North Korea said Thursday that it had test-fired a new type of “tactical guided weapon,” its first such test in nearly half a year, and demanded that Washington remove Secretary of State Mike Pompeo from nuclear negotiations.
Pope Francis is ushering in the most solemn period in the Catholic liturgical calendar by celebrating a Holy Thursday Mass, made more poignant this year following the devastation of Paris’ Notre Dame Cathedral.
Former WNBA star Lindsey Harding is changing the NBA game.
Harding became the first black woman to become a full-time NBA scout when the Philadelphia 76ers hired her before the 2018-19 season. And just before the NBA playoffs began, the former Duke star became the Sixers’ first female assistant coach when she was promoted to player development coach.
Harding joins Becky Hammon (San Antonio Spurs), Jenny Boucek (Dallas Mavericks), Natalie Nakase (Los Angeles Clippers), Kristi Toliver (Washington Wizards) and Karen Stack Umlauf (Chicago Bulls) as the only women currently serving as assistant coaches in the NBA. Nancy Lieberman was also an assistant coach with the Sacramento Kings.
“Becky gets hired and I said, ‘You know what? It could happen,’ ” Harding told The Undefeated. “I wouldn’t say that made me sure that I wanted to kind of get into it. But it let me know that it’s there, it’s open.”
Harding’s basketball résumé speaks for itself.
Duke retired Harding’s No. 10 jersey after she finished her college career with 1,298 points, 579 assists, 296 steals and 565 rebounds in a school-record 128 games. The 5-foot-8 guard was only the sixth player in ACC history to register 1,000 points, 500 assists, 500 rebounds and 250 steals. In 2007, she was named the Naismith College Player of the Year and was the No. 1 overall pick by the Phoenix Mercury in the WNBA draft.
Harding averaged 9.8 points and 4.0 assists in nine seasons with Minnesota, Washington, Atlanta, Los Angeles, New York and Phoenix. She also played professionally in Lithuania, Turkey, Russia and Cyprus.
Before the 2014-15 NBA season, Harding accepted an invite to sit in on coaches’ meetings with the Toronto Raptors during training camp. Then-Raptors coach Dwane Casey said he expected Harding to become a head coach in the NBA one day.
After retiring in 2017, the Houston native served as an assistant coach with the Raptors’ summer league team. She spent a year in the NBA’s Basketball Operations Associate Program before fielding several job offers in the league. She chose to work with the Sixers.
“Her love of the game shines through in everything she does, and I think that has a positive impact on everyone she comes across,” said Sixers general manager Elton Brand. “She’s a rising star in this industry.”
Harding talked about her NBA career with The Undefeated in the following Q&A.
Why did you retire from playing basketball in 2017?
The process it takes to be great, all the hard work on the floor to be part of the women’s game, living in one city playing in the WNBA and then living in another country for seven months, and doing that over and over again, I was just tired of that stuff. Games? I love the game. I miss the games. That’s fun. But everything else around it, I don’t miss. And I think that was kind of easy for me [to retire].
Physically, I feel good. I’m happy. There are some people that look like they played a couple years too long. And I was happy that my knees are good. I didn’t retire because of injury. I got to choose.
What has your experience been like since joining the Sixers? Has everyone been welcoming?
No one has been unwelcoming. But there have been situations where you can talk to certain people that may want to downplay your accomplishments because it might not have been in the NBA — not to mention that these people might not have played either in the NBA. It’s a very competitive industry to be in, whether on the court or off. I ran into things like that.
Something as simple as me saying to certain people, ‘Oh, you know, I’d love to be in the office or possibly run a team someday, go in that direction.’ ‘Oh, a WNBA team. That’s great. I love the WNBA.’ But I want people to think differently. I don’t say bigger or smaller. I say, ‘Think differently.’ … You understand the game, you can learn just like everyone else. You have value. You have experience. Why not?
Is it humbling to know you were the first black woman to be an NBA scout?
I was at the African American museum for the first time in D.C. last year and they were talking about sports, and talking about the first woman this and that, and the WNBA and everything. I remember looking, I was like, ‘Can I get a picture of you?’ I was there by myself and said that to myself. …
When I got the scouting job … my mom was telling me, ‘Why isn’t [the media] talking about this? Why aren’t they saying you’re the first black woman to do this?’ I don’t know. …
There was an usher in Philly who looked at my credential and said, ‘You’re a scout for us?’ I said, ‘Yes.’ ‘You’re the first black woman scout?’ I said, ‘Yes.’ And he got so excited.
While these doors in the NBA have been opening for women, why do you think there haven’t been many black women given this opportunity?
I don’t know. For one, I think now people are realizing this could be a path. Because if you don’t know, you then may not pursue it.
So a lot of people have actually called me and reached out: ‘Can you tell me about this?’ ‘What do you think?’ And I have players now that are black women who have called me about [the NBA Basketball Operations Associate Program] expressing interest and know that it is there.
What did you learn from being a scout?
I’ve seen so many games and learned the players. I have an idea about most of the players, if not all, in the league. So when players and when coaches are talking about certain players, there’s quite a few of them that I’ve written reports on, so I have a really good idea of who they are and what they do. That was a big reason why I wanted to scout, too, is to learn the league.
Have you encountered any sexism or harassment?
People know why I am there. They know what I have done. They all respect that, especially because most of them really haven’t had that experience. So that is great, but some people still see you as a woman first. And it could be at times an ego thing or it could be a woman [thing] … there could be some comments.
I play it forward. I can joke with the best of them. If we’re joking, I have no problem. But if they’re pointed toward me, that is when it might not be fully professional. But as a whole, it has been fun. That line might have been [crossed] a little bit. But I am the type of person, I handle myself, let them know certain things, and it has been great, especially in this climate.
There are things that women, not just in this job but in society, have to deal with. Unfortunately. You just hope that over time it changes.
Is basketball the same to you no matter the league?
A lot of basketball you have, especially from my position, being a point guard, you have certain feels, you make certain adjustments. I learned the basics. Because I’m 5-8 on a good day, I have to have the correct form to shoot, use both hands to finish, use the right angle to pass to the post. You do a lot of the little things that these guys get away with because they’re bigger and stronger. We talk about the little things, what I can see, what I can teach and what I can do. It’s a lot of the little things that I have had to perfect to be good because I don’t have the physical attributes.
How did you go from being a scout to an assistant coach right before the playoffs?
A few people talked to me about it, but I didn’t know. I was unsure for a while of when they were going to look to hire. The moment I showed interest and everything, there was an offer out there. I know it’s probably an unusual time to go with playoffs, but it just kind of moved quickly. I was like, ‘Sure, absolutely.’ This would be great, and they just give me like, ‘One, two, three, done.’
What made you comfortable making the transition at this time of the season?
What is that quote? It’s like, ‘If you’re doing something comfortable, it’s not worth doing.’ It took me a couple of months to get comfortable with scouting until I finally learned the ropes, knew what I was doing. It’s tough in this time because you’re still getting to know people. But it’s playoff time, so you don’t want to mess up routines, you don’t want to interrupt any of that stuff. You just want to, at this time, all hands on deck, helping out with anything that needs to be done right now.
Of all the positive comments you’ve received this season, what has meant the most to you?
One of the biggest things that got me was words from a player now at Duke. She is a black girl. She was talking to me about she wanted to stay in basketball when she finished playing and graduated. She wanted to do men’s basketball. She wanted to get into coaching.
Listening to her talk was amazing because she sees it as an option. Even when I was in college, I didn’t even think I could … so my mind didn’t even go there as far as working on the NBA side in this way.
Obviously, Becky Hammon is doing it, and Jenny Boucek’s doing it, Kristi Toliver. It was just another thing that hit me because I’m a Duke alum, I’ve spent some time there, and she was like, ‘Hey, you’re doing it. This is what I want to see for my future.’ That’s pretty special to where now kids like her, she’s in school, and she’s like, ‘You know what? I want to focus on this and do this.’
What advice would you give to a young girl who wants to follow in your footsteps?
One, this job is kind of like any job. Relationships are very important. Making sure you meet and know the right people, it’s very difficult, especially after my years of playing, to be around NBA organizations and staff long enough to develop relationships.
Obviously, it is much easier for the men who play because they’re with their coaches every day, or their GMs and everything. So that’s one barrier that makes it a little tougher. So it’s going to different events and making these contacts, and knowing that it may take years and years, and at that time you have to prepare yourself. How I prepared myself was my years of playing.
How excited are you for the Sixers in the playoffs?
I am super excited for the playoffs. I think we’ve done well this season. We have a great group of guys that this organization put together, and I know that everybody is excited and ready. So, yeah, I’m new to this side, so I’m still learning day by day. But this is something really exciting to be about.
Can you envision women playing in the NBA one day?
Why not? There are some great players in the league now. From what I’m watching … I am going to throw a name out there everyone knows. Diana Taurasi is one of the best players to ever play the game. She shoots better than the majority of people I have ever seen shoot the ball, men or women. She has respect from pretty much anyone.
I would love to see her try. I am not saying she will lock people up on defense. But the way she moves, shoots, and how smart she is, she’ll get to the free throw line.
People will joke at me and laugh about it. But why not? If we put a boundary on something, then why would it happen? I am a person that thinks outside the box.
Following their joint declaration committing to regulate crypto assets, the G20 countries are now preparing to set crypto policies at the upcoming summit. Several international organizations have contributed resources and are actively working to help shape the regulations.
The upcoming G20 summit will be held in Osaka, Japan, on June 28 and 29. Participants are 19 member countries, the European Union, guest countries and a number of international organizations. Following the members’ joint declaration committing to regulate crypto assets for AML and CFT purposes, several standard-setting bodies have contributed resources to help the G20 set crypto policies. According to Japanese media, the countries are expected to agree upon new crypto-related regulations at the summit.
The G20 has reaffirmed its support for the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) as “the global anti-money laundering, counter terrorist financing, and proliferation financing standard-setting body,” the FATF described in its report submitted to the G20 last week. The G20 has additionally asked the organization to clarify how its standards apply to “virtual asset activities.” Responding to this request, the FATF confirmed that “Jurisdictions should apply a risk-based approach to virtual assets” and related activities. Promising to issue new guidelines in June, it elaborated:
At a minimum, virtual asset service providers should be required to be licenced or registered in the jurisdiction where they are created, or … where they have their place of business.
The FATF also recommends that “Virtual asset service providers should be supervised or monitored by a competent authority/ies (not a self-regulatory body)” and “Countries should provide international cooperation in relation to virtual assets and virtual asset service providers.”
The Financial Stability Board, which monitors and makes recommendations about the global financial system, also submitted a report to the G20 which outlines who the crypto regulators are in each member country. Meanwhile, the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision is currently undertaking a quantitative impact study of banks’ direct and indirect exposures to crypto assets.
Furthermore, global standard setter for securities market regulation, the International Organization of Securities Commissions, has developed a support framework to assist with addressing domestic and cross-border issues arising from initial coin offerings (ICOs) and a framework for identifying risks associated with the secondary trading of crypto assets.
The G20 members are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, South Korea, South Africa, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the U.K., the U.S., and the European Union. Below is a summary of how they are currently regulating crypto assets.
For Argentina, the central bank assesses the financial stability risks from crypto markets and monitors financial institutions’ exposures to crypto assets. The Securities and Exchange Commission oversees these assets within the capital markets and the Financial Information Unit deals with crypto-related AML/CFT issues.
For Brazil, the Securities and Exchange Commission is responsible for cryptocurrencies that are securities. The Central Bank of Brazil (BCB) explained:
Our current mandate allows us to assess financial institutions’ exposure to those assets and supervise their operations. Moreover, BCB has the mandate to regulate what type of operations involving crypto-assets, if any, financial institutions can perform.
The U.S. has multiple regulators for crypto assets. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regulates cryptocurrencies that are deemed securities whereas the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) oversees crypto derivatives and commodities.
The Federal Deposit Insurance Commission (FDIC) supervises financial institutions’ exposures to crypto assets. Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (Fincen) has sole federal enforcement authority over money transmitters operating in convertible cryptocurrency.
The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency determines the permissibility and prudential conduct of banks related to crypto assets. The Office of Financial Research monitors these assets and their markets to identify any financial stability risks.
Canada also has many regulators for crypto assets. Among them is the Bank of Canada which ensures that cryptocurrencies do not pose systemic financial stability risks to the country’s economy. The Office of the Superintendent Financial Institutions ensures financial institutions’ levels of exposure to crypto assets are within acceptable risk appetite.
The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada is responsible for protecting consumers of financial services and products involving crypto assets. The Canada Revenue Agency deals with crypto-related taxes. Furthermore, the Ontario Securities Commission, the Autorité des Marchés Financiers, the Alberta Securities Commission, and the British Columbia Securities Commission regulate crypto assets within their jurisdictions.
For Mexico, the central bank is responsible for defining the characteristics of crypto assets that financial institutions are permitted to operate with. The bank recently came up with some rules which stirred up the industry.
Last week, news.Bitcoin.com reported on how the European Union and five countries on the continent regulate cryptocurrency. Spain is not a G20 member but has been invited to attend the summit as a guest country.
On Monday, France’s Financial Markets Authority published the details of the new regulatory framework for cryptocurrency which was adopted on April 11 as part of the Pacte bill.
Also last week, news.Bitcoin.com reported on how China, India, South Korea, and Japan are regulating cryptocurrency.
As for Indonesia, Bank Indonesia has banned cryptocurrency as a means of payment but continues to monitor crypto transactions and their potential long-term effects on monetary policy and financial stability. The Ministry of Trade, however, has acknowledged cryptocurrency as a tradable commodity with the Commodity Futures Trading Regulatory Agency (Bappebti) acting as the regulator. The FSB described:
Currently, Bappebti is developing an ecosystem for crypto-assets markets and exchanges with aims to protect crypto-assets consumers.
Furthermore, the Indonesia Financial Services Authority monitors developments and effects of fintech on financial stability while the Ministry of Finance is reviewing the taxation mechanism for crypto asset trading activities.
Western and Central Asia
For Saudi Arabia, the Capital Market Authority, together with the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA), “are planning to conduct a study that aims to conduct assessment of the feasibility to introduce crypto-assets and ICOs in Saudi Arabia,” according to the FSB. The board clarified:
Currently, there is no regulation directly targeting crypto-assets in Saudi Arabia. However, SAMA’s current mandate allows it to assess financial institutions’ exposure to those assets and supervise their operations.
For Turkey, the central bank is responsible for overseeing the country’s payments system while the Financial Crimes Investigation Board is working on the rules related to cryptocurrency and related service providers.
Russia is also working on the regulatory framework for cryptocurrency. In February, President Vladimir Putin instructed the government to adopt federal laws on cryptocurrency by July.
Africa and Oceania
For the Republic of South Africa (RSA), the central bank assesses the regulatory implications of fintech and oversees crypto assets when used for payments. The bank has clarified:
There are currently no specific laws or regulations that govern the use of VCs [virtual currencies] in RSA. It follows, therefore, that currently no compliance requirements exist for local trading of VCs in RSA.
Meanwhile, the country’s Prudential Authority supervises regulated entities’ involvement in crypto assets and the Financial Sector Conduct Authority oversees crypto assets in the financial markets. The Financial Intelligence Centre ensures that they cannot be used for illicit purposes while the Revenue Services collects related taxes.
For Australia, the Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) regulates crypto exchanges which are required to register with it. The Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) monitors crypto and ICO activities that seek investment from Australians. Lastly, the central bank assesses the implications of crypto assets for monetary policy, identifies their risks to financial stability, and establishes related payments system policies if required. The bank published its April Financial Stability Review report last week confirming:
ASIC intends to monitor ICOs closely to ensure compliant behaviour, and to introduce market infrastructure regulation for cryptocurrency exchanges.
What do you think of how the G20 countries currently regulate cryptocurrency? What policies do you think they will come up with at the summit? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock.
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