Advertisements


Adam Silver s annual NBA address keys on competitive balance

Adam Silver s annual NBA address keys on competitive balance.....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: Sports2 hr. 21 min. ago Related News

UAAP 81 Football: UST demolishes DLSU on opening day

Season 80 runners up University of Santo Tomas wasted no time in getting on the board, as the Growling Tigers demolished De La Salle University, 3-1 on opening day of the UAAP Season 81 Men's Football Tournament, Sunday afternoon at the FEU-FERN Football Field in Diliman, Quezon City.  Armed with 13 rookies, the Green Archers were looking to make a statement early in the season, and early in the match, it looked like they were primed for a big win after one of those new faces, John Rey Lagura, connected on his first UAAP goal to put DLSU ahead, 1-0 in the 14th minute.  The Green Archer advantage didn't last too long, as Conrad Dimacali responded in the 17th minute to help the Growling Tigers pull even  UST moved into the driver's seat heading into the midgame break, thanks to a 36th minute conversion from Juan Villanueva to make it 2-1.  Action picked up in the second half, as De La Salle looked to rally back, but instead it was UST who found the back of the net once again, with rookie Glen Ramos also hitting his first UAAP goal to put the Growling Tigers ahead, 3-1.  DLSU attempted once last push, but yielded no results, as UST coasted to a big opening day victory.  "Every tournament, especially sa UAAP, mas maganda talaga na makakuha ka kaagad ng three points, pero nag-start kami kanina na masiyadong mababa yung laro namin, medyo yung fitness namin, hindi kami makahawak ng bola," explained UST head coach Marjo Allado after the match. "La Salle is very dangerous in transitions, and buti na lang, yung dalawang free kicks namin, na-convert namin kanina."  "So far, it's a good result for the UST Men's Team sa opening game," Allado added.  While it was a big win, Allado isn't completely happy with the result, noting that he felt his boys were a bit off.  "Naka-score kami ng three goals, pero my concern is yung laro namin kanina, this is not how we play eh. Siguro first game, parang naninibago lang yung mga players, especially yung ibang rookies."  UST opens the season with a win and three points. .....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: Sports2 hr. 21 min. ago Related News

UAAP Season 81: Tigresses survive Lady Falcons scare

University of Sto. Tomas flirted with disaster before eking out a 25-21, 25-21, 24-26, 24-26, 15-6, win over Adamson University in the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball tournament Sunday at the MOA Arena. The Tigresses opened a five-point lead in the fifth set after yielding the third and fourth frames that forced the decider to set up the tempo before finishing off the hard-fighting Lady Falcons. “The last three years lagi kaming talo sa first game namin and this is historic for us,” said UST coach Kungfu Reyes of the Tigresses' opening day losing streak under his watch.  Sisi Rondina and Milena Alessandrini delivered the goods while sophomore Eya Laure lived up to the pre-season hype to help the Espana-based squad, which snapped a seven-year opening day losing slump. Laure made her presence felt with 17 points of 13 attacks, three kill blocks and an ace while graduating hitter Rondina poured 17 markers and tallied 17 digs to start her final season with the Tigresses, who rained down 50 attacks and landed 11 aces.    Alessandrini, last year's rookie of year, got 15 points while freshman Kecelyn Galdones had eigt markers for UST. The Tigresses started the fifth set with a 5-0 lead before breaking the set wide open with a 13-4 advantage as Adamson's confidence crumbled.  UST started the game firing on all cylinders to grab a 2-0 match lead but allowed the Lady Falcons to mount a comeback. The Tigresses squandered a 19-16 lead in the third set as Adamson blasted a 5-1 counterattack for a 21-20 advantage.   Adamson moved at set point, 24-21, before Rondina sparked UST's comeback to force a deuce. Eli Soyud took matters on her own hands in the next plays, scoring  the last two points of the Lady Falcons. Adamson controlled the early goings of the fourth frame and built a 15-6 lead. The Tigresses clawed their way back in the game and overtook Adamson, 23-19. UST moved at match point, 24-21, but a couple of attack errors and Joy Dacoron's back-to-back hits gave the Lady Falcons a 25-24 advantage. UST yielded the set after getting whistled with a net touch.          Bernadette Flora paced Adamson with 14 points while Eli Soyud and Chiara Permentilla chipped in with 13 and 12 markers, respectively. Dacoron posted 10 points while rookie setter Nikka Yandoc tallied 34 excellent sets for the Lady Falcons.    --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: Sports2 hr. 21 min. ago Related News

UAAP 81 Football: Four Tamaraws score as FEU drops UE, 4-1

Far Eastern University picked up a massive opening day win as they trounced University of the East, 4-1, Sunday afternoon at the FEU-FERN Football Field in Diliman, Quezon City. Coming off their worst campaign in years, finishing seventh in UAAP Season 80, FEU looked every bit like the program that once won back-to-back titles as they dominated a contender in UE. Early on however, it looked like the Red Warriors were primed to get on the board first after a foul inside the box from FEU resulted in a penalty attempt from for UE. Red Warriors striker Mar Diano flubbed the penalty attempt however, as his shot hit the cross bar and bounced out. Immediately on the other end, it was FEU who drew first blood, with rookie Jermi Darapan scoring in the 29th minute. Three minutes into the second half, former Baby Tamaraws star Chester Gio Pabualan announced his arrival into the men’s tournament with a header to give the Tamaraws a 2-0 advantage. Opening day was a good one for tournament rookies, as the Red Warriors managed to pull one back in the 51st minute courtesy of first year-wingback Champ Marin, who became the fourth rookie to score a goal in the first matchday. The Tamaraws regained momentum as they widened their advantage to 3-1, courtesy of a free kick conversion from Nicky Canonigo in the 60th minute. FEU continued to pull away in the 66th minute, with Alex Rayos blasting one from way outside the box to make it a three-goal advantage for the Tamaraws. "Winning the first game of the season is the most important," said head coach Bobae Park. "Our players, I know they're also a little bit nervous, but they just tried their best, and their spirit is together."  With the win, FEU joins UST at the top of the early leaderboard with a win and three points each. .....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: Sports2 hr. 21 min. ago Related News

Daniel Chatman, National U pound on five-man UP in Got Skills

2019 HARD TO GUARD STANDINGS NU 3-1 TRINITY 3-1 UST 3-1 LYCEUM 3-2 TIP 3-3 UP 2-3 STI BALAGTAS 2-4 UCC 0-4 Daniel Chatman and National U did nothing but take advantage of severely shorthanded UP for an 82-59 win in the 2019 Milcu Sports Basketball presented by Got Skills Hard to Guard Tournament a week ago at the Trinity Gym in Quezon City. Chatman, a high-flying Filipino-American guard, scored 18 points and collected five rebounds, three assists, and two steals while hardworking forward Karl Penano contributed 13 markers and five boards. The contest was close for the first six minutes until Chapman and the Bulldogs outscored the Fighting Maroons, 32-18, up until halftime. National U would not be threatened from there en route to a bounce back win that improves its standing to 3-1. UP had four players in double-digits led by scoring guard Jaggie Gregorio with 20 points. Without substitutes in this game, however, they quickly ran out of gas for their third loss in five games. Meanwhile, UST also barged back into the win column after venting its ire on STI-Balagtas, 74-60. Versatile forward Makoy Marcos topped the scoring column for the now 3-1 Growling Tigers with 13 points. In other results, Trinity University downed UCC, 75-32, before defaulting to TIP six days later. Trinity University now stands at 3-1 while TIP is at 3-3 and UCC is at 0-4......»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: Sports2 hr. 21 min. ago Related News

UAAP: Salamat sa pagdala ah -- Sisi Rondina on rookie Eya Laure

UST Golden Tigresses team captain Sisi Rondina can finally breathe a sigh of relief as she can already count on rookie Eya Laure as one of the members of her supporting cast in UAAP Season 81. Laure had an impressive debut for coach Emilio 'Kung Fu' Reyes' squad, scoring 17 points, including some impressive hits that solidified the hype surrounding her in UST's 25-21, 25-21, 24-26, 24-26, 15-6 win against Adamson at the Mall of Asia Arena Sunday afternoon. "Thank you ah. Patuloy niya lang ang ginagagwa niya. Malaking bagay talaga. Salamat sa pagdala ah," the graduating Rondina jokingly said on Laure's performance.  "Oo, sobra. Ano na eh. Mabilis na silang utusan, ganito, ganyan. Command pa lang sumusunod na. So walang problema. Ako lang talaga," the skipper added when talking about easing her burden as UST's main woman.  Adamson's net defense certainly made Rondina bleed for her game-high 17-point effort, as Coach Air Padda's girls made her a marked hitter, especially in the third and fourth sets, where Adamson was able to force a deciding fifth set.  But unlike last year, where Rondina had a herculean effort as the top scorer of the UAAP with 21.8 points but just resulted to three wins, she can finally take a back seat and rely on some of the young ones like rookies Laure, KC Galdones and sophomore Milena Alessandrini. "Pero ngayon kasi, makikita naman, makikita natin na andyan si Eya, may bagong pumasok. Then skills, kita naman. Yun. Okay naman, okay lang ako sa likod. Ang sarap magdepensa," shared Rondina. Even Reyes was relieved about the new support for his senior. "Alone, si Sisi nagi-iskor ng 30 points pero hindi nananalo. Di ko alam kung ano iniskor niya ngayon. Definitely double-digits. Pero may mga katulong na siya, kailangan maging balanse yung team. Ano lang, tao lang naman na nagkakamali, kailangan ng suporta." __   Follow this writer on Twitter, @philipptionary.   .....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: Sports2 hr. 21 min. ago Related News

Boston s Jayson Tatum wins Skills Challenge at NBA All-Star

Tatum, who was falling behind Young, heaved a hail mary three pointer from half court to seal the win......»»

Source: Philstar PhilstarCategory: Sports10 hr. 8 min. ago Related News

Foton downs UVC in Grand Prix opener

Foton flirted with disaster before eking out a 26-24, 25-20, 15-25, 25-21 victory over United VC in the opening salvo of the 2019 Philippine Superliga Grand Prix Saturday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City. American import Courtney Felinski provided the firepower, towing the two-time champion Tornadoes to a sizzling start. Felinski was on fire as she delivered 19 attacks for a total of 23 points while former Turkish national team member Selime Ilyasoglu chipped in 19 markers and 14 digs for Foton, which is looking to bring back its old glory. Tornadoes coach Aaron Velez said he was surprised with how well they played, especially in the crucial stretch where they were managed to stop Filipino-American spiker Kalei Mau and import Yasmeen Bedart-Ghani from doing damage. “I’m very happy on how the girls played. Also, the imports were able to step up, especially down the stretch,” said the youthful Velez, who is entering his second season with the Tornadoes. Already ahead, 2-0, Foton looked disoriented in the third set, allowing United VC to pull away, 11-4, all the way to extend the match. The Tornadoes were again behind, 4-10, in the fourth set but they countered with a 6-0 spurt, capped off a Ilyasoglu attack, to tie the contest, 10-10. UVC refused to give up and pushed Foton to its limits, 18-18, but Ilyasoglu and Felinski were on fire down the stretch to hand the Tornadoes their first win of the season. “I’m surprised because in training we don’t normally talk, we just train hard, and today the imports were able to jell properly with the team,” said Velez. Bedart-Ghani delivered 23 points and 14 digs while Mau registered 17 markers for UVC, which also committed 30 unforced errors.        .....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: Sports14 hr. 34 min. ago Related News

UAAP 81 Football: UST faces DLSU in opening day matchup

UAAP 81 Football: UST faces DLSU in opening day matchup.....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: Sports14 hr. 34 min. ago Related News

UAAP Season 81: DLSU, Ateneo in early clash of titans

Three-time defending champion De La Salle University takes on archrival Ateneo de Manila University in an early clash of titans on Sunday in the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena. The four-peat-seeking Lady Spikers gets their first acid test at 4:00 p.m. in the duel that will air live on ABS-CBN S+A Channel 23, ABS-CBN S+A HD Channel 166, iWant and via livestream. “Sabi nga nila na sa proverbial statement na ‘go to the ring of fire.’ Sabi nga ni coach (Ramil De Jesus) whoever we play in the first game ready kami,” said Tin Tiamzon, one of the remaining veterans left to lead DLSU. The Lady Spikers won their third grand slam in the past 20 years at the expense of Far Eastern University last year in the final eligibility year of Kim Kianna Dy, former Most Valuable Player Majoy Baron and libero Dawn Macandili. DLSU also lost two more veterans during the offseason after Gyra Barroga and Arianne Layug decided to move up to the semi-pro league. De Jesus will now lean on his remaining grizzled soldiers in Tiamzon, Des Cheng, Aduke Ogunsanya and May Luna. The Taft-based squad will parade transferee Lourdes Clemente and rookie Jolina Dela Cruz. Meanwhile, Ateneo will begin its post-coach Tai Bundit era under new mentor former Blue Eagles tactician Oliver Almadro. “Siyempre may halong pressure, may halong excitement, may accepting the blessing. Pero siyempre di natin matatawaran na La Salle kaagad. Ang masasabi ko lang ay my team is on track sa conditioning and sa program namin,” said Almadro, who was once an assistant coach of De Jesus at DLSU back in 2007. “But of course we’re looking at it na ang first game mo ay bakbakan agad.” Leading the charge of Ateneo are graduating players Bea De Leon and Maddie Madayag, Kat Tolentino, Ponggay Gaston and last year’s Best Setter winner Deanna Wong with promising rookie Vanessa Gandler.     ---      Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles   .....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: Sports14 hr. 34 min. ago Related News

ONE Championship: Gina Iniong decisions Malaysian opponent

Filipina women's atomweight contender Gina "Conviction" Iniong proved to be too much for Malaysian Jihin "Shadowcat" Radzuan as she earned a split-decision victory at ONE: Clash of Legends, Saturday evening at the Impact Arena in Bangkok, Thailand.  Iniong, a six-time national Wushu champion dictated the pace in the striking as she was quicker to the punch, connecting on the more significant strikes.  Radzuan, a Wushu world champion in her own right, also had no answer for Iniong in the mats, as the Filipina simply overpowered her Malaysian opponent at every turn.  Radzuan's final push in the final minutes of the third round proved to a crucial one, as it was enough to nearly sway the decision in her favor.  After fifteen minutes of action, it was Iniong who was declared the victor via split decision and handing Radzuan the first loss of her career.  With the win, Iniong improves to 8-4 in her professional career, and gives Team Lakay a much-needed win for 2018.  More importantly, it possibly puts Iniong back in the ONE Women's Atomweight title picture. .....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: Sports14 hr. 34 min. ago Related News

Jordan s weight reaches farther than court in NC

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com CHARLOTTE -- Unlike Mark Cuban and James Dolan, the host of the 2019 NBA All-Star Game was voted in 14 times to participate and played in 13. Quite different from Micky Arison and Glen Taylor, the team owner whose arena and city will be the center of All-Star 2019 averaged 20.2 points in those 13 All-Star appearances, was named MVP three times and posted the first triple-double in the game’s history (1997). And not at all like Steve Ballmer and Joe Lacob, the guy most often credited with making Charlotte All-Star worthy this weekend ignited the annual Slam Dunk Contest with his takeoff from the foul line in 1988. He also regularly irritated former NBA commissioner David Stern into a series of fines for golfing when he should have been sitting through mandatory Friday media sessions. With a level of celebrity as arguably the game’s greatest player ever, morphed now into an off-radar role as owner of the Charlotte Hornets, Michael Jordan remains as famous, as popular and as successful as any or all the active All-Star participants who’ll cavort at the Spectrum Center in the city’s Uptown business district. Ain’t no other NBA owner who can say that. “You think about all these wealthy, successful owners in our league,” said Hornets president Fred Whitfield, “no one knew who any of them were, really, until they bought their team. Everybody in the world knew who Michael Jordan was before he bought his team.” Jordan’s place in the All-Star galaxy in the coming days is reflective of his unique position among those who oversee the NBA’s 29 other franchises. His impact on the team, on its fans, on their city and on the state in returning to his native North Carolina -- he grew up in coastal Wilmington before attending college in Chapel Hill -- to anchor and lend stability to the Hornets will be on full display, even if he’s hard to spot this weekend. It’s all a reminder, too, of the old movie line from a remarkably blessed character, wondering “What do you do when your real life exceeds your dreams?” Most don’t dare to imagine playing in an All-Star Game, never mind hosting one as the owner of the local team. “No,” Jordan told some Charlotte reporters Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time), coming forward for one of his few appearances of the week. “As a kid growing up here in North Carolina, the first thing [was] playing basketball. And then things evolved from there -- from the University of North Carolina to Chicago. Obviously you know the history from that. “[The] opportunity to represent North Carolina in an All-Star Game from a different seat is truly amazing. It tells the path that I have taken. It gives me great pleasure to give that back to the community. It’s been a long-traveled road.” The celebration of the league’s brightest stars, and the ubiquitous banners and signage devoted to it will make it even harder than usual to visibly spot signs of Jordan’s ownership of the Hornets. For a typical regular season game, you might spy a flag emblazoned with his well-known “Jumpman” logo. Occasionally he’ll watch part of the game, rarely all, from seats at the end of his team’s bench, though he’s as likely to retreat to his suite atop the arena’s lower bowl. An in-game, timeout scoreboard video meant to stoke the crowd includes shots of GM Mitch Kupchak (“Architect of Champions”) and coach James Borrego (“Elite Pedigree”) but ends right about the time you expect some dramatic silhouette of His Airness to appear. It’s as if Jordan is as protective of his brand in running the Hornets as he is in maintaining its exclusivity in the marketplace. Doesn’t matter, though. His fingerprints are all over the franchise, as a basketball team, as a business enterprise and as a member of the community. On court, Jordan trusts his team Jordan’s greatest notoriety as an owner in a basketball setting may have come in December, when he was courtside for a tense game against Detroit. Guard Jeremy Lamb drained a 22-foot jumper with 0.3 seconds left, sending reserves Malik Monk and Bismack Biyombo onto the floor in celebration of what would be a 108-107 home victory. Trouble was, that sliver of time on the clock. Too many men. The Hornets were whistled for a one-shot technical foul and Jordan impulsively smacked Monk lightly, twice, on the back of the head. Any other owner does that, the player’s agent might file a grievance with the players union. Jordan does it and, thanks to his in-the-trenches, in-the-fraternity credibility, it comes across as a goof. “A tap of endearment,” Jordan called it later in a statement. “It was like a big brother and little brother tap. No negative intent. Only love!" Said Monk: “Big, big, big brother. But it was nothing. He was just playing.” The arc of Jordan’s career and his reputation as a stone-cold competitor make it OK if he wants to vent -- or swipe -- when things don’t go the Hornets’ way. Doesn’t matter that Jordan, who will turn 56 on All-Star Sunday, is old enough to be any of his players' dad. He still carries himself like an athlete, and their frame of reference remains, “That’s Mike.” “I’ve seen kids come up through camps,” said Buzz Peterson, Charlotte’s assistant general manager under Kupchak. “You could say Julius Erving, you could say Larry Johnson, Karl Malone, whatever, and the kids’ eyes are like, ‘Who?’ But you say Michael Jordan, they’re gonna know. That’s the separation there.” Peterson is among Jordan’s closest friends -- he beat him out as North Carolina’s prep player of the year in 1981, won an NCAA title with him as a Tar Heels teammate and is described by those who know both as someone who can disagree with the boss while staying comfortably in the inner circle. For Borrego, Charlotte’s first-year coach, interviewing to run Jordan’s team could have been intimidating. “We’re all human beings -- there’s a presence that comes with ‘Michael Jordan’ when he’s around,” Borrego told NBA.com in January. “But it’s healthy. He comes with a competitive spirit that you feel. “Michael was straight with me from Day 1. When I interviewed, he said, ‘I’m going to give you space to do your job. Whatever you need, you come to me. I’ll give you the resources you need.’ He has not tried to interfere one time. I feel his full support. … We’re starting to speak each other’s language, which is pretty healthy for us now.” Jordan keeps the coach apprised of his interactions with players, Borrego said. Other coaches should have such a resource at the ready. Hornets guard and 2019 All-Star starter Kemba Walker probably has benefited most from Jordan’s counsel. They text frequently, a pinch-me arrangement to this day for Walker. “I grew up wearing Jordans, grew up wanting to be like Jordan,” Walker said recently. “So for me to get this opportunity to be on his team means the world to me. He’s the one who believed in me -- I had no idea where I was going to go on draft night and he traded up for me. I’ve always heard the story, he was the one who actually drafted me. So it’s unbelievable. “He’s such a good dude. He understands what it is to be good. His delivery is always good. Only in a positive way, honestly.” Said rookie wing Miles Bridges: “You think there’ll be a lot of pressure having MJ as an owner. I’d seen how he got on his teammates when he played. So I was nervous, thinking if I had a bad game, he’d go at me like, ‘What’re you doing?’ But after meeting him and bonding with him, I feel like he’s the coolest owner out there. I don’t feel any pressure, I feel like he wants the best for us.” Big man Frank Kaminsky typically sits at the end of the bench, which puts him cheek to cheek with Jordan when he’s courtside. “He’s talking about what he’s seeing out on the court. Talking to the refs,” Kaminsky said. “Things other players don’t necessarily see. He still thinks the game. “You see things on the court that he sees. One game, the roll, pocket-pass, skip to the corner was open. He was saying that. We made an adjustment in a timeout, but he saw it a couple plays before that. At the end of that game, we had a big play that was a roll, pocket-pass, into the corner that put the game away. It worked the way he’d seen it.” The Hornets’ struggles during Jordan’s tenure as owner wouldn’t suggest it -- the last time this organization won a playoff series (2002), Jordan still was a player -- but there is a prestige to playing for his team. It’s not unlike being welcomed onto the list of elite athletes who endorse Jordan Brand. “I’m one of the lucky ones who’s in both,” Kaminsky said. “You’re talking about the most iconic player in sports history -- I might be biased because I grew up in Chicago -- but when you have his approval, it means a lot. You have it in the back of your mind that he wants you here.” Head smack or no head smack. Jordan grows as owner, businessman Basketball is a zero-sum game and the NBA is full of stars, even if none shines quite as brightly as Jordan. But business has room for negotiation and compromise, and deals get struck daily that leave both sides happy. There, Jordan has been beyond clutch. Funnel down everything he’s accomplished -- six NBA championships, the league’s highest career scoring average (30.1), five MVP awards, six Finals MVP, 10 scoring titles, nine All-Defensive team nods -- and it invariably ends with clammy hands. The “wow” factor is real and the Hornets are extremely careful about leveraging it. “It gives our organization a certain cachet,” said Whitfield, another longtime friend who goes back more than 35 years with Jordan. “For him to be majority owner, for him to do it in his home state as a local hometown hero, and to be able to come back and not just lead the team and the rebranding from the Bobcats to the Hornets, but his commitment to the community in giving back, it’s something that’s so special.” That’s a lot to unpack. When Jordan initially signed on with the Hornets, he did so as head of its basketball operations in 2006, purchasing a small minority stake in the team. The team was bad, the business was worse and trending down. “Back in ’08-09, the economy was in the tank and I was mandated to ‘displace’ 42 of our executives here on the business side,” Whitfield said. “When Michael bought the team, we were losing $30 million a year.’ Brought back into the league in 2004 two years after the original Hornets (1988-2002) were moved to New Orleans by reviled owner George Shinn, the Charlotte expansion team was owned -- and nicknamed -- by Bob Johnson, a co-founder of the BET television network. The Bobcats excelled only at losing and were 122 games under .500 in their first five seasons. The front office was understaffed, Spectrum Center (then known as Time Warner Cable Arena) needed renovations almost from its inception and there was a real sense that, if a buyer with deep pockets and a commitment to the area weren’t found, the franchise could be moved. In March 2010, Jordan ponied up the cash to become majority owner. But it says something that the deal stands as one of the few, if ever, instances of an NBA franchise being sold at a discount. Johnson paid $300 million for the team; Jordan purchased it for $275 million. Forbes.com recently had Charlotte worth $1.25 billion -- which ranks 28th. And Jordan reportedly has one of the biggest stakes of all NBA owners, with his share estimated at upwards of 90 percent, possibly as high as 98 percent. That’s a lot of success in nine years, despite the basketball team’s mostly middling performance. “With MJ being with the team, you got instant credibility in the marketplace,” said Pete Guelli, the chief operating officer who started on the job about 10 months before Jordan took ownership. “There had been a lot of uncertainty previously, but with his brand and his resources and his commitment, that just dissipated immediately. It was much, much easier to walk in the door and tell people about our vision for this franchise.” Rebranding the team as “Hornets” gave the franchise an existential boost -- it suddenly had a history again, complete with records, archives and true alumni. The arena got a makeover and, per Guelli, is credited for events there that generate an alleged $1 billion in revenues for local businesses. “Fortunately, we’ve been profitable pretty much since [Jordan took over],” Whitfield said. “That’s huge, especially since we haven’t gotten where we want to be on the basketball side.” Closing a new kind of game now It’s hard to overstate Jordan’s added value, not so much as some corporate or financial whiz but as a presence who brought instant motivation and energy to the staff. He imported executives with whom he had developed relationships at Nike or in other ventures and, after taking early criticism for an uncertain level of involvement, has been more diligent in recent years. “I love seeing him sitting at the end of the bench encouraging his players when he attends a game” said Charles F. Bowman, Bank of America’s market president for Charlotte and North Carolina. “And as a business person what impresses me is that he has empowered his management team to focus not only on the court but also on building bridges with the community. “He had a vision for where he was taking the team and a clear plan to get there. He has hired good people, gives them latitude to make decisions and he expects them to perform. Michael is unique -- the best player ever who is determined to keep getting better year over year as an owner.” The NBA has gotten a taste of Jordan’s growth and transition at some pivotal times. This is the legendary voice of the players who, during rancorous negotiations in the 1998 lockout, countered Washington owner Abe Pollin’s gripes about losing money by telling Pollin to sell his team. By the lockout of 2011, Jordan had moved to the other side of the table. But several members of the National Basketball Players Association’s executive committee saw him not as an opponent or turncoat but as a role model: someone who had transformed himself from employee to employer at the game’s highest level. “The players understood, he had been in their shoes,” Whitfield said. “He’s not forgetting what it meant to be a player. He was in the process of learning what it meant to be an owner.” When the current collective bargaining agreement was negotiated with commissioner Adam Silver and union director Michele Roberts leading the talks, Jordan was an active, powerful voice. He is an influential member of the NBA’s labor relations and competition committees. One Charlotte insider spoke to Jordan’s clout with his fellow owners in getting this weekend’s showcase -- jeopardized by a political squabble in 2017 -- back onto the league’s short list. “There’s no All-Star Game here in Charlotte if it’s not for MJ,” the person said. Last summer in Las Vegas, Silver lauded Jordan for his ability to straddle the basketball and business worlds. “He brings unique credibility to the table when we're having discussions [with the players],” he said, “and even just among the owners, he's able to represent a player point of view… Michael can say, 'Well, look, this is how I looked at it when I was a player, and these are the kind of issues we need to address if we're going to convince players that something is in everyone's interest.’ ” Jordan’s powers of persuasion apparently have been even more impressive in Charlotte and North Carolina. The executives are careful about relying on him too often -- Jordan’s most precious commodity, now that his net worth is estimated to be upwards of $1.7 billion -- is his time. But when they need Mariano Rivera to walk in from the bullpen, he is lights out. “We’ve had corporate sponsors at a golf outing, and he’s been there, maybe stayed at one hole to tell off with everybody,” Whitfield said. Or they’ll invite certain corporate sponsors to one of a few games each season in which “Club 23” is up and running at the Spectrum Center, a private club built for such purposes. They get a chance to visit, talk with and pick Jordan’s brain on the Hornets and much more. “We’ve closed all those deals,” Whitfield said. Then there was the time a local CEO wanted to finalize a sizeable sponsorship deal with the team, and had his No. 2 invite Jordan over to their headquarters for the meetings. Whitfield told the tale: “This guy says, 'You have to come to our office. Our CEO is the man in our business.' But we’re like, 'Nah, typically, CEOs come and meet in Michael’s office or in ‘Club 23’ over here.' He said no, that wasn’t going to work for them. “So Pete Guelli said, 'Let’s make a deal: We’ll take your CEO and drop him off in Beijing. And we’ll drop off Michael in Beijing. Then we’ll see who more people gravitate to. Whoever gets the least people, he has to come to the other guy’s office.'” Point made. Point taken. Said Whitfield: “The guy says, ‘You know what, I got it. We’ll be over 10 o’clock Friday morning.’” A community he calls home The Michael Jordan who once seemed determined to float above cultural and political frays as the most prudent way to serve commerce has not held back in recent years from making his presence felt. He has been more philanthropist than activist and, let’s face it, in times of the most dire need, cash beats talk every time. Charity and investing in the community can be good for business, sure. Making that a priority after Guelli’s arrival and Jordan’s purchase helped the Hornets build bridges with fans and merchants that Shinn and the original franchise’s departure had torched. More than that, though, giving back for Jordan and his team at this point in his life was the right thing to do. And do, and do, and do. The list of charitable and civic efforts Jordan and the Hornets have undertaken is long, with few outside the region or state aware of most of it. Among the highlights: - Donating $2 million to relief efforts in the wake of Hurricane Florence, particularly meaningful because of the damage it did in Jordan’s hometown of Wilmington. - Dedicated $7 million in partnership with Novant Health to fund two Michael Jordan Family Clinics, set to open in Charlotte in 2020. - Serving as Make-A-Wish’s Chief Wish Ambassador since 2008, while donating more than $5 million to the organization. His relationship with Make-A-Wish began more than 30 years ago. - Contributing $5 million as a founding donor of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. - Addressing the issue of police shootings and community policing in 2016 by donating $1 million each to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and the International Association of Chiefs of Police. After the hurricane in September devastated so many homes and businesses in and near Jordan’s roots, he wanted to do more than to stroke a fat check. In a meeting covered by The Associated Press, he met with Stephanie Parker and her family, including four young children, after they lost their apartment in two feet of flooding. A call from the director of the Cape Fear chapter of the Red Cross brought them together. The meeting took place at a Lowe’s home improvement store. “I look around the corner, and it’s Michael Jordan. ‘Oh my God!’" Parker said. “I look at my kids, ‘It’s Michael Jordan!’ I’m not going to lie, some tears came in my eyes, because the first thing that went through my mind was when I was younger, his last game when he was on the Chicago Bulls team, and that flashback just came right in my mind.” Afterward, Jordan was coaxed by the Charlotte Observer to talk about why that disaster resonated so deeply for him. “You gotta take care of home,” he said. “Wilmington truly is my home. Kept thinking about all those places I grew up going to … You don’t want to see any of that anywhere, but when it’s home, that’s tough to swallow.” There’s basketball, there’s business and then there’s real life, which sometimes intrudes in the most desperate ways. “We didn’t know how many people in our community were hungry,” Whitfield said. “There are people in dire need, and it’s special to have that hometown hero have in his heart that ‘This is where I can help.’ “It gives not only him as a person but our organization a platform to really speak out. That commitment is what has made him a special owner, and why he’s even more beloved in our community.” Winning title No. 7 drives Jordan now To date, Jordan’s greatest achievements have come elsewhere, at least since his baseline shot as a freshman propelled North Carolina to the 1982 NCAA championship. Those Bulls championships, the “Dream Team” magnificence, his partnership with that sneaker company in Beaverton, Ore., his Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame induction, shooting “Space Jam,” all of it -- his legacy has been crafted with others, for others, mostly far from home. (For the record, Jordan, his wife Yvette and their two daughters own a mansion outside Charlotte and an estate in south Florida). “Look, this has always been home for him,” Whitfield said. “Even though he was drafted by Chicago, WGN became a very popular station. And he just continued to elevate, so people in this state were proud to say, even though he’s a Bull, we love him. When the Bulls would come here and play at the old Coliseum, these fans who were avid Hornets fans were all pulling for Michael Jordan. “He’d score, they’d cheer loudly. The Hornets would score, they’d cheer loudly. North Carolina always felt like he was their native son who went off and achieved greatness.” Coming back first to head the franchise’s basketball operations and then as owner, Jordan’s role -- in light of the modest results on the court -- has been custodial. Yes, the club’s improved financial stability is important. But for this driven winner and NBA owner unlike all others, custodial isn’t going to cut it for long. “He did an interview with Cigar Aficionado magazine a while back,” Peterson said, “and the question was asked, ‘What would you like to do?’ And he said, ‘Win a seventh championship. Win as an owner.’ So for me, every day, I’m thinking, here’s a close friend and you want to make your friends happy, right? So each day I think, do the best you can to reach this goal for him.” Said Hornets wing Nicolas Batum: “I understand. He wants to win. He wants to compete since he was born.” It hasn’t been for lack of trying, although Jordan has made sure to keep fiscal responsibility high on every agenda. The team’s payroll for 2018-19 is approximately $122.3 million, which ranks near the middle of the NBA pack. “That Michael Jordan is one cheap dude,” said an impassioned cab driver on a recent airport run. “He’s only going to spend so much and the players they get shows it.” The Hornets never have spent into the league’s luxury-tax, and if Walker is retained when he hits free agency this summer, he’ll likely become the first Charlotte player to sign a full maximum-salary contract (though the five-year, $120 million deal Batum landed in 2016 came awfully close). Injuries and dubious moves have taken a toll, a situation that Kupchak, Borrego and their staffs have been tasked with fixing. Jordan, by all accounts, is engaged yet patient, with a playoff berth and potentially a record above .500 within reach. “I’m sure he feels like,” Whitfield said, “if he were still 30 years old and could lace ‘em up and get out there, he’d help us get over the hump. I think he would cherish it as much or more than the first six. Because I think he realizes how hard it is to get it done. “But it doesn’t bother us if the fans see his frustration sitting next to our bench. It’s important to us that they see he’s not only invested, he’s vested in what our team is trying to do. They can relate to him because they’re feeling that same frustration.” Jordan is theirs again and that’s what matters. For basketball, for business, for community and in time, just maybe, in championship. Steve Aschburner has written about the NBA since 1980. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: Sports14 hr. 34 min. ago Related News

2019 NBA All-Star Diary: Day 1

5:20 A.M. – For some reason, I woke up 10 minutes before the alarm on my cellphone was scheduled to ring. Maybe it was jetlag. Maybe it was excitement. It didn’t matter, I had to get up from bed to prepare for the 2 hour and 30 minute drive from Durham to Charlotte. Me and my colleague, TJ Manotoc had taken a detour from our planned schedule to visit Duke University. Now, that we were done with that, it was time to revert back to our primary task of covering the 2019 NBA All-Star Game. During our drive back to Charlotte, I looked out the window to the sight of clear skies telling me that it was going to be a good day. 8:50 A.M. – The first task for journalists covering the NBA’s mid-season event is to secure a media pass. This is basically an ID that gives one clearance to all events that are happening throughout All-Star Weekend. After parking our rented car and walking to the designated hotel for the media credentials pick-up, we were ready to head to our first activity of the day. 9:35 A.M. – Hosting the best young players in the league was the Bojangles Coliseum where the first media availability session was about to take place. The Mountain Dew Rising Stars is first major event of All-Star weekend and we were given the opportunity to see the players from Team U.S. and Team World up-close to field in questions. Rookie sensation Luka Dončić drew the biggest crowd of reporters from all over the world. Because it would be tough for me to ask the Slovenian a question, I decided to go to another podium where this year’s number on overall pick, Deandre Ayton was sitting. “Deandre! Who’s the toughest center you’ve played against so far in your rookie season?” I asked. “Uuuhhh… nobody. Not yet. All the centers I’ve played against so far haven’t really went at me yet. I think they were just playing though the rhythm and not really going at me,” replied Deandre. I saw another player drawing a huge crowd and realized it was Ben Simmons, who is currently my second favorite NBA player behind Blake Griffin. After waiting for a little while, I pounced on the opportunity to field in a question. “Ben, with the current Sixers lineup, what do you think are the weaknesses that you guys need to improve on so that you can win the championship this year?” The 6’10” point guard from Australia looked right at me and said, “Offense. Defense.” Honestly, I was a little bit disappointed because I was expecting a more thorough answer but I guess that’s how it is sometimes. These athletes are asked a million questions and it might be a struggle for them to stay consistent with regards to being accommodating to people. Atlanta Hawks point guard Trae Young and LA Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma were two other players I visited. With so many players on both rosters, it would be extremely difficult to get to converse with all. But, seeing them right in front of you and having an opportunity to talk to them was an amazing experience. 11:00 A.M. – All media had been requested by the organizers to clear the court so we could witness Team World practice for the night’s event. Even though I got a very short answer from Simmons, I still observed him. Watching him dribble the ball up the floor and make long strides to the basket for dunks was a sight to behold. He could even knock down three-pointers. 11:45 A.M. – It was now the turn of Team U.S. to take the floor for practice. Donovan Mitchell and Jayson Tatum looked like they could be the best players on the squad but I was particularly looking at Young and his ability to shoot the ball and handle it exceptionally well. Kuzma was also taking every drill seriously. Just like he would the Rising Stars. 1:06 P.M. – After gathering content, TJ and I decided to have a late lunch at Denny’s. We looked at the schedule and realized that our next activity would not be happening until nine in the evening. More time to sleep, I thought. 2:23 P.M. – TJ dropped me and our luggage off at Springhill Suites, our hotel for the next three days. He left me there to check-in while he returned the rental car to the airport. But, as I went to the counter, I was told by the front desk that our room would not be available until 3:00 P.M.. That’s when I decided to look around. 2:45 P.M. – I went to the Hornets Fan Shop to look at the NBA All-Star merchandise and saw an interesting selection of hats, jerseys and all kinds of memorabilia. And then, I noticed a man carrying a box which contained a pair of Nike Adapt BBs, the shoes I tested last month in New York. I asked him where he got them and told me to check out the “Jordan pop-up shop” across the Spectrum Center. 2:55 P.M. – While walking on the street, I saw a long line outside a building. It turns out, this was where that man got his Nike Adapt BBs. It was a Foot Locker – House of Hoops pop-up shop which sold various sneakers that were scheduled to be released specifically during the NBA All-Star weekend. Because of my unforgettable experience in Manhattan, I decided to join the line for a chance to get my own pair of the most futuristic basketball shoes Nike has ever made. Thankfully, I was given a wristband with a number, allowing me to leave the line to check into the hotel. 3:15 P.M. – I checked into our hotel room and felt thankful that it had such a great location. Springhill Suites was right across the Spectrum Center, the venue of NBA All-Star weekend and of course, just down the block from the pop-up shop. As soon as TJ arrived, I left to resume my quest to buy the shoes. 4:46 P.M. – Finally, I was a proud owner of my very own Nike Adapt BB. I felt like my trip to the New York was given more meaning now. Also, I felt like this was one of the reasons my journey has taken me to Charlotte. But, there was still more work to be done. 8:30 P.M. – Less than an hour before tip-off of the Rising Stars game, TJ and I did a Facebook Live discussion right outside the Spectrum Center to update fans back at home about what has happened so far at the All-Star event and what we should look forward to. 8:55 P.M. – We couldn’t believe it. Our assigned seats were located high up in the bleachers. On the very last row. I was breathing heavily after making the climb up the arena. All of a sudden, the players looked more like ants compared to the giants that they were during our morning sessions with them. 10:54 P.M. – Team U.S. defeated Team World behind the 35 points and 6 rebounds of Kuzma, who was named MVP of the Rising Stars. Kuzma was also one of the easiest players to talk to among his peers. 11:05 P.M. – Just when I thought we were given a lot of access to the players, we were given more. There was another media session which commenced right after the game! 12:11 A.M. – Another thing the NBA is very generous with is food. TJ and I ended our long day at a restaurant and bar that the league booked for us international journalists. As we chomped down our food, we talked about how the NBA All-Star weekend would take a lot of our time from us, including our sleeping hours. TJ has been covering this annual event since 2011. He’s used to the grueling schedule. Me, I’m just soaking it all in. I have a few hours left before I have to get up and work again. As always, I’m going to try to have as much fun as possible. After all, it’s the NBA All-Star. It’s supposed to be fun......»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: Sports14 hr. 34 min. ago Related News

Anvil recognizes Allianz PNB Life& rsquo;s dare to be fit campaign

Anvil recognizes Allianz PNB Life& rsquo;s dare to be fit campaign.....»»

Source: Thestandard ThestandardCategory: Sports22 hr. 21 min. ago Related News

Sante Fitness Lab, school ink pact with top swimmers

Sante Fitness Lab, school ink pact with top swimmers.....»»

Source: Thestandard ThestandardCategory: Sports22 hr. 21 min. ago Related News

Misal-led Joola whips UST-B, 3-0

Misal-led Joola whips UST-B, 3-0.....»»

Source: Thestandard ThestandardCategory: Sports22 hr. 21 min. ago Related News

Gabasa seeks to sustain form in PH ladies open

Gabasa seeks to sustain form in PH ladies open.....»»

Source: Thestandard ThestandardCategory: Sports22 hr. 21 min. ago Related News

Get your child into sports

Get your child into sports.....»»

Source: Thestandard ThestandardCategory: Sports22 hr. 21 min. ago Related News

UP outlasts UE in gritty five-set thriller

The Lady Maroons found themselves with their backs against the wall. Fortunately, the Diliman volleybelles were able to bounce back just in time......»»

Source: Philstar PhilstarCategory: SportsFeb 16th, 2019Related News

Justine Dorog relishes return to spiking position

Despite returning from a two-year stint as a libero for the Lady Maroons, Justine Dorog simply didn't show any rust in her spiking form......»»

Source: Philstar PhilstarCategory: SportsFeb 16th, 2019Related News