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As leagues rethink protocols, CDC halves COVID-19 isolation guidelines

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The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shortened the isolation period for people with COVID-19 on Monday, cutting it in half from 10 days to five, as individuals, communities and businesses — including sports leagues — attempt to navigate this latest stage of the pandemic.

The CDC, as part of its new guidance, also shortened the time that close contacts need to quarantine.

The reduction in isolation time comes amid an unprecedented spread of the highly transmissible Omicron variant, which has proven to be less susceptible to vaccines than other variants of the coronavirus, leading to an influx of breakthrough cases — infections in vaccinated peoples — among populations with high vaccination rates.

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Taken in tandem, the new guidelines on isolation periods could pave the way for new health and safety protocols in professional sports leagues around the world.

“The Omicron variant is spreading quickly and has the potential to impact all facets of our society,” Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the director of the CDC, said on Monday. “These updates ensure people can safely continue their daily lives.”

Though none of the major professional men’s leagues in North America have openly weighed in on the new guidance at this time, the CDC’s recommendations come as the NHL, NBA and NFL are grappling with how to balance profits and safety, with some adopting novel approaches to how they handle positive cases.

Starting Monday, NBA players and coaches who are vaccinated can leave quarantine after six days, down from the previous mandate of 10 days, if testing shows they are no longer at risk to be infectious, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported.

Under the new policy, which was agreed to by the league and the National Basketball Players Association, individuals can still test out of quarantine if they return two negative tests 24 hours apart.

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Editor’s Note: The COVID-19 situation, in the NHL and around the world, is constantly evolving. Readers in Canada can consult the country’s public health website for the latest.



That reported agreement closely mirrors recent CDC guidance for health care workers, which saw the agency shorten how long they would be unable to work for from 10 days to seven — as long as they test negative and don’t have symptoms. That recommendation for health care workers came with an isolation reduction, too, cutting it to five days or less as hospitals across America grapple with staffing shortages and burnout.

In the NFL, protocols were recently loosened as well. Only unvaccinated players and those experiencing possible symptoms of COVID-19 are being tested, and asymptomatic vaccinated players can return as soon as they receive two negative tests on the same day, or one negative test along with an antibody test showing they have reached a certain threshold.

Major League Baseball, in the midst of a labour stoppage, has not faced the same questions that the NBA, NFL and NHL have. Some NHL members, in particular, have been vocal about the league’s hesitance to adopt models for its protocols similar to the NFL and NBA.

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“I really don’t know what the right thing is,” Steve Yzerman, the general manager of the Detroit Red Wings, said earlier in December. “At the end of the day, I think — and now I’m getting political — but at the end of the day our players are testing positive with very little symptoms, if any symptoms at all.

“I don’t see it as a threat to their health at this point. I think you might take it a step further and question why are we even testing, for guys that have no symptoms.”

Yzerman, in his comments, did not acknowledge that asymptomatic players are still able to spread the virus — not only to teammates, but to members of their communities.

There also remains lingering uncertainty over the long-term effects of contracting a breakthrough case of COVID-19, though researchers in Britain found that fully vaccinated people are about 50 per cent less likely to experience long Covid than unvaccinated people.

Beyond the medical challenges, the NHL, more than any other professional men’s league, also faces the unique challenge of cross-border travel and localized regulations that could diverge widely from region to region. In Toronto, for example, the city’s 10-day isolation mandate would supersede any CDC-influenced reduction the NHL made.

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Monitoring COVID-19 in the NHL
The coronavirus has run rampant through the league, forcing teams to deal with the threat of outbreaks and games being postponed. Here’s the latest.

Notably, part of leaving isolation early in the NBA and health care industry is the presence of a negative test, something which is not part of the new CDC recommendations for the public. Instead, individuals are being told that at the end of five days, if they have no symptoms, they can return to normal activities. Mask-wearing, however, is mandatory everywhere — even at home around others — for at least five more days.

The CDC said Monday this latest guidance for the general public aligns with a growing body of evidence which indicates that people with COVID-19 are most infectious in the two days before and the three days after symptoms develop. However, its decision has come under question from members of the medical community, with some noting that it remains to be seen how Omicron will impact these findings.

“CDC’s new guidance to drop isolation of positives to five days without a negative test is reckless,” Dr. Michael Mina, a prominent American epidemiologist, immunologist and physician wrote in a Twitter thread. “This is the part that hurts the most.

“The reason they are doing this: ‘The change is motivated by science demonstrating… SARS-CoV-2 transmission occurs… generally in the 1-2 days prior to onset of symptoms and the 2-3 days after’

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“That was BEFORE OMICRON. Today, it is OBVIOUS the situation has changed. Ppl are testing earlier b/c symptom onset is early – no longer two days after people are infectious. So now people are staying positive even longer after testing positive, because they find out earlier they are positive.”

Across professional sports, the impact of Omicron has been profoundly felt and NBA commissioner Adam Silver recently said the variant accounted for as much as 90 per cent of the league’s current Covid cases.

Despite the prevalence of breakthrough cases, vaccines are still expected to be a key tool in preventing the worst outcomes of the virus. The C.D.C. has said that two doses of current vaccines offer meaningful protection against severe illness, hospitalizations, and deaths due to infection with the Omicron variant.

Even amid unprecedented case totals, players have echoed Yzerman’s sentiments. After the Vancouver Canucks returned to practice from the league’s Covid-induced pause, Tyler Myers said he “completely agreed” with what the Red Wings GM said.

“I think he was bang-on,” Myers said. “I completely understand there’s another side of it, where there’s people if it’s not themselves have family members that are more vulnerable to what’s happening around the world right now. Everybody’s in a different situation. I think as players the most frustrating part is seeing what other sports leagues are doing.

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“It seems we’re heading the opposite direction of that. I think it’s a little confusing for us.”

The Canucks, who have had five games postponed so far this season, are among the teams most familiar with the effects of COVID-19.

Last spring, they were hit by the Gamma variant and suffered what was at the time among the biggest outbreaks on a professional sports roster.

Now, the total toll of the virus is front of mind.

“I think you’re uncomfortable all the time right now,” Oliver Ekman-Larsson said Monday. “It’s not really about hockey, it’s about mental health, too. It tears you down a little bit just thinking about it all the time. You’re supposed to be playing hockey and do good on the ice, and you have to deal with stuff going around Covid. It’s a lot of stuff that is on your mind, but you kind of learn how to live with it and try to not think about it too much.”

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Do Cough Drops Expire? (Explained)

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When you have a sore throat or you can’t stop coughing, one of the first things you might turn to is cough drops.

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Since cough drops usually come in a pack, you might have some left over by the time your cough passes.

If you get a tickle in your throat again a few months later, you may wonder if you can use the same cough drops to help or if they have expired.

Knowing if cough drops have expiration dates as well as a few other facts can help you stay healthy and potentially save some money.

 

Do Cough Drops Expire?

Different cough drops

 

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Yes, cough drops do expire.

You’ll see an expiration date on the package of cough drops that you’re using.

Once that date arrives, your cough drops are technically expired.

The reason cough drops expire is that they contain certain chemicals or ingredients with a shelf life.

When these ingredients reach that shelf life, they’re no longer as effective at helping you recover from your symptoms.

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What Are The Benefits Of Using Expired Cough Drops?

Cough drops on white

 

If you’re on the fence over whether to use expired cough drops or not, then it might help you to consider the benefits of doing so.

Here are a few benefits of using expired cough drops.

 

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1. Saves Money

Cropped view of man putting coin in yellow piggy bank

 

Perhaps the biggest benefit of choosing to use expired cough drops over new ones is that it saves you money.

You don’t have to go out and buy a new pack of cough drops.

Since cough drops can sometimes be expensive, especially for people on a budget, being able to use expired ones can be helpful.

This also means you’re able to keep your cough drops longer.

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A container of cough drops might last you several years before you run out and need a new one.

If you don’t mind using expired cough drops, then it could help you save a good amount of money in the long run.

 

2. You Still Get Relief

Woman with medicines on wooden tray

 

While your expired cough drops won’t be as effective as new cough drops, they should still provide you with some relief.

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An exception might occur if you have a very bad cough and your cough drops are several years old.

In this case, the cough drops might not be effective enough to help you deal with your symptoms.

As such, you might not get the relief that you’re looking for.

In milder cases, however, you can still get enough relief from expired cough drops.

 

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3. Allows You To Use Your Favorite Cough Drops

Cough drops with honey

 

Not every brand of cough drops is pleasant to use.

Some brands add special flavors or coatings to their cough drops to make them easier to take.

You might enjoy its flavor or texture.

It might just have an easier time going down.

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If it’s particularly hard to find that specific brand of cough drops, then you might not like the idea of throwing out your current cough drops because they expired.

By choosing to use your expired cough drops, you can still use the ones that you enjoy using.

At the very least, it can buy you a bit more time while you try to hunt down the brand for a new package.

 

4. Reduces Waste

Cough drops in blister pack

 

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A final benefit of using expired cough drops is that it helps reduce waste.

Unless you or your family get sick often, you probably don’t use cough drops all that much.

Throwing them out because they’ve expired is wasteful.

It takes resources to make cough drops.

It takes energy.

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While some manufacturers may try to offset their energy usage or combat climate change, not all of them likely do.

At the very least, some might not do it as well as others.

Throwing your cough drops away because they’ve expired is wasting all the resources put into making that container.

It only further adds to climate damage because it then requires manufacturers to produce another container.

Holding onto the package and using the expired cough drops helps reduce waste.

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In turn, you help reduce climate change just a bit more.

 

What Are The Consequences Of Using Expired Cough Drops?

Color cough drops on grey background

 

While saving money may be an ideal benefit of using expired cough drops, there are a few negatives to holding onto them, too.

Here are some consequences or negatives of using expired cough drops.

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1. Less Effective

Side view of sick young man having cough while sitting in bed

 

Although taking expired cough drops won’t make you ill, you may find that they’re not as effective.

For example, if you’re suffering from a bad cough, then you want relief.

By using your expired cough drops, you may find that they ease your coughing, but they don’t completely get rid of it like they used to.

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Your quality of life hasn’t improved despite having taken the medication.

If you’re relying on your cough drops to make you feel better, the fact that they’re not that effective could be frustrating.

 

2. Need To Take More

Cough drops with jam

 

Because your cough drops aren’t as effective, you might feel the need to take more of them.

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While it’s difficult to overdose on cough drops, it is possible.

That’s because cough drops contain menthol.

Too much menthol is toxic for the body.

That said, cough drops only contain a few milligrams of menthol.

According to Healthline, someone who weighs 150 pounds would need to consume 6,800 cough drops to overdose.

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They’d also have to consume them in a short amount of time.

Not a lot of people are willing to eat that many cough drops to get high or overdose.

They’d also have to buy a big jar of cough drops or buy several containers.

Since some stores might have a limit to the number of drops you can buy in a day, it might be difficult to even get your hands on 6,800 drops in the first place.

Regardless, if you need your cough drops to work more effectively, you may decide to take more than the recommended dosage.

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That can cause other problems which can make suffering from a cough seem like nothing.

As such, it’s sometimes better to stick with new cough drops, so you can get a more effective response and keep from using lots of drops at once.

 

3. Updated Dosaging

Fruit Flavored Hard Candy

 

One reason manufacturers put expiration dates on their drugs is that the dosage might change in the future.

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The manufacturer might come up with a new recipe, for example, that makes the cough drop more effective.

As such, the dosage might change since the individual doesn’t need to take as many drops to get the full effect.

There may have even been a problem with the dosage originally.

Getting new cough drops gives you access to updated dosage information.

Not only might you find that the drops are more effective, but you can be sure that you’re taking the right amount of drops, too.

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What Are The Symptoms Of Eating Too Many Cough Drops?

Unhappy girl sitting on sofa and suffering from stomach pain

 

If you decided to hold onto your expired cough drops and use them, then you may have discovered that they’re not as effective.

As such, you may have decided to take more drops to get the same effect.

However, you may wonder if you’re experiencing symptoms as a result of taking too many cough drops.

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Here are some symptoms you might experience if you take too many cough drops.

 

1. Stomach Pain

One of the first symptoms you might experience if you eat too many cough drops is stomach pain.

Because some cough drops use artificial sweeteners, they can start to make your stomach ache.

By eating a lot of cough drops, you’re taking in a lot of sugar, too.

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Sugar, mixed with the other ingredients in cough drops, can cause your stomach to experience pain.

If the pain grows worse or doesn’t recede with time, then it may be worth visiting urgent care for some help.

 

2. Nausea

Along with stomach pain, you might also experience nausea.

This might also be due to the amount of sugar you ingested by eating a large number of cough drops.

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Because artificial sweeteners cause problems with water storage in the body, you can become dehydrated.

When you’re dehydrated, one of the ways your body can tell you is with nausea.

Once you drink enough water, the nausea might subside.

Nausea might also occur because of the toxicity of menthol.

If you ingest too much of it, then your body might be trying to make you purge it from your system.

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To prepare you for vomiting, it makes you feel nauseous.

 

3. Vomiting

If your stomach pain and nausea become too intense, then you might start vomiting.

This is another sign that you ate too many cough drops.

At this point, your body is trying to purge itself of the excess menthol and artificial sweeteners.

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You might feel better after vomiting since some of the menthol and sweeteners will have left your body.

If you still feel nauseous and continue to vomit, however, then you might want to try and make it to urgent care to receive help.

 

4. Rapid Heart Rate

Another symptom of eating too many cough drops is a rapid heart rate.

You may feel as though your heart is pounding in your chest.

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It may even cause other symptoms.

If you feel as though your heart is being faster than it should, it could be because of the cough drops.

Cough drops and other over-the-counter remedies affect your heart rate because they interact with the blood vessels that run throughout your body.

They also stimulate your heart.

While your sinuses and coughing might ease, you might find yourself with an overactive heart instead.

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This can be a problem for people with certain heart conditions.

An abnormally-stimulated heart could lead to heart palpitations that worsen your heart’s health.

It could even cause cardiac arrest if you have an existing heart condition.

If you notice that your heart is beating faster after taking a large number of cough drops, then you should sit down and try to keep yourself from doing anything strenuous.

It can take a few hours for the cough drops to stop affecting your heart, however.

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If you have a heart condition and your heart is racing, you should consider a visit to urgent care just in case.

 

5. Drowsiness

Some cough drops can make you feel drowsy.

If you take too many of these types of cough drops, then you might feel exhausted.

Your mind may be unable to focus, and it can be difficult to make quick decisions or react quickly.

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That’s why many cough drops that make you drowsy will warn you against driving or operating heavy machinery.

You may not have the reaction time needed to prevent an accident.

You might also find that you’re unproductive at work after taking too many cough drops.

This becomes a problem because a lot of people will take cough drops to help clear their heads and sinuses in order to go to work.

However, if they take too many, then they might find themselves struggling with productivity all the same.

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There’s also always the possibility that you might feel so drowsy that you end up passing out.

While feeling drowsy shouldn’t make you go to urgent care, it can completely ruin your day.

 

6. Confusion

Drowsiness isn’t the only thing that cough drops can do to your head.

They can also make you confused.

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When you have too many cough drops, your head can become sluggish.

It can be difficult to put things together and understand what’s going on around you.

A part of that comes down to drowsiness.

You may be too tired to be aware of your surroundings.

As such, you may have some confusion as to what’s going on.

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That’s another reason why driving after taking too many cough drops isn’t advised.

You might get confused as to what to do at a stop light.

That might make you cause an accident and seriously hurt someone.

It can also impact work performance.

If you’re unsure of how to tackle a problem, then you might have the whole office waiting for you to do something.

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Like drowsiness, experiencing confusion shouldn’t send you to urgent care.

However, it is a sign that you probably took too many cough drops.

 

7. Headache

Cough drops tend to help get rid of many symptoms caused by the flu or a cold.

They can ease your coughing, open up your lungs, and take care of your sore throat.

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You might even find that it stops your runny nose.

However, despite all that, eating too many cough drops could cause a headache.

Part of the reason it can cause a headache is the artificial sweeteners.

Since they affect water storage, they can dehydrate you.

When your body doesn’t have enough water, one of the first symptoms you’ll feel is a headache.

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That’s because your brain needs water to function.

Without it, thinking and reacting can become difficult.

Since your brain doesn’t have enough water, it will cause a headache as a way to encourage you to drink water.

It might also be a way of your brain telling you that you’re suffering from menthol toxicity.

While menthol is safe to use in small quantities, having too much of it, like eating too many cough drops, can make it start to become toxic in your body.

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If your headache persists after a few days, then it might be worth visiting urgent care for help.

 

Conclusion

Cough drops do expire just like any other medication.

However, you can still technically use them after their expiration date.

You may find that they’re not as effective, however, and end up taking too many to get the same effect.

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As such, you might experience some of the above-listed symptoms.

The post Do Cough Drops Expire? (Explained) appeared first on The Cold Wire.



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The NL East Has Suddenly Become A Dominant Division

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(Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)

 

When asked about the best division in MLB, most fans and analysts would probably have said the AL East and the NL West.

The former has the New York Yankees, the Toronto Blue Jays, the Tampa Bay Rays, and the (surprise) Baltimore Orioles fighting for playoff spots; while the latter has the best team in baseball, the Los Angeles Dodgers, and the competent San Diego Padres.

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The fall of the San Francisco Giants (54-57) probably means that the NL West is not in contention to be the strongest division anymore.

That honor may very well belong to a somewhat unexpected group: the NL East.

“Half of the top 6 teams in MLB right now are in the NL East,” MLB Metrics tweeted.

 

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A Strong Division With Several Postseason Contenders

In the NL East, we have the second-best team in MLB, the New York Mets, who have a 73-39 record before Friday’s games.

The Atlanta Braves are destined for another playoff appearance, and are 20 games over .500 at 66-46.

There is a third really strong team: the Philadelphia Phillies.

The Phils are 62-49, 10.5 games behind the Mets and currently in possession of a postseason berth if the season ended today.

The Phillies would be second behind the Dodgers in the NL West and would be leaders of the NL Central, a position currently occupied by the 61-50 St. Louis Cardinals.

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The NL East will likely get three of the six National League playoff spots.

The 50-61 Miami Marlins aren’t particularly strong, but are far from a weak team and could reasonably contend next year.

Despite having the worst team in the National League in the Washington Nationals, the NL East deserves more respect in discussions about the best division in the league.

The post The NL East Has Suddenly Become A Dominant Division appeared first on The Cold Wire.





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Draymond Green says Ja Morant reminds him of himself, and his reasoning makes a lot of sense

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Arguably the best part of any NBA Draft season is the typhoon of reckless player comps that induce equal parts disgust and laughter. Whether it’s saying a second-round pick has similar traits to Giannis Antetokounmpo or comparing two players because they have a similar, um, skin tone, we tend to see some lazy hot takes when it comes to player comps.

On the surface, it looks like Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green could be guilty of the same indiscretion.

During a recent episode of his podcast, “The Draymond Green Show,” Green was asked which current player reminds him of himself. He began his answer by stating the obvious: There is nobody in the NBA, and maybe nobody who has ever played the game, with a similar skill set, basketball IQ and personality as Draymond Green. He listed all of his qualities, saying that it’s hard to find a player with his unique blend of passing, defense, leadership and IQ. 

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“I’m one of one, baby,” Green said. “Ain’t no carbon copies.”

Ultimately he came to a conclusion, but probably not one you’d expect: Memphis Grizzlies point guard Ja Morant.

When you first hear it, the comparison seems spurious at best. Morant is a freak athlete and high flier, while Green’s game has always been lower to the ground. Green is one of the best defenders in NBA history, while Morant’s defense is one of his lone weaknesses on the court. Morant scored over 27 points per game last season — Green has never averaged more than 14. Not to mention the difference in size.

Once Green explained himself, however, the rationale became clear.

“I ain’t bowing down to none of y’all. I don’t care what you’ve accomplished before I got here. That has absolutely nothing to do with me. I believe in myself and my abilities and I’m going to show you that. I’m going to lead. I’mma talk to you, and let you know about it while I’m doing it. I’m going to carry others with me. And most importantly, I’m going to do it my way. And all those things that I just named, I see Ja Morant do.”

Green also conceded the obvious dissimilarities in the way they play the game.

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“Does that mean Ja Morant and me are the same player? We’re nowhere near the same player,” Green said. “But that’s who reminds me a lot of me.”

Adding to the intrigue of Green’s comparison is the ongoing beef (well, maybe closer to a veggie burger) between the Warriors and Grizzlies during and after their Western Conference semifinal matchup this spring, which Golden State won in six games. Grizzlies wing Dillon Brooks said the Warriors are getting old, and Memphis is “coming every single year.” Steph Curry responded by saying that Brooks “called himself a dynasty already,” quickly dismissing that notion. Klay Thompson called Jaren Jackson Jr. a “freaking bum” following the Warriors’ title victory in June, referring to Jackson’s facetious “Strength in Numbers” tweet after a regular-season win over the Warriors.

Morant then entered the mix to defend Jackson, suggesting the Grizzlies had “a lot of real estate” in the Warriors’ minds. Of course, Green couldn’t sit out the verbal sparring entirely, so he responded to Morant with a quick barb about how Golden State had made it to the Finals.

It all seems to be in good fun, and Morant’s reaction to Green’s comparison backs up the idea that there’s nothing but respect between the two franchises. Morant tweeted out, “woo das real shiii,” punctuated with a “100” emoji in response to Green’s comments. Unless I’m not fully updated on the way 23-year-olds communicate these days (which is entirely possible), that seems like a positive reaction.

As much as young stars tend to talk trash as they attempt to claim their place in the league, they generally relish these types of compliments from older players. Green could have easily said, “There’s nobody like me,” and moved on. Instead, he thought about it and realized that, in his mind, Morant plays the game with the same passion, intelligence and fire that has made Green a future Hall of Famer.

Despite the comparison being a bit confusing at first glance, once you get below the surface and look at the rest of the iceberg, it actually makes a lot of sense.

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