October 03, 2013


AP Basketball Writer


Knicks coach Mike Woodson said Wednesday that J.R. Smith needs to ''grow up and do the right things'' after the sixth man was suspended five games by the NBA for violating the anti-drug policy.

Woodson said he was disappointed in Smith's actions, but would continue to support him.

''I'm not going to throw him out to the pasture,'' Woodson said. ''My job is to coach him and make sure something like what happened doesn't happen again. That's what we do as coaches, and I expect his teammates to show him love. But at the end of the day he's got to do the right thing by J.R. and his teammates, and me as a coach and this organization and the fans that support him. I mean, that's what it's all about.

''He's got to grow up and do the right things.''

Smith has been in trouble on and off the court during his career but was credited with showing more maturity last season while winning the Sixth Man of the Year award. Then he received a one-game suspension in the playoffs for foolishly throwing an elbow into Jason Terry's face in Game 3 of a first-round series against Boston, before getting hit with the five-game ban last month.

Smith is recovering from knee surgery, and Woodson doesn't know when he will be able to return. Once the guard is healthy, he will miss his first five games. Woodson said he hopes that's a learning experience for Smith.

''You talk about missing the first five games, I'm not happy about it,'' Woodson said. ''But hey, we know what we're facing and we've got to get through it, and we've got to make sure that he understands it's something that can't happen again.''

Smith said Monday that he was disappointed that he let his teammates and coaches down. He was asked Wednesday if he thought he had something to prove after the negative publicity he has received in the last few months.

''I think every day I step into the gym I have something to prove, not to anybody else but to myself,'' he said. ''I feel I can always get better. I have so much room for improvement, and I just want to be the best player I can be. Right now I'm not at the elite level yet.''

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September 26, 2013


City News Service


LOS ANGELES (CNS) — The Los Angeles City Council’s Economic Development Commit­tee Tuesday September 24 backed a resolution urging the National Football League to bring back at least one, and possibly two teams to the region.

The resolution will now go before the full City Council.

Councilman Tom LaBonge, the author of the resolution, said it “puzzles me why, out of 32 teams, one doesn’t want to come here to sunny Southern California.”

While local football enthusiasts have had difficulty getting even one team to call Los Angeles home, LaBonge’s resolution declares an interest in making it a two-team town.

Brian McCarthy, a spokesman for the NFL, said today the league is keeping an eye on Los Angeles.

“We continue to closely monitor all stadium developments in the Los Angeles area,” he said.

LaBonge said his “real hope is the league expands” to 34 teams, so that Los Angeles would actually be getting its own team — or teams —rather than poaching from other cities.

The St. Louis Rams, the Oakland Raiders and the San Diego Chargers are seen as likely candidates to relocate because they may be interested in upgrading their stadium facilities.

All three of those teams used to play in Los Angeles. The Chargers played in Los Angeles during the team’s first season in 1960 as part of the American Football League.

Asked if he would welcome the Raiders back to Los Angeles, LaBonge quipped he would as long as several former Raiders players from the 1980s are “called out of retirement,” including Marcus Allen and Howie Long.

McCarthy did not respond to a question asking if the NFL plans to expand.

LaBonge earlier this month addressed a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell urging an end to an 18-season NFL drought in Los Angeles. In his missive, LaBonge professed his deep love for the sport and said it's time to “call an audible” after years of unfulfilled plans.

“We’ve waited far too long to root for the home team,” LaBonge said of the renewed efforts to show the NFL the city's enthusiasm for the sport.

“Our collective excitement for the new NFL season is dampened by Los Angeles’ lack of a team,” he said.

The Los Angeles area has not had an NFL team since 1994. In 1995, the Los Angeles Raiders returned to Oakland after playing at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum from 1982-1994 and the Los Angeles Rams, who played in Anaheim Stadium, moved to St. Louis.

City leaders last fall signed a deal with entertainment and sports events company AEG to redevelop the Los Angeles Convention Center to include additional exhibition space. The agreement includes using a football stadium project at the site as leverage for bringing in financing for the convention center improvements.

Earlier this year, the announcement by Tim Leiweke, a key AEG negotiator in the deal, that he would be resigning from the company cast doubt on the future of the convention center improvements. By then the latest deadline for securing an NFL team to play at the proposed stadium had also come and gone without any action taken.

The mayoral transition also brought a shift in the city's attitude toward bringing in an NFL team, with new Mayor Eric Garcetti saying that while he would welcome a team, it was not his top priority.

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September 26, 2013

Los Angeles Sparks forward Candace Parker has won the WNBA MVP.

Parker will receive the award Thursday night in Los Angeles before the Sparks play the Phoenix Mercury in the opener of their Western Conference playoff series. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because no official announcement has been made.

Parker edged out Minnesota's Maya Moore and Chicago's Elena Delle Donne in one of the closest ballots in league history, the person told the AP. Parker finished with 234 points, Moore had 218 and Delle Donne 189. It's the closest the top two players have been in the voting since Sheryl Swoopes edged Lauren Jackson by two points in 2005.

Parker and Moore each received 10 first-place votes from the 39-member national media panel.

The 27-year-old Parker averaged 17.9 points, 8.7 rebounds and 3.8 assists in helping the Sparks (24-10) finish second in the Western Conference.

It's the second MVP award for Parker, who won it her rookie year. Parker also won the All-Star game MVP this past July. She was runner-up to Tina Charles last season for the award.

Parker, who is still looking for her first WNBA championship, is the fifth player to earn multiple MVP awards, joining Jackson, Swoopes, Lisa Leslie and Cynthia Cooper.

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September 26, 2013

Associated Press


The larger-than-life figure that teased and tormented the Sacramento Kings for so long is now the biggest name to join the franchise’s new ownership group.

The Kings announced Monday that Shaquille O’Neal has acquired a minority stake in the team under new owner Vivek Ranadive. The Kings will introduce the four-time NBA champion at a news conference Tuesday in Sacramento.

During the height of his career with the Los Angeles Lakers, O’Neal fueled the rivalry with the Kings with his play on the court and his personality off of it.

O’Neal handed Sacramento its biggest blow by rallying the Lakers from a 3-2 deficit to win the 2002 Western Conference finals, which is still a sore spot for Kings fans. The 7-foot-1 center even labeled the franchise the “Sacramento Queens” and accused fan favorite Vlade Divac — whom he referred to as “she” at one point — of flopping.

O’Neal was a 15-time All-Star and the 2000 NBA MVP. He played for the Orlando Magic, Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat, Phoenix Suns and Cleveland Cavaliers before retiring after the 2010-11 season with the Boston Celtics.

O’Neal, now 41, has worked as an analyst for TNT the last two seasons.

O’Neal is the latest high-profile former player to join the Kings this summer after the franchise nearly moved to Seattle. Hall of Famer Chris Mullin was hired as a consultant to Ranadive — who bought the franchise from the Maloof family in May — and Mitch Richmond is part of the ownership group.

The group includes 24 Hour Fitness founder Mark Mastrov, who is friends with O’Neal. The two partnered in the past to build several gyms, especially in South Florida during O’Neal’s time with the Heat.

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September 19, 2013

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Former heavyweight champion Ken Norton, who beat Muhammad Ali and then lost a controversial decision to him at Yankee Stadium, has died.

His son says he passed away Wednesday at a local care facility. He was 70.

Norton had been in poor health for the last several years after suffering a series of strokes, a friend of his said.

Gene Kilroy, who was Ali's former business manager, says he’s sure Norton is “in heaven now with all the great fighters,” and Kilroy would like to hear that conversation.

Norton broke Ali’s jaw in their first fight, beating him by split decision in 1973 in a nontitle fight in San Diego. They fought six months later, and Ali narrowly won a split decision.

They met for a third time on Sept. 28, 1976, at Yankee Stadium, and Ali narrowly won to keep his heavyweight title.



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