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NBA players union hires mental health director

The National Basketball Players Association has hired its first director of mental health and wellness.

Dr. William D. Parham will oversee the union’s new program designed to help members with mental health issues. The program will be headquartered in Los Angeles.

NBPA Executive Director Michele Roberts said Thursday the union has “heard our players’ stories and are making mental health a priority now.”

Earlier this season, NBA stars Kevin Love of the Cleveland Cavaliers and DeMar DeRozan of the Toronto Raptors revealed issues they’ve struggle with on and off the court.

Exhibition in South Africa

The NBA will hold its Africa exhibition game in the South African capital of Pretoria on Aug. 4, with DeRozan and Joel Embiid lined up to play.

The NBA has held two Africa games previously, in 2015 and last year. They were both in Johannesburg, South Africa's biggest city and commercial hub, and pitted a team of American and international NBA stars against a team of NBA players from Africa, or with African heritage.

This time, Team World and Team Africa will play at the 8,500-seat Sun Arena in Time Square as the NBA pushes out to a new city, albeit only about 40 miles up the highway from Johannesburg.

Etc.

The Detroit Pistons plan to interview TNT analyst Kenny Smith for its head coaching job, the Detroit Free Press reported. ... The Philadelphia 76ers announced a three-year contract extension for Brett Brown.

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