Saturday, August 12, 2017

Mayweather vs. McGregor

[8/12/17] McGregor says Mayweather will be unconscious in less than four rounds.

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Saturday, August 05, 2017

Bolt defeated in farewell race

LONDON (AP) -- One final time, Usain Bolt peered down the last 50 meters of his lane and saw sprinter upon sprinter running footsteps ahead of him.

One final time, the world-record holder furiously pumped the arms and legs on his gangly 6-foot-5 frame, desperately trying to reel in all those would-be winners as the finish line fast approached.

This time, the afterburners kicked in but not hard enough. Not one, but two overlooked and underappreciated Americans -- Justin Gatlin and Christian Coleman -- held off what was once Bolt's undeniable late charge.

This time, Bolt finished third in the 100-meter dash at world championships. That's right: A bronze-medal finish Saturday night in the going-away party for one of the planet's most entertaining icons and track and field's lone shining star.

"No regrets," Bolt insisted, long after a result that stunned a pumped-up crowd into near silence. "It was always going to end, no matter what happened -- win, lose or draw. It doesn't change anything in my career."

Gatlin, who actually trailed Bolt at the halfway point, heard boos cascade loudly across the stadium when his winning time, 9.92 seconds, popped up on the scoreboard. The 35-year-old, who has served two doping bans and been widely cast as a villain to Bolt's hero, went sprawling to the ground with a huge smile. Later, he bowed down to the man he finally defeated.

"I wanted to pay homage to him," Gatlin said. "This night is still a magical night for track and field and Usain Bolt. I'm just happy to be one of his biggest competitors."

Coleman, a 21-year-old in the first major race of his life, was in shock, too: "To beat someone I looked up to when I was growing up. I was just happy to be on the line with him," he conceded.

Bolt, who finished third in a time of 9.95, accepted with class both the result, and the fact that, at 30, he probably is picking the perfect time to retire.

"I did it for the fans," he said after collecting a bronze to go with his three world golds at 100 meters. "They wanted me to go for one more season. I came out and did the best I could."

*** [8/12/17]

LONDON -- Usain Bolt was ramping into warp speed when suddenly, stunningly, the sprint turned into a somersault.

Fifteen steps into the final homestretch of his final race, something gave in Bolt's left hamstring. The World's Fastest Man skittered to a stop, hopping, skipping, jumping and finally dropping to the ground and tumbling forward before coming to a rest.

While the winning team from Britain crossed the finish line, Bolt was writhing on the track, where he wound up chest down with his face pressed into Lane 5. He was certainly every bit as stunned as any of the 60,000-plus who packed the stadium Saturday or the millions watching one of the world's most entertaining showmen make his final curtain call in the 4x100-meter relay at world championships.

There was no celebration -- no gold, no silver, not even a consolation bronze, which Bolt received a week earlier in his final 100-meter race.

Jamaica closed the night with "DNF" by its name: Did Not Finish. Bolt was helped into a wheelchair but eventually got to his feet and, assisted by his teammates, limped gingerly across the finish line. He gave a few waves to the crowd, then left for the trainer's room and, with that, presumably left track and field forever.

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Thursday, August 03, 2017

Ara Parseghian

Ara Parseghian, a Presbyterian of Armenian descent who might have seemed an unlikely savior of Notre Dame football but became just that, coaching the Fighting Irish out of the wilderness and back to greatness in the 1960s and ’70s, died early Wednesday morning at his home in Granger, Ind. He was 94.

Parseghian ranks with Knute Rockne and Frank Leahy in the pantheon of Notre Dame football coaches. In his 11 seasons (1964 through 1974), his teams won 95 games, lost 17 and tied four, for a .836 winning percentage. His 1966 and 1973 teams were voted national champions.

When Parseghian arrived at Notre Dame, the university’s football program had been in decline for years. The collapse started in 1956, when Notre Dame won only two games and lost eight. Though there were some victories, Notre Dame never won more than five games in a season from 1959 to 1963. Twice it won only two games.

Meanwhile, Parseghian was gaining a reputation. After five highly successful seasons at his alma mater, Miami of Ohio, where he was a protégé of Woody Hayes, he moved to Northwestern for the 1956 season. He barely broke even in his eight years there, but he was credited with doing a lot at an academically rigorous institution with no trace of a football factory image.

By the early 1960s, Notre Dame’s administrators were all too familiar with Parseghian; his Northwestern teams had beaten Notre Dame four years in a row.

At the time, Notre Dame had an interim coach, Hugh Devore, and Parseghian’s relationship with the Northwestern athletic director, Stu Holcomb, had become strained. Parseghian contacted the Rev. Edmund P. Joyce, Notre Dame’s vice president and its chairman of athletics, and soon it was announced that he was headed to Notre Dame.

In the spring of 1964, student servers in Notre Dame’s main dining hall noticed that football players were forsaking gravy and ice cream. The new coach had told them that they were going to be leaner and faster.

“He told us we were good; he’d give each of us a chance to show what we could do in practice,” Jack Snow, who was switched from running back to wide receiver, told The New York Times in 1964. “And he’d be in there with us, doing exercises, snapping the ball from center, showing us how to block and run. He made us believe in ourselves.”

Parseghian had a keen eye for talent that had been misused or overlooked. Besides shifting the sure-handed Snow to receiver in 1964, he converted three big but rather slow running backs (“the elephant backfield,” he later called them) into linemen, where they thrived. Most important, Parseghian decided his starting quarterback would be the senior John Huarte, who had spent far more time on the bench than on the field his sophomore and junior years.

Snow was Huarte’s favorite receiver as the Fighting Irish won nine straight games in 1964, with many of the same players from the squad that had lost seven games the year before. Southern California spoiled a perfect season with a 20-17 victory in Los Angeles, but Huarte, who had not even won a varsity letter until 1964, was awarded the Heisman Trophy. Parseghian was acclaimed coach of the year.

But for all his success, Parseghian was saddled for a time with the reputation of a coach who “couldn’t win the big ones.” That image was reinforced on Nov. 19, 1966, when unbeaten Notre Dame met unbeaten Michigan State at East Lansing in the most eagerly awaited college game in 20 years.

Notre Dame fell behind, 10-0, then rallied to tie the score. But late in the game and in its own end of the field, Notre Dame played conservatively rather than risk a turnover, and the game ended in a 10-10 tie. Although Notre Dame was voted the national champion by the wire services, there were many who thought the game had taken some luster from the team’s image.

Parseghian’s year of total redemption was 1973. The team won all 10 regular-season games, then defeated Alabama in the Sugar Bowl, 24-23. The clincher was a daring pass from the Irish end zone for a first down that enabled Notre Dame to run out the clock and silenced those who said the coach lacked nerve when it really counted.

Parseghian announced in December 1974 that he was retiring, saying that a quarter-century in coaching had left him “physically exhausted and emotionally drained.” Another New Year’s victory over Alabama, this time in the Orange Bowl, enabled him to go out a winner.

Parseghian was only 51 when he left Notre Dame. Initially, there were rumors that he was weighing offers to coach in the N.F.L., but they remained rumors. As for the possibility that he might one day coach college football again, he would say, “After Notre Dame, what is there?”

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Wednesday, August 02, 2017

June Jones headed to Canada

Former University of Hawaii head football coach June Jones has been named the assistant head coach of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League.

“It’ll be fun,” Jones told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser this morning.

Jones said he departs for Canada on Thursday night.

He will remain as the athletic director of development for Saint Louis School, a position he began in December.

Ryan Blangiardi, who was named associate athletic director two weeks ago, will continue to handle the day-to-day operations at Saint Louis.

Jones was UH’s head coach from 1999 through the Warriors’ 2008 Sugar Bowl appearance.

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Sunday, July 30, 2017

UFC 214: Jones defeats Cormier to (re)take title

Jones reclaimed his UFC light heavyweight title by stopping Daniel Cormier in the third round with a vicious head kick and a finish on the ground at UFC 214, completing his rocky journey back to the top after 2 1/2 years of drama with his 14th consecutive victory.

He fended off a stiff challenge from Cormier (19-2), who held the belt for most of the past two years while Jones (23-1) dealt with self-inflicted setbacks outside the cage. His title belt has been stripped twice, and he endured a yearlong suspension for a doping test failure before returning to beat Cormier for the second time.

After 2 1/2 rounds of even, high-level striking, Jones landed a left head kick that caught Cormier leaning in. The champion staggered backward and then around the cage with Jones in pursuit, and Jones finished the fight on the ground with a series of merciless strikes.

Jones’ next opponent for the 205-pound belt could be Swiss sensation Volkan Oezdemir, who kicked off the pay-per-view show with a sensational 22-second knockout of Britain’s Jimi Manuwa.

Earlier, Cris “Cyborg” Justino became a UFC champion for the first time at Honda Center, stopping Tonya Evinger in the third round to win the vacant featherweight belt. Tyron Woodley also defended his welterweight title with a clear decision over Demian Maia, thoroughly frustrating the Brazilian jiu-jitsu master in a fight that drew loud boos from the Honda Center crowd.

Former welterweight champion Robbie Lawler squeaked out a unanimous decision victory over Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone in another compelling matchup on the UFC’s most stacked card of the summer.

After Oezdemir got the Anaheim fans on their feet with a vicious first-round stoppage for his fifth consecutive victory, Lawler (28-11) and Cerrone kept them up with an entertaining three-round striking exhibition between two of the toughest veterans in the sport. Cerrone (32-9) shrugged after the judges favored Lawler in two of the three rounds.

Jones’ victory thrilled a crowd that was deflated after Woodley defended his welterweight belt with a strong technical performance against the 39-year-old Maia, a vaunted jiu-jitsu specialist from Brazil. Maia couldn’t get the fight to the ground thanks to the wrestling acumen of Woodley, who patiently stuffed takedowns and grinded out a victory that bored UFC President Dana White.

Afterward, White said Georges St. Pierre will fight middleweight champion Michael Bisping next instead of Woodley. White claimed that “nobody wants to watch Tyron Woodley fight.”

Jones also called out former UFC heavyweight champ Brock Lesnar for what would almost certainly be the highest-profile fight in MMA history.

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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

NBA 2017

7/25/17 - Portland trades Allen Crabbe to Brooklyn for Andrew Nicholson
7/25/17 - Derrick Rose signs with Cavaliers for one year, $2.1 million (the minimum)
7/21/17 - John Wall to agree to stay with Washington for four years, $170 million
7/21/17 - Kyrie Irving asking to be traded
7/15/17 - New Orleans signs Rajon Rondo for one year
7/11/17 - Kentavious Caldwell-Pope to sign with Lakers for one year, $18 million
7/11/17 - Dewayne Dedmon to sign with Atlanta for two years, $14 million
7/9/17 - Toronto to trade Corey Joseph to Indiana for C.J. Miles
7/9/17 - Toronto to trade DeMarre Carroll to Brooklyn for Justin Hamilton, 2018 first round pick, second round pick
7/8/17 - Wizards match Nets offer sheet to Otto Porter Jr. for four years, $106 million
7/8/17 - Jamal Crawford to sign with Minnesota for two years, $8.9 million
7/8/17 - Hawks won't match Knicks offer to Tim Hardaway Jr. for four years, $71 million
7/8/17 - James Harden signs extension giving him a six year deal for $228 million guaranteed
7/8/17 - Jeff Green to sign with Cleveland for one year, $2.3 million
7/7/17 - Tyreke Evans to sign with Memphis for one year, $3.3 million
7/7/17 - Celtics to trade Avery Bradley and a 2019 second round pick to Pistons for Marcus Morris
7/6/17 - Tim Hardaway Jr. signs four year, $71 million offer sheet with Knicks
7/6/17 - Rudy Gay signs with Spurs for 2 years, $17 million
7/6/17 - Kings sign Vince Carter for $8 million
7/6/17 - Kelly Olynyk to sign with Miami for 4 years, $50+ million
7/6/17 - Dirk Nowitzki to re-sign with Dallas for 2 years, $10 million
7/6/17 - Clippers sign Milos Teodosic for 2 years, $12 million
7/6/17 - Andre Roberson to stay with Oklahoma City for 3 years, $30 million
7/5/17 - Nick Young to sign with Warriors for 1 year, $5.2 million
7/5/17 - Danilo Gallinari headed to Clippers, Clippers to send Jamal Crawford, Diamond Stone, Rockets 2018 first-round pick, and cash to Atlanta, Atlanta to send Paul Millsap and Wizards 2019 second-round pick to Denver
7/4/17 - Gordon Hayward to join Celtics for 4 years, $128 million
7/4/17 - Nets offer Otto Porter max deal of 4 years, $106.5 million
7/4/17 - Miami waives Chris Bosh
7/4/17 - George Hill signs with Kings for 3 years, $57 million
7/4/17 - Kings sign Zach Randolph for 2 years, $24 million
7/3/17 - Darren Collison to sign with Pacers for 2 years, $20 million
7/3/17 - Kevin Durant agrees to accept a measly $53 million for 2 years
7/2/17 - Paul Millsap to sign with Denver for 3 years, $90 million
7/2/17 - Memphis signs Ben McLemore for 2 years, $11 million
7/2/17 - Kyle Lowry to return to Toronto for 3 years, $100 million
7/2/17 - Kyle Korver to remain with Cleveland for 3 years, $22 million
7/2/17 - Taj Gibson leaves Chicago for Minnesota for 2 years, $28 million
7/2/17 - Serge Ibaka to return to Toronto for $3 years, $65 million
7/1/17 - Andre Iguodala to re-sign to Golden State for 3 years, $48 million
7/1/17 - Joe Ingles to re-sign with Utah for 4 years, $52 million (7 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists)
7/1/17 - 76ers to give $23 million for J.J. Redick? / only $11 million for Amir Johnson
7/1/17 - New Orleans to retain Jrue Holiday for 5 years, $126 million (at least)
6/30/17 - Oh yeah? Steph Curry re-signs with Warriors for 5 years, $201 million
6/30/17 - Minnesota signs Jeff Teague (away from Indiana) for 3 years, $57 million
6/30/17 - Minnesota trades Ricky Rubio to Utah for top-14 protected first round pick
6/30/17 - Blake Griffin to re-sign with Clippers for 5 years, $173 million
6/30/17 - Pacers trade Paul George to OKC for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis
6/28/17 - Clippers to trade Chris Paul to Rockets for Patrick Beverly, Lou Williams, Sam Dekker, 2018 first round pick (reactions) / Clippers also get DeAndre Liggins, Darrun Hilliard, Montrezl Harrell, Kyle Wiltjer and $661,000.
6/28/17 - Phil Jackson and Knicks part ways

2017 Free Agent Buzz

6/22/17 - Bulls trade Jimmy Butler and 16th pick (Justin Patton) to Wolves for Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn, and no. 7 pick (Lauri Markannen).

6/22/17 - NBA Draft (grades, transaction tracker)
1. Sixers: Markelle Fultz
2. Lakers: Lonzo Ball
3. Celtics: Jayson Tatum
4. Suns: Josh Jackson
5. Kings: De'Aaron Fox
6. Magic: Jonathan Isaac
7. Wolves: Lauri Markannen [traded to Bulls]
8. Knicks: Frank Ntilikina
9. Mavericks: Dennis Smith
10. Kings: Zach Collins (traded to Portland)
11. Hornets: Malik Monk
12. Pistons: Luke Kennard

6/21/17 - Dwight Howard and 31st pick traded from Atlanta to Charlotte for Miles Plumlee, Marco Belinelli and 41st pick
6/20/17 - Lakers trade D'Angelo Russell and Timofey Mozgov to the Nets for Brook Lopez and 27th pick
6/19/17 - Jerry West joins Clippers
6/19/17 - Celtics trade no. 1 pick in first round to 76ers for no. 3 pick in first round plus first rounder in 2018 or 2019

6/19/17 - consensus mock draft (ranking)
1. Sixers: Fultz (1)
2. Lakers: Ball (2)
3. Celtics: Jackson (3)
4. Suns: Fox (4)
5. Kings: Fox (which means Tatum (5) I assume)
6. Magic: Jonathan Isaac (6)
7. Wolves: Markannen (9)
8. Knicks: Monk (8)
9. Mavericks: Smith (7)
10. Kings: Zach Collins (11)
11. Hornets: Donovan Mitchell (12)
12. Pistons: Luke Kennard (13)
13. Nuggets: Zack Collins (which means Frank Nitikina (10) I assume)
14. Heat: Donovan Mitchell (which means OG Anunoby (14) I assume)

5/17/17 - Mock Draft 1.0
1.  Boston: Markell Fultz, PG, Washington
2.  Los Angeles Lakers: Lonzo Ball, PG, UCLA
3.  Philadelphia: Josh Jackson, SF, Kansas
4.  Phoenix: Jason Tatum, SF, Duke
5.  Sacramento: De'Aaron Fox, PG, Kentucky
6.  Orlando: Dennis Smith, PG, North Carolina State
7.  Minnesota: Malik Monk, SG-PG, Kentucky
8.  New York Knicks: Jonathan Isaac, PF-SF, Florida State
9.  Dallas: Frank Ntilikina, PG, France
10. Sacramento: Lauri Markkanen, PF, Arizona

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Sunday, July 23, 2017

2017 Hawaii Rainbows Warriors football

7/23/17 - A look at the Rainbow Warriors entering training camp
7/22/17 - Khoury Bethley commits to Hawaii
2/19/17 - Warriors to open spring training
2/17/17 - Attendance increased for the first time since 2012
2/10/17 - Legi Suiaunoa promoted to defensive coordinator to replace Kevin Lempa
2/2/17 - Hawaii signs 23, none from Hawaii

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Saturday, July 22, 2017

fans showed up to see Tomey's teams / Rise of the Rainbow Warriors

It’s hard to believe it’s been 40 years since a UCLA assistant started his decade-long tenure at Manoa that changed UH football forever.

The confluence of Tomey’s hiring, a new stadium and football conference membership for the first time — all within the space of a couple of years — spurred unprecedented statewide popularity for the program. Attendance gradually climbed, as did the Rainbows’ talent level, quality of play and overall relevance.

After Tomey’s first year, the ’Bows posted five winning seasons in a row, peaking with the 1981 team that won its first seven games and finished 9-2.

Sometimes fans complained about what they saw as a bland offense in those years. But they showed up anyway, often filling the stadium to see UH’s trademark hard-hitting defense.

The biggest Aloha Stadium crowd in 1976 was for the last game with Larry Price as coach, when 33,737 saw a 68-3 loss to Nebraska.

Every home game drew more than 40,000 in 1987, when UH went 7-5 in Tomey’s last season.

*** [8/8/17]

“Rise of the Rainbow Warriors,” a new book from Watermark Publishing, will be released in early October. Authored by former University of Hawaii head football coach Dick Tomey, the book chronicles and celebrates the Tomey era of Rainbow Warrior football, which lasted from 1977 through 1986.

2017 marks the 40th anniversary of the hiring of Coach Tomey at UH.

Although Tomey’s Hawaii teams never won a conference championship or went to a postseason bowl game, his ten seasons at UH represented a special time in UH football history. The Tomey era brought record home attendance numbers, national television exposure, and the program’s first-ever national ranking.

“Rise of the Rainbow Warriors” examines the challenges and opportunities that the program faced during Tomey’s UH coaching tenure. In riveting detail, Coach Tomey shares behind-the-scenes stories that capture the spirit of his Rainbow Warriors teams: the amazing triumphs, the bitter disappointments and the lessons that were learned. Each chapter covers a different aspect of the Tomey era, including recruiting, the big games and the storied rivalry with BYU.

In addition, the book includes contributions from many of Coach Tomey’s former players and assistant coaches, including Blane Gaison, Falaniko Noga, Jesse Sapolu, Gary Allen, David Toloumu, Dana McLemore, Rich Miano, Joe Onosai, Mark Kafentzis, Nu’u Fa’aola, Walter Murray, Jeff Duva and others. “Rise of the Rainbow Warriors” also features 40 full-color and b/w photos.

The book was co-authored by Lance Tominaga, Web Editor at ESPN 1420.


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Thursday, July 20, 2017

OJ paroled

LOVELOCK, Nev. (AP) — O.J. Simpson was granted parole Thursday after more than eight years in prison for a Las Vegas hotel heist, successfully making his case in a nationally televised hearing that reflected America's enduring fascination with the former football star.

Simpson, 70, could be a free man as early as Oct. 1. By then, he will have served the minimum of his nine-to-33-year armed-robbery sentence for a bungled attempt to snatch sports memorabilia and other mementos he claimed had been stolen from him.

All four parole commissioners who conducted the hearing voted for his release after about a half-hour of deliberations. They cited his lack of a prior conviction, the low risk he might commit another crime, his community support and his release plans, which include moving to Florida.

"Thank you, thank you, thank you," Simpson said quietly as he buried his head on his chest with relief. As he rose from his seat to return to his prison cell, he exhaled deeply.

Then, as he was led down a hall, the former athlete raised his hands over his head in a victory gesture and said, "Oh, God, oh!"

Simpson's sister, Shirley Baker, wept and hugged Simpson's 48-year-old daughter Arnelle, who held a hand over her mouth.

During the more than hour-long hearing, Simpson forcefully insisted — as he has all along — that he was only trying to retrieve items that belonged to him and never meant to hurt anyone. He said he never pointed a gun at anyone nor made any threats during the crime.

"I'm sorry it happened, I'm sorry, Nevada," he told the board. "I thought I was glad to get my stuff back, but it just wasn't worth it. It wasn't worth it, and I'm sorry."

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Saturday, July 01, 2017

Pacquiuao robbed in Australia

Jeff Horn is the new WBO welterweight champion.

The good news is that it was a very entertaining fight on the big stage, which is all too rare for boxing of late.

The bad news is that it was another controversial decision, which is all to common in boxing.

The outcome is that boxing has a new name and draw in Jeff Horn. The Australian Rocky is a world champion and he won’t be teaching school again anytime soon.

round-by-round / ESPN / punch stats

***

Jeff Horn absorbed tremendous punishment throughout the fight. He took so much in the ninth round that the referee nearly stopped the fight in his corner. He was a bloody mess.

But Horn pulled a massive -- and controversial -- upset, as he was awarded a unanimous decision against Manny Pacquiao to win a welterweight world title before an adoring hometown crowd of some 55,000 at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Australia on Saturday night (Sunday morning in Australia).

Shockingly, all three judges scored the fight for Horn (17-0-1, 11 KOs). Judge Waleska Roldan had it 117-111, and judges Chris Flores and Ramon Cerdan both had it 115-113.

ESPN.com scored it 117-111 for Pacquiao. ESPN ringside analyst Teddy Atlas also had it for Pacquiao, 116-111.

Pacquiao (59-7-2, 38 KOs) has been here before, losing a decision and a welterweight title to Timothy Bradley Jr. by split decision in 2012 in one of the most controversial decisions in boxing history. Like he was after that loss, which he avenged twice, Pacquiao was gracious.

"That's the decision of the judges," he said. "I respect that."

*** [7/10/17]

WBO review shows Pacquiao lost 5 rounds to 7.  So much for CompuBox.

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Saturday, June 17, 2017

2017 High School Football

7/8/17 - OIA compromise / Iolani in Division II? / a Pyrrhic victory for the OIA (Reardon)
6/18/17 - OIA counter-proposal
6/14/17 - OIA, Dave Reardon has a solution
6/9/17 - OIA won't participate in open division
6/9/17 - Three-tiered tournament passed 63-27 with all 27 OIA ADs voting against it
6/8/17 - Why not OIA-ILH for the whole season?

2/10/17 - Vavae Tata won't return as Kahuku head coach

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Sunday, June 04, 2017

Holloway defeats Aldo to be undisputed featherweight champ

Six months after winning an interim 145-pound title, the 25-year-old Waianae native unified the UFC featherweight championship with a third-round TKO of Jose Aldo in the main event of UFC 212 on Saturday night in Rio de Janeiro.

Holloway (18-3, 14-3 UFC) withstood the best from Aldo (26-3, 8-2) for two rounds before turning it up in the third and dismantling the longtime division kingpin, who lost for just the second time in 11 years. Referee John McCarthy stopped the fight at four minutes, 13 seconds to give Holloway his 11th straight win, tying Royce Gracie for the fourth-longest streak in UFC history.

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Monday, May 29, 2017

Homer at the Bat

On Feb. 20, 1992, The Simpsons aired "Homer at the Bat," the heartwarming tale of the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant softball team's improbable run to a championship -- with a little help from Ken Griffey Jr., Don Mattingly, Wade Boggs, Roger Clemens and more big league ringers.

It had it all: hypnotists, extensive heckling of Darryl Strawberry, even an elaborate parody of Terry Cashman's "Talkin' Baseball" ... sung by Terry Cashman:

Almost immediately, the episode became a cultural icon. It was the first time any show had ever beaten "The Cosby Show" in its Thursday night time slot, and it's even helped save a life or two. And on Saturday morning, just over 25 years after it first aired, "Homer at the Bat" and Homer himself got the recognition they deserve: enshrinement in the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

The big day began with an airing of the famed "Homer at the Bat" episode in its entirety, as the occasion definitely called for such an opportunity.

The induction ceremonies began on the steps outside the Hall, where a suspiciously gigantic Homer Simpson got his very own plaque:

Longtime Simpsons showrunner and writer Al Jean introduced Homer's prerecorded acceptance speech, which began with the following:

"It is with great humility that I enter the Hall of Fame. And it's about time! I'm fatter than Babe Ruth, balder than Ty Cobb and have one more finger than Mordecai "Three Finger" Brown."

The Mayor of Cooperstown, Jeff Katz, made an appearance as well, declaring May 27, 2017, "Homer J. Simpson Day" -- and did so wearing a sash that read, "MAYOR," a wonderful nod to Springfield Mayor Quimby.

Some old friends stopped by to wish Homer well -- and Ozzie Smith even managed to find his way out of the Springfield Mystery Spot.

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Friday, May 19, 2017

All-NBA 2016-2017

Houston Rockets guard James Harden was unanimously voted to the 2016-17 All-NBA First Team, and Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James matched an NBA record with his 11th First Team selection, the NBA announced today.

Harden (500 points) was the only player named to the First Team on all 100 ballots, earning First Team honors for the third time in the last four seasons.  James (498 points) received 99 First Team votes, joining Kobe Bryant and Karl Malone as the only players in league history to make the All-NBA First Team 11 times.

The All-NBA First Team also features three players who were each selected to the First Team for the second time: Oklahoma City guard Russell Westbrook, who joined James in totaling 99 First Team votes and 498 points, San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard (96 First Team votes, 490 points) and New Orleans Pelicans center Anthony Davis (45 First Team votes, 343 points).  

The All-NBA Second Team includes three players making their All-NBA debuts: Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert and Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas.  They are joined by two Golden State Warriors, guard Stephen Curry (fourth All-NBA selection) and forward Kevin Durant (seventh All-NBA selection).

The All-NBA Third Team consists of forwards Jimmy Butler of the Chicago Bulls and Draymond Green of the Warriors, guards DeMar DeRozan of the Toronto Raptors and John Wall of the Washington Wizards and center DeAndre Jordan of the LA Clippers.  Butler, DeRozan and Wall are first-time All-NBA selections.  Green was named All-NBA for the second time, while Jordan earned his third All-NBA honor.

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Sunday, April 30, 2017

Don Robbs remembers

Don Robbs tells stories about Les Murakami, Les Keiter, Rolly Wray, O.J. Simpson.

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Saturday, April 29, 2017

ESPN releases 100

ESPN is laying off about 100 employees, including former athletes-turned-broadcasters Trent Dilfer, Len Elmore and Danny Kanell, in a purge designed to focus the sports network on a more digital future.

The cuts will trim ESPN’s stable of on-air talent and writers by about 10 percent.

The 37-year-old network has been squeezed by rising fees to broadcast live events at the same time hordes of cord-cutting TV viewers have been canceling their ESPN subscriptions. ESPN has lost about 10 million subscribers during the past six years, based on estimates by Nielsen Media Research.

The downturn prompted an even bigger round of layoffs affecting about 300 workers in 2015, but on-air talent was mostly spared from those cuts.

ESPN chief John Skipper said today the company wants to provide distinctive content all the time on multiple screens, with more personality-oriented “SportsCenter” broadcasts, and is keeping people best suited to the new strategy.

ESPN isn’t saying who has been fired. Many are releasing the news on social media, including Dilfer, NFL reporter Ed Werder, baseball reporter Jayson Stark and college basketball reporter Dana O’Neil.

Former morning host Jay Crawford, football columnist Jane McManus, ESPNU host Brendan Fitzgerald, hockey reporter Pierre LeBrun, soccer reporter Mike Goodman, baseball analyst Jim Bowden and baseball reporter Mark Saxon were among the others to announce their departures.

“Our goal continues to be to maximize our unparalleled scale in every medium with storytelling that stands out and makes a difference,” Skipper said in a memo to employees. “We are well-equipped to thrive going forward by embracing those themes.”

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Thursday, April 06, 2017

Aloha Stadium

Entering its 43rd year, Aloha Stadium has, “… served its useful life and is now a liability to fan experiences, a potential danger to public health and safety and a financial burden for maintenance and operations,” a consultant’s report warns.

The report notes “… inspections have identified pieces of the building that have actually fallen into public areas of the facility (fortunately the stadium was vacant at the time) bringing to reality the venue’s immediate and long-term risks to fans, the Stadium Authority and the State of Hawaii.”

The 180-page “Aloha Stadium Conceptual Redevelopment Report” and an accompanying 312-page structural review, which were accepted today by the Aloha Stadium Authority, were cited by a consultant who is recommending the building of a new stadium adjacent to the rusting Halawa facility as part of a redevelopment master plan.

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Sunday, April 02, 2017

Dave Reardon's biggest upset

Listening to the car radio on the way home late Friday (or was it early Saturday?), I heard sports talk radio guys talking about Mississippi State’s win over Connecticut possibly being the greatest sports upset of all-time.

What? They had to be joking, right? If they were just trolling for callers, it worked. Their lines lit up with plenty of dissenting opinions.

The Bulldogs’ 66-64 halting of UConn’s 111-game winning streak in the national semifinals is certainly huge. But all sports? All-time?

Not even close.

I do see it, though, as very significant and perhaps groundbreaking. In women’s basketball the best players and the best programs have been so much better than the have-less-talent competitors and programs. Big upsets are less common than in other sports and the men’s game.

So, when UConn goes down like that, it gives at least some hope that something a little closer to competitive balance can develop. And that would make women’s basketball more interesting to many fans.

After listening to the radio a bit longer, I realized where the radio dudes were coming from. I don’t mean philosophically, I mean geographically. Their broadcast was from Bristol, Conn., less than 50 miles from the UConn campus in Storrs. ESPN has always seemed more excited about UConn than most of the rest of the country.

For the same reason, some of us in Hawaii are a little biased toward Chaminade over Virginia as the gold standard for sports upsets.

Richard Haenisch has even more of an excuse, since he played for the Silverswords in their 77-72 win over the No. 1-ranked Cavaliers, who featured two-time NCAA Division I player of the year Ralph Sampson.

“Considering the 111-game winning streak and the fact UConn beat them by 60 last year and that it’s the Final Four, that makes (Mississippi State’s win) spectacular. But … one Division I school beating another should NEVER be considered as big an upset as an NAIA school with a tiny budget for athletics beating a No. 1 rated NCAA Division I team,” Haenisch said in a text. “EVER!”

That’s why one caller put Appalachian State’s football win at Michigan in 2007 as his pick (and no, he’s not an Ohio State or Michigan State guy).

Here’s what one guy with no dog in the fight thinks about the ’Swords:

“I tweeted right away (after the UConn loss) the biggest upset in all of sports is Chaminade over Virginia and it will never be topped,” said Scott Strasemeier, who is senior associate athletic director in charge of sports information at Navy.

Like we talked about with greatest players of all-time a few weeks ago, this is all tricky, subjective stuff that you can measure in so many different ways.

For example, in 1974, Notre Dame beat UCLA 71-70, in men’s basketball, ending an 88-game winning streak for the Bruins. We never hear that game mentioned as an all-time upset, do we?

Sometimes we’re prisoners of the moment, sometimes we’re victims of foggy memories that remember a smaller world when we knew little and cared even less about the world beyond our favorite team’s stadium.

The largeness of the stage can factor in. So can the impact on the sport … or, like when the United States Olympic team beat the Russians in hockey, an unexpected victory can affect an entire nation.

With all of that in mind and sometimes ignored, here’s one person’s list of biggest sports upsets of all-time. I know yours will be different.

Honorable mentions: Milan (Ind.) High School (enrollment: 161) beats big-school Muncie in Indiana state basketball championship (1954); Giants beat undefeated Patriots in Super Bowl (2008); Miracle Mets take down Orioles in World Series (1969); NC State knocks off Houston in NCAA men’s basketball championship (1983); Boise State beats Oklahoma in Fiesta Bowl (2007); Waimea over perennial power Kailua in state softball championship (1990).

10. Holly Holm crushes previously unbeaten Ronda Rousey in MMA fight (2016)

9. Mississippi State over UConn in women’s basketball (2017)

8. Red Sox win four after losing three to beat Yankees in ALCS, go on to capture their first World Series in 76 years (2004)

7. Jets 16, Colts 7, Super Bowl III, the Joe Namath “guarantee” game helped legitimize the AFL and form the current NFL (1969)

6. Buster Douglas, a 42-1 underdog, knocks out undefeated, undisputed heavyweight boxing champ Mike Tyson (1990)

5. Villanova over Patrick Ewing and Georgetown in NCAA hoops championship (1985)

4. Chaminade over Virginia (1982)

3. The Miracle on Ice (1980)

2. Bad News Bears over Yankees. Yeah, it’s a fictional movie. But (see No. 1) many of us can relate (1976)

1. Park Forest South Dodgers, the real-life Bad News Bears, beat the Reds, the real-life Yankees, in one of many real-life versions of the movie. Before the season even started we lost our only experienced player when he found a bullet, pounded it with a hammer and nearly lost an eye. But we somehow beat the Reds in the championship game. Remember, sports upsets are subjective (1972)

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Friday, March 03, 2017

Rainbow Warrior basketball penalties reduced

The Hawaii basketball team has been cleared by the NCAA to play in the postseason, the collegiate governing body announced this morning.

UH had waited nervously as the Big West tournament crept closer — but now the Rainbow Warriors (14-14, 8-7 BWC) will be playing in Anaheim, Calif., next week.

In its release, the NCAA stated:

“The University of Hawaii, Manoa, will not have to serve a men’s basketball postseason ban, according to a reconsidered decision issued by the Division I Committee on Infractions. The university’s probationary period was also reduced from three years to two, and the men’s basketball scholarship penalty was changed from two scholarship reductions to one over each of the two years.”

Per a UH spokesperson, the basketball team will have its full allotment of 13 scholarships restored for 2017-18 because of the scholarships it’s withheld between this season and last season.

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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

NBA 2016-2017 transactions

2/23/17 - Chicago trades Taj Gibson, Doug McDermott to Oklahoma City for Cameron Payne, Joffrey Lauvergne, and Anthony Morrow
2/23/17 - P.J. Tucker traded from Phoenix to Toronto for Jared Sullinger and two second-round pickks
2/23/17 - Nerlens Noel to be traded from Philadelphia to Dallas for Andrew Bogut, Justin Anderson, protected 2017 first-round pick
2/22/17 - Ilyasova traded from Philadelphia to Atlanta for Splitter and a second-round pick
2/22/17 - Bojan Bogdanovic and Chris McCoullough traded from Brooklyn to Washington for Marcus Thornton, Andrew Nicholson, and protected first-round pick
2/21/17 - Lou Williams traded from Lakers to Houston for Corey Brewer and first round pick
2/2/1/17 - Jeannie Buss ousts Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak from front office, putting Magic Johnson in charge of basketball operations
2/19/17 - DeMarcus Cousins and Omri Caspi traded from Sacramento to New Orleans for Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway, 2017 first round pick (top three protected), 2017 second round pick.
2/14/17 - Serge Ibaka traded from Orlando to Toronto for Terrence Ross and 2017 first round pick
2/12/17 - Mason Plumlee and 2018 second-round traded from Portland to Denver for Jusuf Nurkic and 2017 first round pick
2/2/17 - Bucks trade Miles Plumlee to Hornets for Roy Hibbert and Spencer Hawes
1/5/17 - Kyle Korver traded to Cleveland from Atlanta for Mike Dunleavy, Mo Williams, first-round pick
11/1/16 - Jerami Grant traded from Philadelphia to Oklahoma City for Ersan Ilyasova and a protected 2020 first-round pick
11/1/16 - Ray Allen retires
9/23/16 - Kevin Garnett retires after 21 seasons
9/23/16 - Chris Bosh fails physical, future unclear
8/17/16 - Yi Jianlian to sign with Lakers for 1 year, $8 million
8/12/16 - LeBron re-signs with Cleveland for three years, $100 million
8/3/16 - Russell Westbrook agrees to three-year $86 million renegotiation
8/3/16 - Jimmer to reportedly play in China for Yao Ming's team
8/2/16 - David Lee signs with Spurs
7/26/16 - Amare Stoudemire retires / will play in Israel
7/26/16 - CJ McCollum signs max extension, four years, $106 million
7/11/16 - Tim Duncan retires after 19 seasons
7/11/16 - Draymond Green arrested for assault
7/11/16 - Portland matches Nets offer sheet for Allen Crabbe
7/11/16 - Heat match offer sheet for Tyler Johnson, re-sign Haslem, sign Wayne Ellington, sign James Johnson, acquire Luke Babbitt from New Orleans
7/10/16 - Meyers Leonard signs four-year, $41 million extension with Portfland
7/9/16 - James Harden agrees to $118 million, 4 year renegotiation
7/9/16 - Warriors sign David West for veteran's minimum
7/8/16 - Derrick Williams signs with Miami for 1 year, $5 million
7/8/16 - Marreese Speights agrees to join Clippers
7/7/16 - Nets offer Allen Crabbe $75 million for four years
7/7/16 - Festus Ezeli headed to Portland for two years, $15 million
7/6/16 - Nets offer Tyler Johnson $50 million for four years (matched by Miami 7/11)
7/6/16 - Dwyane Wade leaving Miami for Chicago for two years, $47.5 million, Bulls trade Jose Calderon to Lakers and Mike Dunleavy to Cleveland
7/6/16 - Barbosa to return to Phoenix for two years, $8 million
7/6/16 - Nene heads to Houston for one year, $2.9 million
7/5/16 - San Antonio trades Boris Diaw to Utah for rights to Olivier Hanlan (i.e. salary cap space)
7/5/16 - Dirk Nowitzki to re-sign with Dallas for two years, $40 million
7/5/16 - Gerald Henderson head to Philiadelphia for two years, $18 million
7/5/16 - Ramon Sessions signs with Charlotte for two years, $12.3 million
7/4/16 - Roy Hibbert signs with Charlotte for one year, $5 million
7/4/16 - Brandon Jennings to play for Knicks for one year, $5 million
7/4/16 - Andew Bogut traded from Golden State to Dallas
7/4/16 - Pau Gasol signs with San Antonio for two years, $30 million
7/4/16 - which means Harrison Barnes will be headed to Dallas
7/4/16 - Warriors are now heavy favorites to win
7/6/16 - Charles Barkley comments on Durant's move
7/4/16 - Tarik Black returns to Lakers for two years, $12.85 million
7/3/16 - Trey Burke traded from Utah to Washington for 2021 second round pick
7/3/16  - Dallas bringing back Deron Williams for one year, $10 million and Dwight Powell for four years, $37 million
7/3/16 - Cole Aldridge will go to Minnesota for 3 years, $22 million
7/3/16 - Rondo going to Chicago for two years, $30 million
7/3/16 - Garrett Temple going to Sacramento for three years, $24 million
7/3/16 - Nets to sign Tyler Johnson to four-year, $50 million offer sheet
7/3/16 - Ginobili to return to Spurs for 15th season
7/2/16 - Wesley Johnson to return to Clippers for three years, $18 million
7/2/16 - Eric Gordon to join Rockets for four years, $53 million
7/2/16 - Ian Mahinmi signs with Wizards for four years, $64 million (Mozgov money)
7/2/16 - Austin Rivers to re-sign with Clippers for three years, $35 million
7/2/16 - Dallas to make max offer to Harrison Barnes
7/2/16 - Courtney Lee agrees to join Knicks for four years, $50 million
7/2/16 - Celtics signs Al Hoford to max deal, four years, $113 million
7/2/16 - Ryan Anderson headed to Houston for four years, $80 million
7/2/16 - Arron Affalo headed to Sacrament for two years, $25 million
7/2/16 - Bismack Biyombo to leave Toronto for Orlando for four years, $70 million
7/2/16 - Marvin Williams to return to Charlotte for four years, $54.5 million
7/2/16 - Jon Leuer heads to Detroit for four years, $42 million
7/2/16 - Luol Deng agrees to join Lakers for four years, $72 million
7/2/16 - Joe Johnson signs with Utah for two years, $22 million
7/2/16 - Kent Bazemore to return to Hawks for four years, $70 million
7/1/16 - Jared Dudley returning to Phoenix for three years, $30 million
7/1/16 - Jeff Green to join Orlando for 1 year, $15 million
7/1/16 - Mike Conley Jr. re-signs with Memphis for 5 years and a record $153 million
7/1/16 - Dwight Howard signs with Atlanta for three years, $70.5 million
            [more from the 7/1/16 feed]
7/1/16 - Solomon Hill to New Orlenas for four years, $48 million
7/1/16 - Matthew Dellavdeova agrees to Milwaukee offer sheet for four years, $38.4 million
7/1/16 - Evan Fournier to stay with Orlando for five years, $85 million
7/1/16 - Mirza Telotovic agree with Bucks for three years, $30 million
7/1/16 - Jerryd Bayless agrees to go to Philadelphia for three years, $27 million
7/1/16 - DJ Augustin to sign with Orlando for four years, $29 million
7/1/16 - OJ Mayo banned by NBA for at least two years
7/1/16 - Chandler Parsons signs max deal with Memphis for four years, $94 million
7/1/16 - Evan Turner headed to Portland for four years, $70 million
7/1/16 - Al Jefferson signs with Indiana for three years, $30 million
7/1/16 - Detroit signs Ish Smith for three years, $18 million
7/1/16 - Andre Drummond agrees to stay with Detroit for five year max of $130 million
7/1/16 - Jeremy Lin heads to Brooklyn for three years, $36 million
7/1/16 - Hassan Whiteside to stay with Heat for max deal of four years, 98.6 milllion
7/1/16 - Nicolas Batum to re-sign with Charlotte for five years, $120 million
7/1/16 - Bradley Beal agrees to stay with Wizards for five years, $128 million
7/1/16 - DeMar DeRozan to stay with Raptors for five years, $139 million
7/1/16 - Lakers resign Jordan Clarkson for four years, $50 million
7/1/16 - Joakim Noah and Knicks nearing agreement on deal for four years $72 million
7/1/16 - Lakers to pay Timofey Mozgov $64 million for four years

6/30/16 - Nets release Jarrett Jack
6/23/16 - Brooklyn trades Thaddeus Young to Indiana for first round pick (no. 20)
6/22/16 - Hawks send Jeff Teague to Pacers who send George Hill to Utah who send first round pick (no. 12) to Atlanta
6/22/16 - Knicks acquire Derrick Rose, Justin Holiday, 2017 second-round pick from Bulls for Robin Lopez, Jose Calderon, Jerian Grant
6/3/16 - Knicks hire Jeff Hornacek as head coach
5/30/16 - Memphis hires David Fizdale as head coach
5/28/16 - Houston to hire Mike D'Antoni as head coach
5/27/16 - the smartest coaching move of the off-season
5/19/16 - Orlando to hire Frank Vogel as head coach
5/16/16 - Pacers name Nate McMillan as head coach
5/12/16 - Scott Skiles resigns as Orlando coach
5/10/16 - Sacramento hires Joerger (to replace the fired George Karl)
5/7/16 - Memphis fires Dave Joerger
5/5/16 - Pacers part ways with Frank Vogel
4/29/16 - Luke Walton agrees to become new head coach of the Lakers
4/25/16 - Byron Scott won't return as Lakers coach
4/21/16 - Tom Thibodeaux to become coach and president of operations for Timberwolves
4/21/16 - Wizards hire Scott Brooks as head coach to replace Randy Wittman
4/17/16 - Kenny Atkinson named Brooklyn head coach

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Monday, February 20, 2017

Ivan Koloff

Ivan Koloff, knowing among wrestling fans as “The Russian Bear,” has died. He was 74.

Koloff had been battling liver cancer and was in need of “urgent medical care,” according to a Go Fund Me page set up by his daughter, Rachel Marley, on Feb. 2.

After news of his death surfaced, condolences were spread on social media. Hulk Hogan said he felt “helpless” — with Koloff’s death coming after a string of losses for the wrestling community including George “The Animal” Steele, who died Friday.

He was born Oreal Perras in Montreal, Canada, in 1942 — and found a passion for wrestling early on, leaving high school at 18 to devote himself full-time to the sport. He first debuted as a character name Red McNulty, according to Brian Solomon’s book WWE Legends, and built up a strong following wrestling in Toronto.

Perras debuted “The Russian Bear” Ivan Koloff in 1967 during an International Wresting Association match, winning the Heavyweight Championship the final year. He joined the WWWF in 1969, under the guidance of “Captain “Lou Albano.

He would go on to win the WWWF World Heavyweight Championship in 1971, defeating defending champ Bruno Sammartino by pinfall in a legendary match at Madison Square Garden. The Italian hero had previously had a seven-and-a-half year run with the belt.

In 2014 his struggle with drugs and alcohol, as well as his life as a wrestler, were shared in the book Life in the Trenches, which included testimonies from the likes of “Rowdy” Roddy Pipper, Diamond Dallas Page, Dan Severn, George “The Animal” Steele, the “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase, Rick Martel and Jim Abbott.


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Anthony Davis breaks Wilt's record

NEW ORLEANS -- Pelicans star Anthony Davis openly proclaimed ahead of Sunday's All-Star Game that he was going after the MVP award, and he didn't make his master plan on how to do so much of a secret.

"Coach [Alvin] Gentry already told me every time I catch it to put it up," said Davis upon being selected to his fourth straight spot on the Western Conference team.

The Western Conference All-Stars seemed to have no problems feeding Davis on his home floor at the Smoothie King Center.

Davis took an All-Star record 39 shots and scored 52 points to lead the West over the East at the 66th All-Star Game, 192-182 -- the highest-scoring game in league history.

The 23-year-old's point total smashed the previous record of 42, set by Wilt Chamberlain in 1962.

"I stressed that, I think more than enough, to the guys in the locker room before the game that I wanted to get the MVP for this crowd, for the city, and I ended up doing it," Davis said. "Them guys did a great job of just finding me, giving me the basketball. They wanted me to score 50. Every time, Kawhi [Leonard] was like, 'Six more points.' Or James [Harden] was like, 'I'm going to pass you the ball.'"

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Sunday, February 19, 2017

Kahuku defeats Punahou for boy's basketball title

Kahuku finally has its first boys basketball state championship.

In one of the most fast-paced state finals in recent memory, top-seeded Kahuku got 23 points from point guard Jessiya Villa and 20 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks from Samuta Avea to outlast second-seeded Punahou 70-55 in the Division I final of the Snapple/HHSAA Boys Basketball State Championships on Saturday at Stan Sheriff Center.

A crowd of 3,565 sounded double its size, and most of the volume came from Kahuku fans.

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Sunday, February 12, 2017

Hawaii Swish

[2/11/17] he Hawaii Swish’s first foray into the realm of professional basketball was a success.

Team owner Geremy Robinson scored 24 points and a youthful crowd of around 600 was on hand in the Blaisdell Arena for a 99-84 victory over the Yuba City Goldminers in the Swish debut in the American Basketball Association on Friday night.

The Swish overcame a 13-point first-half deficit to win going away.

“That was wonderful. This was a really big win,” said Robinson, a former University of Hawaii guard. “I’m so proud of my team. They stepped up. Imagine when they get some real experience — these guys are going to be great.”

The Swish, sporting Lakers-esque gold jerseys, are comprised of a mix of former UH and other college players. Derrick Braziel scored 18 points, Mark Veazey added 15 and Leon Ballard 14 in the victory.

“The crowd was excellent. It was more than I thought it would be,” coach Artie Wilson said. “I think we got excited and they played the music and they got energy in this building. My team really thrived from that energy.”

*** [2/24/17]

But now what we have is the Hawaii Swish, and now maybe — just maybe — this time it’s different.

Why?

Because Geremy Robinson is no carpetbagger.

No one is coming and going — they’re already here. Hawaii is Robinson’s home, as it is for coach Artie Wilson and all of the Swish players.

You already know a lot of the names: Miah Ostrowski, Pi’i Minns, JC Carter.

This is no fly-by-night operation. Actually, the Swish aren’t flying anywhere at all. No road games, not until next year.

Robinson, 38, doesn’t only own the Swish. After one game, he is its leading scorer. A crowd of somewhere between 600 and 1,200, depending on who you talk to, saw him score 24 points as the Swish beat the Yuba City Goldminers 99-84 at the Blaisdell Arena on Feb. 10.

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Monday, February 06, 2017

Super Bowl LI

They looked old and outmanned. Their star quarterback was frazzled, their stingy defense was a sieve.

So what? Tom Brady and the New England Patriots shrugged and did what they always seem to do: Win the Super Bowl.

Brady led one of the greatest comebacks in sports history highlighted by a Julian Edelman catch that was almost beyond belief. The Patriots pulled themselves out of a 25-point hole against the Atlanta Falcons to a 34-28 win for New England’s fifth NFL championship. Today was the first Super Bowl decided in overtime.

“There were a lot of plays that coach talks about, you never know which one is going to be the Super Bowl winner,” said Brady, who earned a record fourth MVP award and a fifth Super Bowl ring, the most for a quarterback. “There were probably 30 of those plays tonight and (if) any one of those were different, the outcome could have been different.”

But down 28-3 in the third quarter, Tom?

“It’s hard to imagine us winning,” the 39-year-old Brady said. “It took a lot of great plays and that’s why you play to the end.”

The Patriots scored 19 points in the final quarter, including a pair of 2-point conversions, then marched relentlessly to James White’s 2-yard touchdown run in overtime after winning the coin toss. White scored three touchdowns and a 2-pointer.

“We knew we had a shot the whole game,” White said. “It was an amazing comeback by our team. It’s surreal right now. You couldn’t write this script.”

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Monday, January 30, 2017

Jimo

Jimmer Fredette is a sensation again. He hadn’t expected this to happen, certainly not in Shanghai, where he signed to play for one of the Chinese Basketball Association’s worst teams. But then came the 40-point nights, Shanghai’s unexpected rise from the bottom to the top and another group of fans halfway around the world was chanting his name.

“Jimo. Jimo. Jimo.”

There is no Chinese way to say “Jimmer,” his translator told him. They are using the word that sounds closest.

It means “lonely,” the translator added.

At first, Fredette was disappointed.

“I thought, ‘Lonely? That’s kind of depressing,’ ” he told The Vertical.

But the translator went on to explain that the conversion from Mandarin to English is not perfect, that the fans were not chanting “lonely” but rather something like “loneliness master” or “loneliness god.” They were saying he stood at such a high level, alone at the top, that he had no enemies. He was, in a sense, the very best.

It shouldn’t be a shock that he has become a sensation in Shanghai, averaging a league-leading 37 points per game. His story in America was always larger-than-life. Why wouldn’t it be the same in China? While he is hardly the first NBA player to go there and score lots of points, he is one of the few who has made a difference in his city. He has done more than make baskets. He has helped turn one of the CBA’s worst teams into the best. And many must have wondered if that were possible.

The Shanghai Sharks have not been good for a long time, making the playoffs just three times since winning the league in 2002. Last season, they finished in a three-way tie for 10th in a 20-team league. Financial problems almost drove them out of business in 2009, surviving only when Yao Ming stepped in to run the franchise. That the Sharks are now 25-6 and tied for first with only a handful of games left in the regular season is something of a miracle. A big reason for that turnaround is Fredette.

*** [3/16/17 posted]

Jimmer named MVP in China / what now?

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Friday, January 27, 2017

Riley Wallace, Jim Leahey, Tony Davis in Circle of Honor

Three characters with character have been inducted into the University of Hawaii’s Sports Circle of Honor.

Riley Wallace, the winningest head coach in UH men’s basketball history, sportscaster Jim Leahey, and former basketball standout Tony Davis will be celebrated at an enshrinement ceremony during the Rainbow Warriors’ basketball game on Feb. 25 in the Stan Sheriff Center.

This is the Circle’s 34th class. Each inductee will have a plaque with his image displayed in the SSC.

Wallace was 334-265 in 20 seasons as UH head coach, including three appearances in the NCAA Tournament and six in the National Invitation Tournament.

Wallace is an enigma whose brash coaching style belies his off-the-court kindness. He is known for prolifically tossing jackets and picking up dinner tabs. He coached three All-Americans and three academic All-Americans, but also gave chances to a high school dropout and many with hard-scrabble backgrounds. “Old Yeller” is his description and favorite movie.

Stan Sheriff, the late UH athletic director, was heralded for his behind-the-scene lobbying for an on-campus arena that eventually would bear his name. But it was Wallace who was the frontman, persistently — and loudly — promoting the need for a seating capacity of more than 4,000. The SSC has a seating capacity of 10,300.

Wallace and his wife own a condo in Honolulu and a house in Las Vegas, where he is an executive host for Boyd Gaming properties.

For more than 40 years, Leahey, the second of a family trilogy of sportscasters, has been the narrator of UH telecasts and broadcasts.

Leahey became the television voice for UH sports, working for KGMB and then KFVE and OC Sports. As play-by-play announcer, Leahey eloquently called UH’s greatest, worst and mundane performances, blending anecdotes with vivid descriptions. Sometimes he would step away from the mic, allowing the images and the crowd’s reaction to provide the portrayal. Leahey’s father, Chuck, is enshrined in the Circle of Honor, and his son, Kanoa, is a popular OC Sports play-by-play announcer for UH sports.

Davis enrolled at UH in the late 1950s. He set the program’s single-game scoring record with 45 points against Los Angeles State on Feb. 5, 1959. Davis was the program’s first NBA draft selection, picked by the New York Knicks in the ninth round in 1960. He then played for the Harlem Clowns and Harlem Travelers, had a pro-ball stint in Europe, and worked briefly as an actor before settling in San Francisco. He continues to be involved in basketball, having won 25 gold medals and a bronze in the Senior National Games.

[2/25/17] a look at the three inductees

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Sunday, January 15, 2017

Chargers headed for Los Angeles

The San Diego Chargers are moving to Los Angeles, where they will join the recently relocated Rams in giving the nation’s second-largest media market two NFL teams for the first time in decades.

Team chairman Dean Spanos made the announcement Thursday in a letter posted on the Chargers’ Twitter account.

“San Diego has been our home for 56 years. It will always be part of our identity, and my family and I have nothing but gratitude and appreciation for the support and passion our fans have shared with us over the years. But today, we turn the page and begin an exciting new era as the Los Angeles Chargers,” Spanos said in the letter.

The Chargers’ decision to move comes less than three months after San Diego voters resoundingly rejected a team-sponsored measure asking for $1.15 billion in increased hotel occupancy taxes to help fund a $1.8 billion downtown stadium and convention center.

They’re leaving behind a loyal fan base that cheered for Dan Fouts, Charlie Joiner and Kellen Winslow during the Air Coryell years in the 1970s and early 1980s, and for Junior Seau, Stan Humphries and Natrone Means on the Chargers’ only Super Bowl team in 1994.

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Thursday, January 12, 2017

smaller stadium recommended to replace Aloha Stadium

The Aloha Stadium Authority is recommending that the state invest in a new, slightly smaller stadium on land surrounding the deteriorating 42-year-old Aloha Stadium and seek ancillary development of the site to help fund the project.

Stadium Authority consultants have briefed key legislators in recent weeks on studies that indicate a “state-of-the-art stadium facility can be constructed for an amount roughly comparable, including market escalation, to the department’s current estimate for health and safety repairs, depending on the materials selected for construction, the amenities included in the design and the timing of construction, exclusive in all cases of transportation improvements, remediation and related infrastructure.”

The Stadium Authority is recommending a facility with “30,000-35,000 permanent seats that is expandable to 40,000 for special events,” saying it “would create a more intimate environment significantly improving the fan experience, reduce operating costs and facilitate an efficient and more economical design.”

The Stadium Authority said the building of a rail station on the site affords “a unique opportunity to leverage increased transit options for stadium operations and transit-oriented development.”

The 50,000-seat Aloha Stadium, the state’s largest outdoor arena, opened in 1975 at a cost of $37 million.

The Stadium Authority did not put a price tag on what a new stadium would cost, but some estimates have ranged from $200 million to $300 million, depending upon when it is built, materials involved and amenities.

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Friday, December 30, 2016

Nunes TKO's Rousey

Ronda Rousey is one of the biggest superstars in MMA history and turned into a crossover celebrity over the past few years. She made her reputation with dominant performances inside the cage, finishing opponent after opponent in extremely short order. Then Holly Holm came along. Last November, Holm shattered Rousey's aura of invincibility, her title run and her undefeated record. Rousey entered into seclusion and has largely avoided the public and the media since. Now she returns to recapture her title with questions abound about her mental state following the shocking upset loss. Nunes is a powerful striker and high quality jiu jitsu artist who tends to do better earlier in fights than later. She won the title with a dominant stoppage of Miesha Tate at UFC 200. This is far and away the biggest fight of her career and it's hard to imagine there will ever be another contender.

Round 1. Nunes throws some big punches early and connects well to the jaw of Rousey. She hurt Rousey with punches and has her in big trouble by the cage. Nunes is pummeling Rousey and Herb Dean has to step in. That was a one sided destruction.

Winner: Amanda Nunes, TKO, round 1.

The time of the stoppage came at 48 seconds. Most of that time involved Rousey getting punched in the face. Rousey leaves the Octagon after the defeat without saying anything. This has been such a strange and interesting path for Rousey. She rose to prominence in dominant fashion but clearly struggled greatly with her first MMA defeat just like she did when she lost in the Olympics. There are so many different angles as to why this fight went the way it did but regardless of whether it was about the style matchup, preparation, psychology or something else it was emphatic, violent and short. It seems unlikely Rousey will fight again given the options she has but it will take time to sort out the story of Ronda Rousey in general. Her fall as an athlete, just like her rise, was spectacular.

***

Champion Nunes earns $100,000, Rousey gets $3 million.

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