Pindowns: NBA players, even stars, generous with time, money

LeBron James and other NBA superstars hold their work for charities and youngsters near and dear to their hearts.

Some random pindowns on an NBA Saturday night spent watching the Oklahoma City Thunder be boatraced by Golden State Warriors…

The Butler (still) did it

For all of the high-profile, much-documented drama that surrounds NBA players on and off the court, there are myriad other great tales that go underreported, if not flying completely under the radar, LeBron James’ extreme generosity streak through his foundation being a noted exception.

For example, while the injury to his right knee and the subsequent diagnosis of meniscal damage will sideline Jimmy Butler for several weeks, that didn’t stop him from doing what he can for youngsters.

Even though he was on crutches, the Minnesota Timberwolves star made a dream come true for Matthew Long, a Make-a-Wish young man from Seattle whose wish was to meet him.

It’s difficult, OK, impossible, to not wish for a speedy recovery for Butler.

K.D. remembers from where he came

Kevin Durant has committed $10 million to College Track, a program whose mission is to “empower students from underserved communities to graduate from college.” Durant has teamed with the public schools in Prince George’s County, Maryland, where he was raised to get the ball rolling on his initiative.

The Golden State Warriors star is building a facility called The Durant Center in the Seat Pleasant area in Maryland, where he grew up. It’s a life-ladder, meaning the 60 students who comprise the initial group must climb the ladder themselves.

Durant’s $10 million donation will go toward constructing the facilities and toward covering operating expenses. It’ll help put up the first East Coast chapter of College Track in the neighborhood where he spent his youth.

Durant in a telephone interview with the Washington Post: “I want them to see the world. I want them to see where people are from and see that there are things outside their world. I don’t know exactly or at what pace that they will get it, but there is a world outside that they need to see.”

K.D.’s generosity was noted by Warriors coach Steve Kerr.

There are nine other College Track centers across California, Colorado and Louisiana, and the program has helped more than 3,000 students get to college and beyond. This Maryland center will be the first of three that are planned to go up in the DC area.

For Love of the kids

Kevin Love’s work as an ambassador for St. Jude has, thankfully, not gone unnoticed.

To which Love responded on his Twitter account:

Rob Fischer, sideline reporter for Memphis Grizzlies television broadcasts, expressed his appreciate for Love’s generosity with his time toward youngsters.

Looking ahead

Playoff matchups I humbly request The Basketball Gods allow us to see:

* Houston vs. the LA Clippers

With their almost-brawl after Trevor Ariza and some of the Rockets went through the bowels of Staples Center and tried to enter LA’s locker room to get at the Clippers’ Blake Griffin (since traded to Detroit) and Austin Rivers, not much more needs to be said.

* Golden State vs. Oklahoma City

Durant and Russell Westbrook squaring off as the headliners in a best-of-seven series with the likes of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, Paul George, Carmelo Anthony and Steven Adams filling support-role spots. While the K.D.-Russ history has been well documented, Anthony and Durant got into it and had to be separated in the first half of the Warriors’ blowout win at Oracle on Saturday night.

* Boston vs. Philadelphia

An old-school rivalry from the days of yore, these two teams despised one another back in the day and, hopefully, for our sake, it gets back to that.

* Cleveland vs. Milwaukee

LeBron matched up with Giannis Antetokounmpo in a best-of-seven series? Oh, yes, please! While the Bucks would be underdogs against the three-time defending Eastern Conference champions, their combination of youth, length and athleticism would pose problems for Cleveland.

* Washington vs. Boston

While the hope is for Philly and Boston to get back to detesting each other, the Wizards and Celtics already do. ’nuff said.

* Cleveland vs. Washington

John Wall and Bradley Beal accused the Cavaliers of trying to avoid a possible playoff matchup with the Wizards last season. Perhaps the matchup does indeed take place this spring.

* Houston vs. Golden State

Do the Rockets, who won the season series against the defending champions, 2-1, have enough to hang with them throughout the course of a series? While I’m not sure, I’d very much like to learn the answer.

*Cleveland vs. Boston

LeBron and Kyrie Irving going at it with their respective seasons on the line would be must-see television. Perhaps all the newfound public displays of appreciation would dissipate by series’ end.

* Cleveland vs. Golden State

Round IV… though perhaps borderline redundant to some, there’s no question which rivalry draws the most eyes across the NBA landscape. Does the addition of The New 4, plus the return of Kevin Love, arm LeBron with enough surrounding talent to make another run at Golden State?

A.D. the Great

In case you missed it, Anthony Davis has been absolutely tearing it up of late for the New Orleans Pelicans.

While many figured their season was circling the drain when DeMarcus Cousins went down with a torn Achilles’ tendon, Davis has done his best to carry the Pelicans.

In a thrilling 124-123 overtime win against the visiting Miami Heat on Friday night, Davis made some history, finishing with 45 points, 17 rebounds, two assists, five steals and five blocks in 41 minutes.

In doing so, A.D. became the only player with 40 points, 15 boards, five steals and five blocked shots in a game since steals and blocks were first recorded in 1973-74, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

In New Orleans’ current four-game winning streak, Davis is averaging 42.3 points, 14.8 boards, 4.0 steals and 3.0 blocked shots per game.

The Pelicans (32-26) are clinging to the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Having a ball

Back to Westbrook, even though he and his Thunder teammates were embarrassed in suffering through their first loss to Golden State this season Saturday night after winning the first two matchups, the league’s reigning Most Valuable Player was caught on camera interacting with a young fan seated next to him on the OKC bench.

Not fond of Kid Rock

Jeff McDonald, lead Spurs beat writer for the San Antonio Express-News, is in Cleveland for San Antonio’s matchup the the Cavaliers on Sunday afternoon (3:30 tip, ABC) at Quicken Loans Arena.

Apparently, he’s not a big Kid Rock fan.