Trail Blazers lose LaMarcus Aldridge

Portland Trail Blazers power forward LaMarcus Aldridge is expected to miss six to eight weeks after tearing the radial collateral ligament in his left thumb, the team announced Thursday night.

The three-time All-Star spoke before Portland’s game against the Boston Celtics.

Aldridge hurt his thumb when his hand came down on the knee of Sacramento’s DeMarcus Cousinsin the second quarter of the Blazers’ 98-95 victory over the Kings on Monday night.

“I’ve definitely sprained my thumb a few times, but this was on a different level,” Aldridge said. “I couldn’t even move it.”

The 6-foot-11 power forward had X-rays immediately following the injury, but they were inconclusive. An MRI early Thursday revealed the tear.

Aldridge leads Portland with averages of 23.2 points and 10.2 rebounds per game. He is one of only three players in the league averaging at least 20 points and 10 rebounds this season, joining Cousins and the New Orleans’ Pelicans’ Anthony Davis.

The injury is a big blow to the Blazers, who were already dealing with a depleted front line. Center Robin Lopez is out with a fractured right hand and center Joel Freeland is sidelined with a right shoulder strain.

Portland was 31-12 and sitting in second place in the Western Conference behind Golden State entering the game against the Celtics. But the Blazers had lost four of their last five.

They are 14-23 over the last four seasons without Aldridge.

“It’s tough, we’ve been in a pretty good rhythm most of the season,” Aldridge said. “We’ve lost guys a lot this season — this is a totally different season from last year — but we have a lot of guys here who can step up and play better, and make plays. So I think the team shouldn’t stall, we’re going to get guys back soon, so that should be good for us.”

Aldridge said he will have surgery within the week. He was wearing a black sleeve on his wrist and thumb when he spoke to reporters in the Blazers’ locker room.

He said he discussed with the doctors whether he could play with it, but ultimately it was decided that he should have the surgery.

“We just talked to the doctors and they didn’t feel the risk was going to be worth the reward,” he said. “It could be worse on the back end, or I could even wait two weeks and try to play and not end up playing anyways. So we just felt like, to us, the right thing to do is take care of it now.”

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5 Social Media Tips For Small Business

By Mario Armstrong

Social media is a great way to get the word out about your business. But if it’s not delivering results, take a step back and see if you’re following these best practices.

1. Communicate your uniqueness

Too many businesses are trying to be too many things. Instead, focus on what makes you unique and incorporate that into your social media strategy. That means communicating how your value proposition to customers is different from competitors, of course, but more importantly it means having a personality! If you’re building your business around your personal brand, don’t be afraid to let your real self shine through. And if your whole company is using social media, establish editorial guidelines and an editorial voice that feels real and has a personality that everyone on the team can understand and bring to life.



2. Stop selling

Just because you can sell doesn’t mean you should — or at least, don’t use social media strictly to sell. For example, I recently met with a real estate agent who wanted to be known as the go-to expert agent for his community. He feels he knows the community better than any other agent. He lives there, has a family, and is involved in the community through things like local youth sports. But when I saw his Facebook page, it was littered with images of available listings — and nothing else. Not one thing on his page demonstrated that he knew the community. Instead he demonstrated that he was an expert at uploading listings in his area — and any service can do that.

I noticed he was getting no engagement, so I told him stop thinking like an agent and begin thinking like a resident. For example, when he told me about the local yogurt spot that’s popular in his community, I told him that was a perfect opportunity to create a community “insiders” post. I suggested he take a photo of himself having yogurt and post it to Facebook asking for engagement from locals: “I love Jimmy Yogurt shack, my fave flavor is banana cream, what’s yours?” Then every fourth post or so, he could include a marketing message with an available property and explain why it’s great for that community. In other words, he can become the go-to expert agent by being the person who evangelizes the neighborhood rather than real estate.

3. Tell a story with images

Images are your secret weapon in breaking through the clutter of social media. Images are an incredible way to say a lot, quickly and easily, in a way your followers can easily react to. Multiple images and collages are especially great for saying a lot without words. For example, a baker could show me one image that actually contains four separate images: ingredients, the mixing, the finished cupcake, and someone smiling and holding a half-eaten cupcake. You get the idea. Images can tell a story. They’re also easy to digest, like and share. Think about how huge Instagram is.

4. Show us with video

People don’t have to imagine as much with video, so it’s another great way to communicate your uniqueness and tell stories while making content that’s super shareable.

Recently a bike store owner approached me about expanding his business and mentioned he was creating a blog to help show why they are the best at what they do. A blog is a great way for a business to drive site traffic, but when I went to his blog it was static. There were a few articles like “how to fix a flat tire on your mountain bike,” but it didn’t have regular updates that help drive readership and search engine optimization. He didn’t have the kind of content that differentiated their bike shop.

So I told him to shoot video. For example, take video of the workers in the store and tell me about them. I want to know the story and what makes them experts. Show off a bike designed for super diehards — not just recreational cyclists — so we can experience the skills and expertise of his team. But I also told him to keep it casual and avoid a hard sell.

“Here’s Jim who works in repairs. Jim, what’s the most common repair you have to make?” But then you might notice his sandwich is half-eaten and you ask him what he had for lunch. In other words, shoot quick videos that help show his expertise but also make him human and tell me more about him. Creating a human connection is a great way for potential customers to remember you. Imagine a customer who walks into the shop and says, “Hey Jim, I saw that video, great tip and by the way did you ever finish that sandwich?” That’s instant credibility – especially if customers are wondering whether he cares more about fixing bikes than finishing his lunch!

5. Do A/B testing

If you aren’t getting results, try experimenting with your content in a systematic and scientific way. Study your content and what seems to resonate, then try different variations and see what gets engagement. Remember to only try to test one “variable” at a time; otherwise you won’t know what’s making the difference.

Mario Armstrong, Digital Lifestyle Expert, is an Emmy Award winning tech commentator for the TODAY show, CNN, HLN, and Fuse. An entrepreneur by nature, Armstrong made his passion his career by quitting his day job and founding Mario Armstrong Media. Follow Mario at @MarioArmstrong.

This story previously appeared on AT&T Business Circle.

Alessandro Michele Named Gucci Creative Director

Gucci and parent company Kering on Wednesday appointed Alessandro Michele creative director of the Italian luxury brand. He will succeed Frida Giannini, who departed last month from the Italian fashion and leather goods house.

“After a considered and thorough selection process, Alessandro Michele has been chosen to assume the role as Gucci creative director, based upon the contemporary vision he has articulated for the brand that he will now bring to life,” said Marco Bizzarri, president and chief executive officer of Gucci. “Alessandro and I are fully aligned on this new contemporary vision needed by the brand and we will be continuously inspired by that new identity in our respective roles and duties.”

Michele, 42, joined Gucci in 2002, and became Giannini’s deputy in 2011 when he took over the leather goods, shoes, jewelry and home collections. He is also the creative director of Gucci’s porcelain brand, Richard Ginori. He previously worked at Fendi as a senior accessories designer and studied at Rome’s Accademia di Costume e di Moda.

François-Henri Pinault, chairman and ceo of Kering, added “Throughout its history, Gucci has always created attention and excitement through its innovative and distinctive products and collections as it has become Italy’s most renowned fashion house and one of the most iconic, and prominentluxury brands in the world. Alessandro Michele has both the qualities and the vision necessary to bring a new contemporary perspective to Gucci and lead the brand into an exciting new creative chapter of its history.”

Alexander Wang Debuts a Furniture Collection With A $8,800 Beanbag Chair

American fashion designer, renowned for his urban, chic, trend-setting styles has jumped on the furniture design bandwagon. Alexander Wang has debuted a three-piece furniture collection for Italian brand Poltrona Frau.

The creative director of French house Balenciaga has unveiled the new collection comprising of a brass-footed beanbag chair in inky black shearling, a second version in leather and a companion bar cabinet, wrapped in squares of jet-black shagreen, that opens to reveal jagged brass shelves. True to his signature style, the 30-year old designer has effortlessly blended luxury with street-style. Giving his creations a Wang-touch, the $8,800 beanbag chair’s base stands on nine sides unlike the usual symmetrical eight. Also the bar is crafted to swivel on luggage-style wheels.

Emphasizing the urge to add oomph to everyday product, the designer elucidates about designing the beanbag chair. Wang spoke about it to Wall Street Journal, “It’s banal, an everyday item. We always had them in the TV room. But I like to recontextualize what is banal, what is luxurious. To make it with Poltrona, that just completely changes it. And yet at the end of the day, it’s still a beanbag chair.” He added “I love that.”

Always keen to try his hand in furniture, Wang has, over a period, developed liking for exotic finishes and the furniture designed by Karl Springer, Milo Baughman and the likes.

Unvaccinated People Should Avoid Disneyland, State Health Officials Warn

California state health officials are advising all unvaccinated people to avoid Disneyland indefinitely due to an outbreak of measles.

The respiratory disease spread throughout the historic theme park at the end of December and has since plagued nearly 59 people in California, 42 of which contracted the virus at Disneyland, NPR reports.

State epidemiologist Dr. Gil Chavez advised all unvaccinated folk to steer clear of the magical Anaheim acreage, exhorting parents of infants and young children to avoid the park. “If you are not vaccinated, stay away from Disneyland,” Chavez said. “It can be very serious with devastating consequences.”



Measles is a highly contagious airborne disease caused by a virus. Once contracted, the infected will develop a rash all over the body and further complications including fever, pneumonia, diarrhea and coughing can ensue.

The majority of those infected were not vaccinated and varied in age from 7 months to 70 years old.

The outbreak is suspected to have been spread by an infected, unvaccinated foreigner visiting the park in December or a Californian who contracted the disease abroad.

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