who don't survive the disease.

"That's tougher," he said. "I feel sometimes we suffer from survivors' remorse."

Leah has a photogenic smile that brightens the room 鈥?people saw it in Still's tweets during her treatments 鈥?and reminds Still of his priorities.

"Honestly, to this day I just sit there and stare at Leah," he said. "I meet so many kids that pass away from this. I may have lost something I wanted so bad 鈥?being in the NFL 鈥?but I still have my daughter and that's so much more important."

During his daughter's ordeal in 2014, Still got home from a Bengals' practice and saw a local television story about Lauren Hill, the Mount St. Joseph freshman who played basketball with an inoperable brain tumor. He decided to visit Lauren and brought her a Bengals jersey as a gift.

"They sat and talked forever," said Lauren's mom, Lisa. "It was almost like a bond Jaire Alexander Color Rush Jersey , like they'd known each other longer than just meeting. I distinctively remember her saying she felt like she knew him forever. Their conversation just flowed."

After Hill scored two baskets in her first game, she visited Still at Paul Brown Stadium and gave him one of her game jerseys . Soon after, Leah met Lauren at a Bengals game. The families formed a bond as they crossed paths at various events.

"Lauren's story came out and, in kind of a weird way, you feel alone because you're being barraged with a lot of media coverage," said Lisa Hill, who works with The Cure Starts Now Foundation . "As a parent, it's nice to have that camaraderie and know you're not alone."

It was the same for Still, who was taken aback when Lauren gave him the game jersey.

"I knew they understood what I was going through," Still said. "Talking to Lauren and her parents put life in perspective."

A perspective that's carrying him into his second career.
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