<![CDATA[NBC Southern California - Sports]]> Copyright 2016 http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/sports http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC4_40x125.png NBC Southern California http://www.nbclosangeles.com en-us Mon, 08 Feb 2016 06:41:46 -0800 Mon, 08 Feb 2016 06:41:46 -0800 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Kobe Bryant's Final Game in Indiana]]> Mon, 08 Feb 2016 02:26:38 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/212*120/Kobe-Bryant-vs-Indiana-Pacers-farewell.jpg

On Monday night, Kobe Bryant faces his final game against the Indiana Pacers. Like most stops in the NBA, Bryant has history here. Back when Bankers Life Fieldhouse was known as Conseco Fieldhouse, Bryant donned the no. 8 and a mini-afro. In truth, the 21-year-old earned his first NBA title in Indiana.

After Bryant had tossed the famous lob to Shaquille O'Neal to complete the comeback over Portland, the 2000 Los Angeles Lakers faced Indiana for Bryant's first trip to the NBA Finals. The Lakers won the first two games at home with O'Neal scoring 43 points in Game 1 and 40 points in Game 2.

However, Indiana took Game 3 at home due in large part to a dirty play by Indiana forward Jalen Rose. During the first quarter of Game 2, Rose willfully stuck a leg under Bryant on a jump shot, so the young shooting guard landed on Rose's foot and injured his ankle. Due to the dirty play, Bryant missed most of Game 2 and all of Game 3. Reggie Miller scored 33 points, as Indiana pulled a game back in the best-of-seven series.

Miraculously, Bryant recovered from his severely sprained ankle and played in Game 4. In Indiana, O'Neal led the Lakers with 36 points and 21 rebounds before fouling out in the overtime period. On the road and against a tough Larry Bird coached Pacers team, Bryant told O'Neal not to worry.

When O'Neal sat down, LA led by three points with two and a half minutes remaining in the overtime. Immediately, Indiana went inside to take advantage of the center's absence. Rik Smits scored easily over an older John Salley. Commanding the ball, Bryant faced up on Miller and drained a long jump shot. Again, Indiana responded with Smits hitting from the post position. Bryant responded with another clutch shot from just inside the arc.

"How good is this kid!" NBC commentator Bob Costas exclaimed on Bryant's second make.

Miller would hit two free throws, and again, LA only led by one point. The clock ticked into the final minute of the overtime. Lakers guard Brian Shaw would manage to hit a basket, and again, the Pacers leveled the score utilizing Smits.

Into the final 15 seconds of the overtime, the Lakers attempted to get the ball to Bryant, but Indiana successfully denied the passing lane. So, Shaw attempted a running floater. As the ball fell off the rim, Bryant appeared under the basket for a tip-in layup and gave the Lakers a three-point lead with 5.9 seconds remaining. LA would hold on.

After O'Neal fouled out, Bryant scored six points on 3-3 shooting to finish with 28 points, five assists and four rebounds. LA took a 3-1 series lead and went on to win the series upon returning to Staples Center in Game 6.

"After that game, I said, 'This guy is the best player in the world,'" O'Neal said about Bryant's performance in Game 4 during a 2015 episode of The Big Podcast with Shaq.

On Monday, Bryant will make one final visit to the location where he earned his first NBA championship. O'Neal may have deservedly taken home the Most Valuable Player trophy of the 2000 NBA Finals, but Bryant fought through injury and carried the team late in a vital overtime game on the road. He earned his share of that first title in Indiana.

On Monday, the Lakers and Pacers tip-off at 4:00 p.m. Pacific Time, as Bryant's farewell tour rolls on.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Tweet From Seahawks' Lynch May Indicate Retirement]]> Sun, 07 Feb 2016 20:28:56 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/MarshawnLynch-AP_324019937170.jpg

Leave it to Marshawn Lynch to be at the center of attention in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl.

Except this time, Lynch may have given the surest sign he's on the verge of retirement.

Lynch, the mercurial Seattle Seahawks running back, sent a tweet during the fourth quarter of Sunday's Super Bowl with a pair of cleats hanging from a power or telephone line, along with an emoji depicting a peace sign. It certainly wasn't a definitive statement that Lynch is ready to call it a career, but it would fit with a mounting stack of evidence that the bruising running back is ready to move on from football.

Lynch's teammates in Seattle were certainly taking his tweet as a statement of retirement. Doug Baldwin, Bruce Irvin, Paul Richardson and Richard Sherman were among the many teammates to pay tribute to Lynch on social media.

"Salute to my guy @MoneyLynch ... It was an honor sharing the field with you," Sherman wrote on Twitter.

"To one of the greatest teammates I've ever had the pleasure of suiting up with. Salute. #Beastmode," Baldwin posted on Instagram.

Messages left for Lynch's representatives were not immediately returned.

The tweet from Lynch also backed statements from Jan. 22 by Seattle general manager John Schneider in a pair of radio interviews that indicated Lynch was leaning toward retirement. Schneider said in separate interviews with two Seattle radio stations that he believes Lynch is leaning toward calling it a career after an injury-filled 2015 season.

Schneider first appeared on KIRO-AM, the team's flagship station, saying the team was going to give Lynch time and leeway to decide what he wants to do, but added he was "under the impression" Lynch was leaning toward retirement.

Later on KJR-AM, Schneider hedged his comments slightly, but reiterated that he thought Lynch was considering stepping away.

"I really, honestly don't know at this point," Schneider said on KJR. "If you put a gun to my head I would say he is leaning toward retirement. But I think with Marshawn you never really know. He's a fierce competitor. We just have to handle it the right way in terms of showing him as much respect as we possibly can for everything he's done for this organization."

ESPN reported earlier Sunday without identifying its sources that Lynch had been telling close friends he was planning to retire.

Lynch will turn 30 in April and is coming off an injury-plagued 2015 season where he was limited to just seven games in the regular season and one of Seattle's two playoff games. Lynch was bothered by hamstring and calf issues early in the season and later missed the final seven regular-season games with an abdominal injury that required surgery. Lynch returned for the NFC divisional playoff game at Carolina but was mostly a non-factor with the Seahawks falling behind 14-0 in the opening moments of the loss.

Lynch was limited to just 111 carries and 417 yards in the regular season, the first season of his career where injuries have been a significant factor.

Lynch would cost the Seahawks $11.5 million against the salary cap for the 2016 season, a massive number for a running back of his age, but Schneider had indicated changes would be needed if Lynch wanted to return. 



Photo Credit: AP
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Levi's Stadium Turf Causes Issues for Super Bowl 50 Players]]> Sun, 07 Feb 2016 18:50:43 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/levi-stadium-turf-new.jpg

Players on the Broncos and Panthers were forced to change cleats during the first half of Super Bowl 50 due to footing issues with the Levi's Stadium sod.

[[367984631, C]]

About halfway through the second quarter, CBS sideline reporter Tracy Wolfson said, not only were Carolina and Denver players changing cleats mid-game, they were complaining about slippage in the Levi’s Stadium turf.

The 2-year-old stadium has a history of turf troubles. The field was replaced at least six times this season, SI reports.

But Sunday’s problems can’t be blamed on the 49ers. The NFL took over the stadium prior to the Super Bowl and new turf was installed last month ahead of the Sunday's game.

Field issues had the stadium in the spotlight back in October when Baltimore Ravens kicker Justin Tucker slipped during a field goal attempt.

During the preseason, the San Francisco 49ers were forced to move the team’s open practice off the turf due to "poor field conditions."

[[334406511, C]]

CSN Bay Area's Scott Bair contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: Getty
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Celebrities at Super Bowl 50]]> Sun, 07 Feb 2016 21:19:01 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/AMBRO_GettyImages-508985750.jpg Famous faces dotted the crowds at Super Bowl 50 as A-list celebrities flocked to see the Carolina Panthers take on the Denver Broncos at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[PHOTOS: Super Bowl 50]]> Mon, 08 Feb 2016 03:50:42 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-508990588.jpg

Photo Credit: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Clippers Beat Heat on Super Bowl Sunday]]> Sun, 07 Feb 2016 14:19:53 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/Chris+Paul+vs+Heat.png

LOS ANGELES – Chris Paul started cold, but finished hot as the point guard scored 22 points and the Los Angeles Clippers came from behind to defeat the Miami Heat 100-93 on Super Bowl Sunday at American Airlines arena.

HOW IT HAPPENED
The Clippers started cold, with Chris Paul missing his first nine shots to start the game, the worst performance of his NBA career.

Los Angeles trailed by four at the end of the first quarter, but despite the sluggish start had a one-point lead heading into the locker room at halftime.

Paul overcame his poor start and dominated down the stretch, hitting back-to-back three-pointers in the waning minutes to put the Miami Heat away after they had gotten as close as three points in the final few minutes.

Paul finished with 22 points and 7 assists, Jamal Crawford chipped in 20 points off the bench. J.J. Redick added 14 points, Wesley Johnson had 10 and DeAndre Jordan dominated the glass with 11 rebounds.

Chris Bosh, Dwayne Wade and Goran Dragic each scored 17 points for the Heat in the loss, and fall to second place behind the Atlanta Hawks in the Southeast division.

TURNING POINT
Jamal Crawford hit a three-pointer with 6:14 remaining after the Heat had cut the lead from 10 points to just 3 points.

MVP OF THE GAME
Chris Paul. Paul finished with 22 points and 7 assists. CP3 hit back-to-back three-pointers in a 30-second span down the stretch and followed it up with two consecutive lobs to DeAndre Jordan.

STAT OF THE NIGHT
Jamal Crawford missed a free throw for the first time in six games.

TWEET OF THE NIGHT

It's like his feet are a trampoline!

PHOTO OF THE NIGHT

Game recognizes game.

QUOTE OF THE NIGHT
"I just kept shooting it, sooner or later it has to go in." – Clippers point guard Chris Paul on his poor shooting start and hot finish.

NOTES
Chris Paul and John Stockton are the only two players to average 10+ assists and 2+ steals against the Heat…Lance Stephenson has shot 82.5 percent over the heat over the past five games…The Clippers announced that Austin Rivers would undergo surgery for a broken hand and is expected to be out 4-6 weeks….Chris Anderson and Tyler Johnson were out for Miami…Blake Griffin remained out with a hand injury for Los Angeles.

RECORD
Los Angeles Clippers (34-17, 17-9 on the road) 2nd in Pacific Division

Miami Heat (29-23, 16-10 at home) 2nd in the Southeast Division

WHAT'S NEXT?
The Clippers road trip continues on Monday night in Philadelphia as they look to make it three consecutive wins on the road.

Miami will host San Antonio at 8:00 PM EST on TNT on Tuesday night.



Photo Credit: Twitter / @LAClippers]]>
<![CDATA[Cannabis Activists: Pot Could Help Cure 1 of NFL's Ills]]> Sun, 07 Feb 2016 06:03:25 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/CTE-split-stabler-seau.jpg

With much of the NFL world camped out in the San Francisco Bay Area in the days before Super Bowl 50, researchers released sobering news: late Oakland Raiders quarterback Ken Stabler had a degenerative brain disease associated with repeated blows to the head.

Later Wednesday, another late, great QB, Earl Morrall, also was revealed to have had chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), which is associated with memory loss, impaired judgment and progressive dementia. Dozens of former players have been diagnosed, some who died in old age, like Frank Gifford, and a few who took their lives, like Junior Seau.

There is no known treatment for CTE, not least because there's no test that can point it out in the living — it's detected in post-mortem brain scans. But to one former player who's sure his nine-year career gave him the disease, there's an obvious treatment that isn't allowed in the NFL, even though it would be easy to score not far from Levi's Stadium on Super Bowl Sunday for anyone with a doctor's note: medical marijuana.

"If cannabis is implemented and (the NFL) can lead the science on this, they can resolve this brain injury situation in a big way," Kyle Turley said.

Turley is at the forefront of a vocal movement arguing that medical marijuana's pain-suppressing and possible neuroprotective benefits make it the only effective treatment for the effects that chronic concussive blows to the head have on football players. As co-founder of the Gridiron Cannabis Coalition, Turley is the movement's most outspoken member, but it also includes other retired players and rapper/marijuana entrepreneur Snoop Dogg.

More players' brains are found to show signs of CTE with each year that passes. Researchers at Boston University have found evidence of CTE in 96 percent of the NFL players' brains they examined. At the same time, more states are allowing doctors to prescribe marijuana as a medicine – 23 so far, according to National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

California was the first state to legalize medicinal marijuana, and remains the only medical marijuana-legal state so far to host the Super Bowl. Nearly half of the medical marijuana identification cards issued in California were prescribed in the Bay Area, according to the Department of Public Health.

A small body of research suggests marijuana can heal head trauma, yet Turley wonders why the league isn't investigating the drug as a medicine. To advocates, hosting the Super Bowl in the region is almost hypocritical, given what they see happening to the heads of NFL players and the spiraling lives of some former players.

"The NFL's policy against medical marijuana is stupid and counterproductive," said Dale Gieringer, director of the California chapter of NORML, in an email calling the NFL out of touch with the laws of the state. "There's no doubt NFL players would be better off with medical access to marijuana."

The NFL did not comment for this story.

Jump to: 
>>
Science, the Brain and Medical Marijuana
>>
The NFL, CTE and Medical Marijuana

Hard-Knock Lives

Turley is a former defensive lineman who has been extremely outspoken about his medical struggles after playing for three NFL teams in nine years.

A New Yorker article from 2009 describes him blacking out at a Nashville concert, feeling much the same way he did when he was kneed in the head during a game years earlier. The former lineman had recently retired and was taking painkillers. He wound up in the hospital, where he said he briefly lost nearly all control of his body.

"Before quitting all the pills and committing to cannabis ... my life was a train wreck, plain and simple," Turley told NBC Owned Television Stations.

Today, Turley has eliminated all other chemicals from his system, from Aleve to Zoloft, he said. The San Diego resident has found strains of marijuana that relieve pain and other strains with effects comparable to the psychiatric pill Vicodin, but without the narcotic effects.

Medical marijuana has fairly well known, though not conclusively proven, pain relieving benefits. But to Turley, the drug also treats mental anguish he believes comes from CTE. There is very little research on that front, but the 40-year-old father insists marijuana has given him stability after recently feeling despondent and suicidal.

"The reality is I don't think about those things anymore. And if it wasn't for cannabis, I wouldn't be where I am mentally," Turley said.

Turley swears that marijuana use is rampant in the NFL – "from players to coaches to owners, marijuana is in the National Football League" – but only a handful of players have spoken out about using it. They emphasize the mental clarity it offers as much as the pain relief.

"I always healed fast, ahead of schedule; was never really very swollen; my mind was very sharp, and after concussions medicated with it," Nate Jackson told marijuana magazine High Times this week, discussing how marijuana helped him in his days with the Broncos in the 2000s.

It's not just young players who swear by pot, either. Jim McMahon, one of the heroes of the Chicago Bears' 1985 championship, revealed last month that he weaned himself off pharmaceutical drugs that left his head feeling fuzzy.

"This medical marijuana has been a godsend. It relieves me of the pain – or thinking about it, anyway," he told The Chicago Tribune.

But there isn't much medical research to back up their claims.

Science, the Brain and Medical Marijuana
Most medical marijuana advocacy is directed at the drug's pain-relieving qualities, which may be recognized by many states, but not the federal government. The FDA has not approved marijuana as a drug, though it notes there is widespread general interest in its potential as a less addictive alternative to painkillers.

But last year, the Journal of the American Medical Association found only some evidence that medical marijuana and similar drugs help chronic pain, less evidence for help with nausea and brain disorders and a risk of adverse effects, including nausea, fatigue and confusion. The National Institute on Drug Abuse says long-term marijuana use can affect learning, thinking and memory, and has been linked to mental illness and depression.

Advocates dispute those claims, and in the case of brain trauma, their case is bolstered, in some sense, by the fact that little research has been done on medical marijuana's effects on the brain.

The psychoactive chemical in medical marijuana, THC, was associated with a significantly improved mortality rate in patients who sustained traumatic brain injuries, according to a 2014 UCLA study. A study by Michigan State University researchers found that, in test tubes, THC reduced tau deposits, which indicate CTE and Alzheimer's.

Marijuana advocates cite these and some other studies when describing the drug's purported neuroprotective effects, saying it may be able to protect and heal brain cells in a way no other drugs can.

Other supporters only go as far as saying they intoxicate and sedate patients less than opiates do, and are easier on the stomach than anti-inflammatories, like Berkeley Dr. Frank Lucido, who says he has prescribed marijuana to two former NFL players. Asked about any neuroprotective effects, he noted they were unproven in humans.

Turley and others who do believe the drug can protect or restore neurological function mainly argue that more research needs to be done, and soon. A federal study found in 2012 that retired players were three times likelier to die of neurodegenerative diseases than the U.S. population on the whole.

"NFL pockets are deep enough to support a crash research program to determine that this combination of cannabinoids is effective in preventing the consequences of concussion," Harvard emeritus professor of Psychiatry Lester Grinspoon wrote in an open letter to the commissioner of the NFL in 2014.

For now, marijuana remains a problem in the NFL, subject to fines and suspensions during the season for repeat offenders, just as the federal government continues to classify marijuana as one of the most dangerous drugs.

Turley hopes his Gridiron Cannabis Coalition will help change that position, as much for the players as for Alzheimer's patients and others he thinks can benefit from cannabis.

"The attitude of the active players is the attitude of police forces around our country," Turley said. "It is absurd that this continues to be a reason for a player to be suspended or someone is arrested. We don't want to deal with this anymore."

The NFL, CTE and Medical Marijuana 
On Saturday, the NFL announced that Ken Stabler will be inducted into the Hall of Fame. If last year's ceremony is any indication, CTE will hardly be mentioned at all when he is honored.

The 2015 induction of Junior Seau, who was 43 when he killed himself, was marred by the league's initial refusal to let his family speak at the ceremony. The league cited a long-standing policy, but many noted that the family had sued the NFL, saying his suicide was at least partially caused by repeated hits to the head sustained in his playing days. His daughter eventually did speak, and did not mention Seau's brain.

Though the league settled concussion-connected lawsuits last year involving thousands of former players, about 200 opted out, including Seau's family. The suits claimed players weren't properly protected from concussions or informed of their risks.

The NFL did not admit liability in settling the suits. Since CTE has become associated with football, the NFL has also donated a substantial amount of money to research, including $30 million to the National Institutes of Health – its largest-ever donation to any organization.

As for medical marijuana use, there are signs that the league's position could change.

A representative for the the NFL Player's Association told NBC Owned Television Stations it is reviewing medical-marijuana policy, though didn't comment further. The union works with the NFL to set the league's drug policy.

And the league that doled out four drug-related suspensions to Ricky Williams – the electric running back whose career is now synonymous with marijuana in the game – has recently expressed more openness toward medical marijuana, if not the drug on the whole.

Commissioner Roger Goodell briefly addressed the issue in the run-up to last year's Super Bowl, saying the NFL could one day condone cannabis as a treatment but that its medical experts didn't yet consider its use proper.

If the league did decide to reverse course on the issue, it would still face a major hurdle: the federal ban on marijuana would mean players without contracts might gravitate to teams in states where medication was legal.

Not that that should stop the league from trying, said Turley, a fiery speaker about the cause.

"It would have been an amazing opportunity for the NFL to have dealt with this proactively, instead of allowing this to be another thing that shows their desire to really change things is very lackluster," Turley said.

Turley, Williams and McMahon will all talk about their experiences with marijuana this month at the Southwest Cannabis Conference and Expo in Dallas, the first marijuana conference in a state that hasn’t legalized marijuana medicinally, according to Rory Mendoza, the event’s organizer.

Their goal, for now is to slowly raise awareness about how the drug helped them, like a football team grinding out a long drive a few yards at a time.

And on Sunday, Turley will be watching the Super Bowl at home with family and friends, avoiding intoxicants and drugs – except the one he believes can save his life, which he long ago dedicated to football.  



Photo Credit: Getty Images, File
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Broncos Player Surprises Fan With Super Bowl 50 Tickets]]> Sun, 07 Feb 2016 10:22:35 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/vernon+1.jpeg

A Denver Broncos player visited a cancer and heart transplant patient the night before the Super Bowl and was moved to tears by the encounter.

Alex Walter, who is undergoing treatment at Lucile Packard Children Hospital Stanford, is an ardent Broncos fan who had long dreamed of meeting a team player.

His surprise came in two parts.

Walter, 18, was first bowled over Tuesday when Vernon Davis decided to stop by.

The Montana teen again was left dumbfounded Saturday when the tight-end handed him two tickets to watch Super Bowl 50 between Davis' Broncos and the Carolina Panthers.

Walter said he has been a Broncos supporter since he was 2 years old and is particularly in awe of wide-receiver Demaryius Thomas as well as Davis, for whom he made a bracelet out of his Beads of Courage.

Deeming the experience "cool," Walter said he was excited for the Broncos to defeat the Panthers and to be able to watch them do it. He said he plans to give his second ticket to a friend who is also a patient at Lucile Packard.

Meanwhile, Davis teared up looking at the beaming teenager.

"It brings joy to my heart ... to be able to give him the tickets," he said. "It means a lot to me … to see everything come to fruition for him."

[[367953961, C]]

Davis said also that he makes a conscious effort to be compassionate and uplifting and found himself filled with gratitude at being able to "share this experience" with Walter.

Pediatric oncologist Sheri Spunt recalled Walter predicting that he would "freak out" if he ever met the Broncos, prompting hospital officials to take to social media earlier in the week to get the team’s attention.

Walter, who attends classes at Lucile Packard, has to undergo chemotherapy for a year and also been through radiation therapy, she said.

"He was born with congenital heart disease and had multiple heart surgeries and, ultimately, required a heart transplant," Spunt said. "Then unfortunately several years after that he was diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma, which is a relatively uncommon type of childhood cancer."

A lifelong Broncos fan herself, Spunt quipped that she was jealous that Walter would be at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara on Sunday.

"Going to the Super Bowl is awesome and I know that he is going to be very excited," Spunt said."He’s the kind of guy who comes even during the off-season wearing his Broncos gear. So I know he will be absolutely thrilled to go to the Super Bowl and see his favorite team."

For her part, Walter’s mother Ronda also shared in her son’s amazement.

"He is so excited about the whole experience!" she said.

NBC Bay Area's Robert Beasom contributed to this report.

[[247269581, C]]



Photo Credit: Robert Beasom]]>
<![CDATA[Spurs Hold Off Competitive Lakers]]> Sun, 07 Feb 2016 21:49:33 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Lakers-Spurs-2-6-16.jpg

The Los Angeles Lakers lost to the San Antonio Spurs 102-106 in a game that was surprisingly close and went down to the wire.

After the Spurs honored Kobe Bryant with a tribute video prior to introductions, as Saturday night marked Bryant's final game in San Antonio. To start the game, Bryant made his first shot. However, the 20-year professional would miss his next four and offered a quiet four points in the first half. Instead, hometown kid Jordan Clarkson revved up his engine and scored 15 points before the intermission.

Riding Clarkson's back, the Lakers entered the halftime break only trailing by three points despite LaMarcus Aldridge and Kawhi Leonard combining for 27 points and Patty Mills adding another 11 points before the halftime break.

In the third quarter, though, Bryant conjured magic once again. After scoring 38 points against Minnesota and 27 points against New Orleans, Bryant poured in 16 points in the third quarter in San Antonio and eventually finished with 25 points on the night. Over the course of a minute and a half, Bryant hit back-to-back-to-back three pointers and had the crowd in a frenzy.

Thanks largely to the 37-year-old, the Lakers took a two-point lead into the fourth quarter.

Early in the final period, Lakers rookie D'Angelo Russell took charge and scored seven points to bring his overall tally to 12 points for the game. With Tarik Black active in the front court and Julius Randle banging the boards, the Lakers managed to hold a one-point lead with 5:58 to play in the ball game.

Bryant would return to the game, and though he made a three pointer to tie the game at 96-96, Bryant only hit one of six shots down the stretch. With Tim Duncan on the sideline in a suit and Manu Ginobili in the hospital due to an operation, Tony Parker coolly scored six crucial points in the final minutes, while Danny Green added nine points in the quarter.

Aldridge led all scorers with 26 points, as the Spurs featured five players scoring in double figures. The Lakers also offered good balance and featured five different players scoring in double figures. However, the visitors' offensive execution failed down the stretch.

The Spurs maintained their unbeaten record of 28-0 at home, while the Lakers dropped to 11-42 overall on the season.

Notes: Julius Randle finished with 15 points and 17 rebounds to collect his 20th double-double of the season. The second-year came down on his ankle when he jumped to save a ball. Lakers center Roy Hibbert sprained his ankle in the first quarter and did not return to the game.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[San Antonio Honors Kobe Bryant]]> Sat, 06 Feb 2016 18:45:09 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Kobe-Bryant-Spurs-tribute-2-6-16.jpg

Kobe Bryant suited up for one final game in San Antonio, as the Los Angeles Lakers traveled to play the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday evening.

As has been a trend this season, Bryant's final game in an arena has featured a ceremony celebrating the impact of "the Michael Jordan of our generation," as Spurs guard Tony Parker said in the video that played in the arena.

The video tribute also featured the Spurs' "Big Three" along with Spurs coach Gregg Popovich. Watch the entire video below:

"Kobe's uniqueness lies in his uncommon ability to compete at the highest level night after night after night, and there aren't too many people who can do that," Popovich said in the video. "He's obviously skilled, but his professionalism and being responsible enough to do that on a nightly basis has always astounded me."

Bryant took in the tribute from the bench with a humble smile and thanked the San Antonio crowd afterwards. The locals gave Bryant a standing ovation as he was announced as a five-time champion and two-times NBA Finals by the Spurs' P.A. announcer.

Bryant's farewell tour took a bit of a break following a final game in Oakland on Jan. 14 and a farewell game in Portland on Jan. 23. While the Golden State Warriors rolled out the red carpet with a video that featured Jerry West, the Portland Trail Blazers did not show Bryant any extra recognition.

Former Blazer and Laker, Mychal Thompson said he thought the Blazers had disrespected Bryant by introducing him as though the Lakers and Blazers were playing a "preseason game." Thompson made his comments on the Lakers' radio broadcast prior to the game, as the Lakers' radio color commentator commended the Spurs on their presentation.

Bryant will next say farewell to Indiana on Monday and Cleveland on Wednesday, before traveling to Toronto and taking part in one final All-Star Weekend. In each of those stops, one would expect Bryant will be honored and celebrated.



Photo Credit: Los Angeles Lakers/ Ty Nowell]]>
<![CDATA[Jordan Clarkson: Skills Challenge]]> Fri, 05 Feb 2016 11:52:19 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Jordan-Clarkson-NBA-skills-challenge.jpg

Los Angeles Lakers guard Jordan Clarkson will participate in the 2016 Taco Bell Skills Challenge at 2016 NBA All-Star Weekend in Toronto, the NBA announced on Thursday evening.

LA drafted Clarkson with a second round draft pick during the 2014 NBA Draft, a pick that the team purchased for cash on draft night. The Washington Wizards officially drafted the former Missouri Tiger, but the Lakers told the Wizards who to pick as a deal was in place.

In his rookie season, Clarkson raised eyebrows when Lakers coach Byron Scott started the relatively unknown point guard in his home town of San Antonio on Jan. 23, 2015. Over those final 38 games of his rookie season, Clarkson performed at a high level and earned NBA All-Rookie First Team honors.

Entering his second season, the quiet combo guard showed significant improvement during the NBA Summer League and preseason. Thus far, Clarkson has looked like the Lakers' most consistent player during the 2015-16 NBA season. Clarkson has scored in double figures in 45 of 50 NBA games this season, including 20 games in a row.

In New Orleans, Clarkson made his first eight shots and scored 18 points in the Lakers' victory.

Along with taking part in the NBA Skills Challenge, Clarkson is also expected to take part in the NBA Rising Stars Challenge, which is exclusively for rookies and sophomores in the NBA. Clarkson will be joined with Lakers' rookie D'Angelo Russell in the Rising Stars game, but Julius Randle did not earn an invite to the young kids' game. Randle was the Lakers' lottery pick in the 2014 NBA Draft.

NBA All-Star Weekend will take place on the Weekend of Feb. 13.

In the Skills Challenge, Clarkson will compete against defending Skills Challenge champion Patrick Beverley (Houston Rockets), DeMarcus Cousins (Sacramento Kings), Anthony Davis (New Orleans Pelicans), Draymond Green (Golden State Warriors), CJ McCollum (Portland Trail Blazers), Isaiah Thomas (Boston Celtics) and Karl-Anthony Towns (Minnesota Timberwolves). The event consists of an obstacle-course competition that tests dribbling, passing, agility and three-point-shooting skills. Tournament matchups have yet to be determined.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Pat Haden to Step Down as USC Athletic Director]]> Fri, 05 Feb 2016 13:44:32 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/208*120/Pat+Haden+Collapses+on+sideline.png

Pat Haden will retire after more than five years as the University of Southern California's athletic director, the school announced Friday.

Haden will stay with USC as part of a one-year deal to guide the renovation of the historic LA Memorial Coliseum, which will be the home of the Los Angeles Rams until their new stadium is ready in Inglewood.  Haden's move is effective June 30.

Haden was hired as athletic director in 2010 after serving as a trustee. He took over for Mike Garrett at a time when the program's football team was slapped with NCAA sanctions handed down due to violations.

Nikias described it as "one of the most volatile and high-stakes periods in Trojan Athletics' history."

"He took on this role at a time when the department faced unprecedented pressure, externally and internally, requiring nothing less than a Herculean effort to rebuild its foundation for the long term," said USC President Max Nikias. "USC Athletics had received NCAA penalties of unprecedented harshness only weeks earlier; and its physical and academic infrastructure urgently required improvement to bring it in line with the university's overall dramatic progress in recent years."

Having inherited a program in disarray, Haden created a large NCAA compliance program and improved graduation rates and grade-point averages across the athletic department during his more than five years in charge. Nikias said Haden's department raised more than $400 million during his tenure and introduced two new sports for female athletes, lacrosse and beach volleyball.

"The Pac-12 salutes Pat Haden for his success and impact as athletic director of USC," Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said. "Over the last six years, Pat was a valuable voice in conference matters and played a leadership role nationally with his fellow athletic directors and as a founding member of the College Football Playoff. As a former student-athlete, Pat served as a strong proponent for the benefits of the college experience, and led his Trojans to success on the field and in the classroom. We join the Trojan family in thanking him and wishing him all the best in retirement."

But he also received criticism for the football program's relative underachievement and for his handling of coach Steve Sarkisian, who has sued the school over his termination last year. Haden did not  immediately fire Sarkisian after a slurred speech at a pre-season pep rally and opted to keep him on, despite the public meltdown. Sarkisian later blamed his behavior on a mix of alcohol and prescription  drugs.

Haden publicly rebuked the coach, but allowed him to keep his job. Concerns about his behavior persisted, prompting Haden to place Sarkisian on  indefinite leave in October. Haden fired him the next day.

Haden is a former star quarterback at USC, where he was twice academic All-American. He was USC's starting quarterback in the John McKay years of 1972-74.

Haden was also a magna cum laude and phi beta kappa graduate, as well as a Rhodes Scholar. He spent parts of 1975-78 -- while a quarterback for the Los Angeles Rams of the NFL -- as a student at Oxford. He started at quarterback for the Rams much of the 1976-81 season.

Nikias will work with the Brill Neumann executive search firm to find Haden's successor. Details regarding a timeline to find a new athletic director were not available.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Time-Lapse: Watch the Demolition of Candlestick Park]]> Fri, 05 Feb 2016 13:24:11 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/CANDLESTICK+GIF_18147279.gif

As the San Francisco 49ers’ new home, Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, gets ready to host Super Bowl 50 on Sunday, the development company building a new mixed-used complex released time-lapse video of Candlestick Park being torn apart.

The video, provided on Thursday to NBC Bay Area by Lennar Urban and shot by OxBlue, shows about two minutes of the ‘Stick being taken down, seat by seat, and 19 seconds of what the future site should look like, including sweeping views of the San Francisco bay.

The eight-month demolition of Candlestick Park was finished in September to make way for a new urban mixed-use project at Candlestick Point in the southeast corner of San Francisco. More than 95 percent of the materials used to build Candlestick were recycled by the demolition firm, Silverado Contractors, according to Lennar Urban spokesman Dave Satterfield. The entire project should take 20 years and $8 billion to complete, thought the retail mall portion is expected to open in 2018, Satterfield said.

The complex, being built by Macerich Corp., will include an Africa diaspora-themed shopping marketplace, a hotel, movie theaters and 12,000 new homes at the site and nearby at the former naval shipyard of Hunter’s Point.

The 49ers left Candlestick Park after the 2013 season for a new $1.2 billion stadium in Santa Clara. The Super Bowl will be played there on Sunday between the Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers.
 



Photo Credit: Lennar Urban]]>
<![CDATA['Clowning' Obama Impersonates Stephen Curry at White House]]> Thu, 04 Feb 2016 13:27:32 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/WEB+GIF+OBAMA_18138916.gif

President Barack Obama always has fun when he welcomes world champs to the White House. Just ask the Giants.

But this takes the cake.

[[367701671, C]]

"Steph's a pretty good shooter," the president said – with a laugh – during the NBA Champion Warriors visit to the White House on Thursday. "For those of you who watched the game against the Wizards last night, to use slang, he was clowning."

"He was all jumping up and down."

President Obama proceeded to demonstrate his Stephen Curry "clowning" impression.

Curry went off in Washington on Wednesday, scoring 51 points, with a career-tying 11 three-pointers.

In case you missed it, we've posted video of the entire White House ceremony.

[[367711501, C]]

[[367717821, C]]



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Road to Rio's Olympics: Six Things to Watch ]]> Thu, 04 Feb 2016 14:07:51 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/RioAthletesZika-AP_469134667784.jpg

The first Olympics to be held in South America will take place in August, when 10,500 athletes from 206 countries will compete in Rio de Janeiro.

The 2016 Summer Games will feature such iconic venues as Copacabana Beach for beach volleyball and Maracaña Stadium for the opening and closing ceremonies and medal soccer matches. (The most successful World Cup nation with five titles, Brazil has never won a men’s or women’s Olympic soccer title.)

Golf and rugby will return, golf for the first time since 1912 and rugby since 1924. But it will likely be the last Games for American Michael Phelps, who enters as the top-ranked swimmer in the 100-meter and 200-meter butterfly and the 200-meter individual medley, and for Jamaican Usain Bolt, the fastest man in the world, who swept the 100-meter dash and 200 meter dash at the World Championships in August.

Brazil is in a financial crisis and costs have been a problem. Organizers have cut $500 million to balance an operating budget of $1.85 billion, and the number of seats in some venues has been reduced.

And the appearance of the Zika virus has added a new anxiety.

So six months out, here are six ways to follow the 2016 Summer Games now:

The Olympic Torch will be lit from the sun’s rays on April 21 in the Greek city of Olympia, the birthplace of the ancient games. It will tour Greece before the relay officially begins on May 3 in Brazil’s capital, Brasilia. About 12,000 torchbearers will cover more than 22,000 miles by road and air. The torch itself — made from recycled aluminum and resin — expands as it is passed to reveal the colors of Brazil. The relay will end on Aug. 5, when the last torchbearer will light the Olympic cauldron during the opening ceremony at Maracaña Stadium.

How does the flame remain burning throughout? The torch itself is extinguished at night or while on planes but the flame is still lighted in enclosed lanterns, which are closely guarded.

Will Rio be ready to host the Games?

One worry is the sewage-infested water that athletes will be swimming and boating in — near Marina da Gloria in Guanabara Bay, off Copacabana beach and in Rodrigo de Freitas Lake. Tests commissioned by The Associated Press -- the results of which were released in July and again in December -- discovered high levels of viruses and bacteria from human feces, up to 1.7 million times what would be considered dangerous on a Southern California beach. The contamination was found not only close to land but also offshore, where sailing will take place. In August, some athletes participating in pre-Olympic rowing and sailing events became ill with vomiting, fevers and diarrhea. 

Olympic and World Health Organization officials have not followed through on promises to do their own viral testing, according to the AP. WHO says Brazil needs only to test for bacterial “markers” of pollution.

Adding to the health concerns is the mosquito-borne Zika virus, which arrived in Brazil last year and is now “spreading explosively” across the Americas, according to WHO. Brazil reported a surge of babies born with microcephaly — marked by unusually small heads and severe brain damage — though exactly how many is in flux. The virus may also be causing another serious condition, Guillain-Barre syndrome, which leaves some patients unable to move.

Brazil’s health minister said the country would send 220,000 troops to eradicate mosquitoes but he also was quoted this month in the country’s major newspapers as saying the country was badly losing the battle.

Transgender athletes should be able to compete without undergoing sex reassignment surgery, according to guidelines announced by the International Olympic Committee in January. 

The guidelines were changed to reflect current scientific, social and legal attitudes about transgender issues, the committee’s medical officials told The Associated Press.

Previous guidelines, approved in 2003, required transgender athletes to have surgery followed by at least two years of hormone therapy before they could compete.

Now, female-to-male athletes are eligible to compete as males without restriction. Male-to-female athletes must show a testosterone level below a certain cutoff for at least a year before their first competition.

The guidelines, not regulations, are meant for international sports federations to follow.

Accusations of doping by Russia prompted U.S. Olympic athletes to call for officials to broaden their investigation, the AP reported. The Americans wrote to the IOC and the World Anti-Doping Agency the week of Jan. 25 in response to a two-part report detailing doping inside Russia’s track team, allegedly with the state’s participation.

The Americans want the investigation to be expanded to sports beyond track and field.

Follow along as athletes earn their way to Rio, beginning with the U.S. marathon trials in Los Angeles on Feb. 13. Trials for other popular events: diving, June 18 to 26 in Indianapolis; men’s gymnastics, June 24 to 26 in St. Louis; swimming, June 26 to June 3 in Omaha, Nebraska; track and field, July 1 to 10 in Eugene, Oregon; and women’s gymnastics, July 8 to 10 in San Jose, California.

The U.S. women’s soccer team will compete in Olympic qualifying matches to be held from Feb. 10 to 21 in Dallas and Houston, while the U.S. women’s water polo team will be competing for a berth from March 21 to 28 in Gouda, Netherlands.

A surfeit of talented players in some sports will make it tough to finalize Olympic teams.

Superstars LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony are among the 30 finalists for the U.S. men’s basketball team. The list features 18 players who have won 29 Olympic or World Cup gold medals. Other marquee names vying for the 12-member roster: Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors, Kevin Durant of Oklahoma City Thunder and Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers.

Likewise, the qualification system for golf will eliminate some top players. The 60 men and women will be chosen from the top official world rankings, but there is a limit of four players per country. The cutoff for qualifying is July 11.

Refugee athletes will have the chance to compete in the Games. Three potential athletes have been identified so far and up to 10 are expected to qualify, according to the IOC. A group of refugees will march together in the opening ceremony, a refugee will carry the torch during the Greek leg of the relay, and the torch will make a stop at a refugee camp in Athens, the president of the IOC said on Jan. 28 during a three-day trip to Greece, the AP reported.

The IOC has pledged $2 million to help refugees.

Nick Zaccardi contributed information for this article.
 



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Lakers Beat Pelicans, Kobe Gets 27]]> Thu, 04 Feb 2016 23:02:32 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Kobe-Bryant-scores-27-v-Pelicans.jpg

"I'm as puzzled by it as you are," Kobe Bryant smiled after the Thursday's win.

Bryant had scored 27 points, including 12 points in the fourth quarter, to help the Los Angeles Lakers to a 99-96 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans. Following up on his 38-point performance on Tuesday night, the 37-year-old showed that he still had a bit of magic left in his basketball shoes.

Bryant started the game with 11 points in his first eight minutes, as he helped the Lakers to an early double-digit lead. When Bryant took his first rest of the game, the Lakers led by 11 points. When he returned in the second quarter, the Lakers trailed by two points. By the halftime buzzer, the 20-year professional had helped the Lakers to an 11-point lead.

Lakers second-year guard Jordan Clarkson assisted Bryant on his mission to collect wins, as the 23-year-old contributed 16 points on 7-7 shooting in the first half. Bryant had 13 points at that stage.

As would be expected from a team with 41 losses on the season, the Lakers nearly managed to entirely give away their lead. With 1:18 remaining in the ball game, Anthony Davis dunked the ball to bring the home team within three points. Davis would finish with 39 points and 11 rebounds in the loss.

After Davis' dunk, Bryant reached back in time and pulled out a 26-foot three-point shot that but the Lakers up by six points with a minute to play. And, yes, Bryant wagged his finger in celebration.

A series of strange plays, including inexplicable clock management and a couple missed dunks by the Pelicans, in the final minutes helped the Lakers claim their 11th victory of the 2015-16 season. After the confusion settled, Bryant dusted off his books and walked off as the game winning hero for the second game in a row.

"I don't think he's ready to retire yet," second-year forward Julius Randle joked about Bryant after the game.

Along with his 27 points on 10-24 shooting, Bryant also contributed 12 rebounds, two assists and two steals. Over his past three games, Bryant is averaging 29.3 points, 8.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists on 44.4 percent shooting from the field--not bad for a 37-year-old.

Next, the Lakers face San Antonio on Saturday for Bryant's farewell to one of his fiercest rivals.

Notes: Rookie D'Angelo Russell continued his strong play with 13 points on 6-12 shooting to go along with three assists and three rebounds in 29 minutes.

Quotes via Time Warner Cable SportsNet



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Snoop Dogg, Super Bowl Reporter]]> Fri, 05 Feb 2016 09:13:15 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/snoop5.jpg

Rapper Snoop Dogg turned into a Super Bowl 50 “reporter” during the Broncos and Panthers press conference in Santa Clara Thursday, chatting up Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning and telling Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis to “go to work” with a broken arm.

"That's your spirit. Go to work. And when you get a sack, dab with your broken one, for me," he told Davis, referring to the "dab" dance move newly popular with football players and other athletes.

The rapper tweeted a photo of him shaking hands with Manning: “Legend. #TurfdUp,” he wrote, referring in the hashtag to his YouTube sports show. His next tweet was a selfie, followed by a photo of himself acting as a reporter for DirectTV's "The Rich Eisen Show."

Snoop also sent out a couple of tweets promoting Merry Jane, his Marijuana lifestyle platform he hopes will act as an icebreaker for people who take pride in their love for marijuana.

One said: “ganja proving 2 help athletes with sports related injuries,” with a photo of a rolled up ball of weed.

The tweets were removed from his timeline after some time. It wasn’t immediately clear why the rapper took the tweets down.

The NFL has a strict drug policy, but many question whether it is out of date. According to media reports, marijuana is coveted by NFL players as an invaluable painkiller, and for younger players, smoking weed is normal.

"There are so many people in the closet, and we are giving them an opportunity to come out of the closet and just admit they like to smoke," Snoop said at the Merry Jane launch at TechCrunch Disrupt in September. "I’m a smoker, my name is Snoop Dogg, and I’m a stoner."



Photo Credit: Getty Images
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Golden State Warriors Honored at White House]]> Thu, 04 Feb 2016 12:27:02 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/AP_82877935622.jpg

In a season of memorable moments for the Golden State Warriors, the 2015 NBA Champions can add a White House visit to that list.

President Obama welcomed the team to the East Room Thursday and honored them for winning the championship title. [[367690421, C]]

"Dub Nation is well represented here," the president said, noting Warriors' fans House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a California Republican, were in attendance. 

"It's a bipartisan affair," Obama said.

The president also praised interim coach Luke Walton, who led the Warriors to a record-setting 24-0 start this season — none of which will count on Walton's officials record due to NBA rules that credits wins and losses to head coaches only.

“You defied the cynics, you accomplished big things, you racked up a great record and you don’t get enough credit. I can't imagine how that feels," Obama quipped, drawing parallels between his presidency and Walton's leadership.

The Warriors were already in D.C. for a game against the Washington Wizards Wednesday night, where reigning NBA MVP Stephen Curry lead the team past the Wizards 134-121 for their eighth straight victory.

Obama took the chance to mock Curry’s celebrations during his 51-point performance.

“For those of you who watched the game against the Wizards last night, he was — to use slang — he was clowning,” Obama said, mimicking Curry's jumps. [[367711371, C]]

This wasn't Curry's first White House visit, nor the first time meeting President Obama. The star guard swung by 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in support of the president's Malaria Initiative last year, and the two also played a round of golf with Curry's dad and former Boston Celtics captain Ray Allen. [[367690921, C]]

“It will be fun, I’m looking forward to it,” he told reporters Wednesday evening after the game. “Everybody, besides Coach Kerr and Luke Walton, it’s their first time [at the White House] so we’ll be excited.”

Celtics forward David Lee, who spent five years on the Warriors roster, joined his former team in D.C.

“It’s certainly a thing that I definitely can’t pass up, especially since we have the off day, and it’s a chance, one of the final times to kind of celebrate what was accomplished last year,” Lee told the Boston Globe earlier this week.



Photo Credit: AP
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[49ers Reverse Course on Cancelled Girl Scout Sleepover]]> Thu, 04 Feb 2016 05:51:19 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/178*120/nynyrsstadyumm.jpg

As it turns out, the 49ers messed with the wrong people: the Girl Scouts.

The Girl Scouts of Northern California gave its troop members incentive to sell a lot of cookies over the next month. For girls who sell 50 cases, they’d be treated to an overnight party at Levi's Stadium in May. The organization signed a contract with the 49ers in September to host the party. The Girl Scouts estimate 1,200 girls and their fathers would attend.

This week, the 49ers backed out, saying a concert was just scheduled for that date.

“The girls were going to get to run through the tunnel and burst through a banner celebrating their
accomplishments. Just cool. The girls were excited,” said Marina Park, CEO of Girl Scouts of Northern California.

The Scouts knew the cancellation was a possibility. Still, the girls were devastated.

After news organizations, such as the Mercury News, which broke the story,  started asking questions Wednesday night, the 49ers backpedaled. The team released a statement saying the Scouts can host the overnight party the following week in May. It also stated the team will now cover the cost of the event, which the Girl Scouts estimate is around $70,000.

“It feels good, I have to say, to know we're appreciated and supported by our community,” Park said.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Lakers Hit The Road, Face Pelicans]]> Thu, 04 Feb 2016 17:52:56 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Kobe-Bryant-Lakers-Pelicans-2-4-16.jpg

After closing January with 10 straight losses, the Los Angeles Lakers started February with a win. On Thursday, LA is in New Orleans with the injury ravaged Pelicans hoping to flap their way back into the Western Conference playoff picture.

At 18-30, the Pelicans are five games back of eighth seed Portland, but the Pelicans have won seven of their last 11 games. Anthony Davis has appeared in 10 of those past 11 games, so New Orleans' franchise player should be suited and ready to go against the Lakers.

Over his past three games, Davis is averaging 23.7 points and 11.7 rebounds in 38 minutes on the court. Considering the heavy load of minutes, "the uni-brow" is fully fit for duty. In fact the last time the Lakers faced the Pelicans, Davis sat out and LA squeaked out a 95-91 victory.

Thursday night is not a farewell game for Kobe Bryant, as LA is scheduled to revisit the Big Easy on April 8 during Bryant's final road trip of his career. Fresh off a 38-point performance, the 37-year-old said he felt fine following his 33-minute outing on Tuesday.

With only 31 games remaining in Bryant's career, every time he steps on the court is must-see television.

Along with Bryant, the growth of power forward Julius Randle has sparked interest from fans watching near and far. The 21-year-old has logged double-doubles in his past three games and 19 on the season overall, the latter of which ranks 19th overall in the NBA.Curiously, the second-year did not earn an invite to the NBA Rising Stars' challenge over All-Star weekend, which arrives on the heels of the Lakers' four-game road trip.

Following New Orleans, LA will travel to San Antonio on Saturday, Indiana on Monday and Cleveland on Wednesday.

From there, the Lakers will get a week off—with the exception of Bryant, D'Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson.Russell and Clarkson will take part in the Rising Stars Challenge, while Bryant will take part in the NBA All-Star Game—the 18th of his career. While Randle's omission is curious, Clarkson and Russell's inclusions fit the bill.

In his second season, Clarkson is the Lakers' most consistent player this season. The 2014-15 All-Rookie First Team member has scored in double figures in 28 of the past 29 games, including 19 straight. Russell has started to settle into a groove off the bench and is coming off an 18-point outing against Minnesota. The 19-year-old has scored in double figures in 10 of his past 12 games, while averaging a healthy 26.7 minutes over that stretch. On the season, Russell is averaging 27.0 minutes per game.

Despite the hullabaloo over Russell's minutes, the rookie is getting plenty of time on the court and appears to be showing steady improvement. For comparison's sake, no. 1 overall pick Karl-Anthony Towns is averaging 29.8 minutes per game, so Russell is averaging less than three fewer minutes per night on the court.

Another positive sign on the Lakers' development front was the return of Tarik Black on the court. On Tuesday, the second-year big man earned minutes over Roy Hibbert and showed positive activity on the court. His energy and athleticism helped the Lakers edge the Timberwolves, and Black could be a huge asset against a player like Davis on Thursday.

Black, however, is listed as probable due to a sore left foot. X-Rays came back negative, so Black's involvement is considered more likely than not, and the 24-year-old should find plenty of minutes on the floor for the remainder of the season.

The Lakers and Pelicans tip-off at 6:30 p.m. Pacific Time.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Jerry Rice Poses as Lyft Driver]]> Wed, 03 Feb 2016 12:01:08 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/jerry-rice-lyft-driver-super-bowl.jpg

A handful of lucky Lyft riders got a huge surprise in the Bay Area recently.

The rideshare service used hidden cameras to capture reactions when Hall of Famer and 49ers legend Jerry Rice went undercover as a driver.

Introducing himself as simply J, Rice didn't let on to his riders who he was, but he still managed to charm them before revealing his true identity.

In an interview Wednesday with NBC Bay Area, the "greatest wide receiver of all time" said: "I was just curious to see if a hat and pair of shades and people wouldn’t recognize me."

He recounted one ride with a customer, where he joked around and pretended he was simply an actor.

"I think one guy – he was in the car with me he – said something about his favorite team is the San Francisco 49ers," Rice said, "and I looked at him and said,' You know, I really don't even like football.' "



Photo Credit: Lyft / YouTube
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Kobe Talks Russell's Minutes]]> Wed, 03 Feb 2016 04:45:47 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Kobe-Bryant-talks-DAngelo-Russell-minutes_1200x675_614874179782.jpg Kobe Bryant chimes in on D'Angelo Russell's minutes and talks about the challenges of playing for the Los Angeles Lakers and the difficulties of playing in LA. Recorded at Staple Center in Los Angeles, CA on Feb. 2, 2016.]]> <![CDATA[Broncos Player Sent Home After Questioned in Prostitution Sting]]> Tue, 02 Feb 2016 23:31:48 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/ryan-murphy.jpg

Ryan Murphy, a member of the Denver Broncos' practice squad, was questioned and released by Bay Area sheriff's deputies during a prostitution sting Tuesday.

Authorities determined Murphy was not involved in illegal activity at the Motel 6 off Brokaw Road in San Jose and he was released, according to the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Department.

The Santa Clara County Human Trafficking Task Force was conducting the sting, authorities said. 

Sources tell NBC Bay Area Murphy was seen with his brother and a female passenger in a vehicle at the Motel 6. The woman went into the motel and then returned to the car, sources said. At that point, members of the task force swooped in on the car and its passengers.

Murphy's brother and the female were cited for alleged prostitution activity but were not arrested. The brother and woman allegedly knew each other.

Sheriff’s spokesperson Sgt. James Jensen said there have been several stings conducted over the last few days in which 10 men were cited and released, and 20 women acting as prostitutes were offered help.

Broncos Head Coach Gary Kubiak in a statement late Tuesday said the team sent Murphy back to Denver.

"Although practice squad safety Ryan Murphy was not cited by police, we decided it was best for the team if we continued our preparations for Super Bowl 50 without him," Kubiak said in a statement. "Ryan is returning to Denver but his status as a practice squad player has not changed at this time."

Murphy, a Bay Area native who attended Oakland Tech, was drafted 248th by the Seattle Seahawks in the 7th round of the 2015 NFL Draft.

The Broncos will face the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50 in nearby Santa Clara on Sunday. Coincidentally, former NFL safety Eugene Robinson, who was arrested the night before the Super Bowl in 1999 for solicitation of a prostitute, spent part of the day Tuesday warning Panthers players "not to do what I did."



Photo Credit: Getty/file
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Kobe Bryant Scores 38, Lakers Win]]> Wed, 03 Feb 2016 03:39:00 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Kobe-Bryant-scores-38-points.jpg

LOS ANGELES--Thirty-seven-year-old Kobe Bryant scored 38 points to help the Los Angeles Lakers claim a much-needed 119-115 victory and avoid history. Had LA lost to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday night at Staples Center, the Lakers would have set a new franchise record for longest losing streak.

Bryant, however, stopped the streak at 10. On this night, no. 24 hit seven three-pointers on 11 long-range attempts to go along with five rebounds and five assists. He played 33 minutes and hit big shot after big shot to win the game. When the Lakers fell behind in the fourth quarter, Bryant hit a three-pointer. When the game was on the line, Bryant hit a clutch 20-footer. Then, he went to the foul line time after time and sealed the game in the final seconds. Bryant won the game.

"Kobe played a crazy game," Lakers point guard Jordan Clarkson said after the game. "He really carried us."

On Tuesday, Bryant didn't look like a 37-year-old that was struggling to reach the finish line of his 20th season. For a player who has made a career of making history, Bryant did everything in his power to avoid setting a record on this night. Per usual, Bryant succeeded in his mission.

Of course, Bryant did not win the game on his own. Five Lakers scored in double figures, including Julius Randle. Randle recorded yet another double-double--his 19th of the season. This time, the second-year power forward scored 15 points on 50 percent shooting and pulled down 12 rebounds. 

Rookie D'Angelo Russell led the Lakers' bench with 18 points, while Lou Williams and Jordan Clarkson combined for 36 points for the starting and finishing back-court. Tarik Black earned extended minutes, which is rare, and the 24-year-old even earned a mention from Bryant during the post-game press conferences.

For Minnesota, second-year Andrew Wiggins scored 30 points to lead the Timberwolves in the loss, though six different Wolves scored in double figures. Minnesota guard Ricky Rubio tabbed 15 assists to go along with 10 points for his own double-double. Neither team illustrated defensive strength on this night, as the final score indicated, so the offensive stats accumulated in a hurry.

Overall, the Timberwolves managed to outscore the Lakers 64-46 in the painted area, but LA beat Minnesota from distance. Led by Bryant's seven triples, LA hit 12 three-pointers on the night, while Minnesota only managed four baskets from long range. In a close game, the extra points proved to be the difference, as Minnesota actually shot 57.5 percent from the field versus the Lakers' 50.0 percent overall shooting.

In terms of game flow, the Lakers and Timberwolves played a back-and-forth first quarter before LA took a 16-point lead in the second period. In the third quarter, the Lakers maintained a double-digit lead throughout the period.

Over the final 12 minutes, however, LA seemingly wilted and let Minnesota back into the game. Minnesota briefly took a one point lead with 5:15 remaining in the game. However, LA took the lead back on a Bryant three-pointer. Moments later, Bryant hit another three-pointer to put the Lakers up by five points. Minnesota climbed back within one point in the final minute, but Bryant hit a 20-foot jump shot that put LA up by three points with 26.4 seconds to play.

Then, Bryant hit six straight free throws to win the game.

Throughout the evening, the fans at Staples Center celebrated every time Bryant entered and re-entered the game, every shot he hit and every time his face turned up on the big screen. With stars like Jack Nicholson and George Lopez sitting courtside, Bryant still stole the spotlight.

No one got free tacos, but Bryant earned a standing ovation, and the Lakers won.

Minnesota Timberwolves coach Sam Mitchell previously coached the Toronto Raptors, back when Kobe Bryant scored 81 points. Above, Mitchell responds to Bryant scoring 38 points after the Timberwolves' loss: "I hate him. If I won't ever see him again, it won't be too soon. I hate him."

(click on the audio symbol on the bottom left of each Vine to hear the audio)

Below, Bryant responds to Mitchell's comments after the game with his trademark love of being the villain: "Thank you for the hate. I appreciate that. Truly, I love that."

Notes (via Lakers P.R.): Bryant became the fourth player age 37 or older in the last 30 seasons to record at least 35 points/5rebounds/5assists in a game, joining Michael Jordan (three times), Karl Malone (three times), and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (once)



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Manning Calls HGH Allegations 'Complete Junk']]> Tue, 02 Feb 2016 18:46:17 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/199*120/0201peytonmanning2.jpg

With Super Bowl 50 week upon us, Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning wants to make it clear that the allegations made against him in an Al Jazeera documentary about sports doping are "complete junk."

Accusations regarding the superstar NFL athlete first surfaced in "The Dark Side," a documentary that investigates "the secretive world of doping in sports and raises questions about whether medical professionals are linked to some of the greatest sports heroes." Al Jazeera reported that Manning's wife received human growth hormone (HGH) from an Indianopolis clinic in 2011.

During Super Bowl Media Night in San Jose, Calif., on Monday, according to NFL.com, Manning said, "I welcome this NFL investigation, because I know the rules of the NFL and I respect the rules, they're important to me. And so what this report alleges that I did is simply not true. It's fabricated. It's junk. It's garbage. I could give you a long list of other words for it. I can guarantee this investigation, what it will find is an absolute big, fat nothing. That's how I feel about it."

When asked if he would let the league have his records from the Guyer Institute, where he and his wife were both patients, Manning told reporters in attendance, "I haven’t got any of them. They can have whatever they want to have. Like I said, it’ll all take place after the season. Whatever they’ve got to do, I welcome it 100 percent."



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Greg Maddux and Raul Ibanez Join Dodgers]]> Tue, 02 Feb 2016 18:38:17 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/203*120/Greg+Maddux+Dodgers.png

LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Dodgers have brought back Hall of Fame pitcher Greg Maddux. The four-time Cy Young winner had two previous stints with Los Angeles in 2006 and 2008, but this time he won't be on the mound.

The team announced on Tuesday that they hired Maddux as a Special Assistant to Andrew Friedman, the Dodgers current President of Baseball Operations. Joining Maddux in the front office is 19-year veteran Raul Ibanez who retired in 2014 after a short stint with the Kansas City Royals.

The Dodgers released a statement saying that Maddux and Ibanez will assist Friedman in all aspects of baseball operations including scouting, player development and working with the players on both the Major and minor league levels.

Maddux played 23 seasons in the Majors with the Chicago Cubs, Atlanta Braves, Dodgers and San Diego Padres. He posts a career record of 355-227 with a 3.16 ERA in 740 starts. He was an 18-time Gold Glove winner, 8-time All-Star, and was a first ballot Hall of Famer.

Ibanez played 19 years with the Seattle Mariners, Philadelphia Phillies, New York Yankees, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and the Kansas City Royals. He has a career batting average of .272, with 305 home runs and 1,207 RBIs in 2,161 games. He spent last season working in the broadcast booth with MLB.



Photo Credit: Victor Decolongon/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Doc Rivers Named NBA Coach of the Month]]> Tue, 02 Feb 2016 18:23:57 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/205*120/Doc+Rivers+Coach+of+the+Month.png

LOS ANGELES – After a record-tying month of January for the Los Angeles Clippers, head coach Doc Rivers was named the NBA's Western Conference Coach of the month on Monday.

Rivers captained the team to an 11-3 record in the month of January, the winningest month in franchise history. Comparatively, the Golden State Warriors went 15-3 in the month of January, but the Clippers accomplishment is all the more impressive considering they were without their All-Star power forward Blake Griffin.

With Griffin out for the start of 2016, the Clippers offense was the third best in the league in field goal percentage (47.3%), 4th in three-point percentage (30.3%), sixth in points per game (107.9) and fewest in turnovers at just 11.4 per game.

Toronto Raptors head coach Dwayne Casey was Rivers' counterpart in the Eastern Conference as the league's only Canadian team currently finds themselves ending the month on an 11-game winning streak.

The Clippers will next take the court on Wednesday night at Staples Center when they face Andrew Wiggins and the Minnesota Timberwolves.



Photo Credit: Andy Lyons/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Lakers Looking to Avoid History]]> Tue, 02 Feb 2016 12:34:09 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/D-Angelo-Russell-Karl-Anthony-Towns.jpg

The Los Angeles Lakers take on the Minnesota Timberwoves on Tuesday night at Staples Center, and the Lakers enter the contest tied for the franchise record with a 10-game losing streak. If LA loses to Minnesota on Tuesday, LA will not only project to be the worst team in franchise history, but this current group will also own a dubious losing streak record.

While the Lakers have lost 14 of their last 15 games, Minnesota is not exactly setting a championship pace. The Timberwolves have lost four in a row and 15 of their last 17 games. LA could conceivably win this game, which is more than what has been said about most games the Lakers take part in. After all, LA trailed by 27 points to the Charlotte Hornets during Sunday's demoralizing defeat.

Tuesday will feature another round of the top two picks in the 2015 NBA Draft going head-to-head. No. 1 pick Karl-Anthony Towns is averaging 16.6 points and 9.9 rebounds in nearly 30 minutes per game with 49 starts in 49 appearances. Towns appears on track to gain Rookie of the Year honors, and the center's consistent playing time and role have allowed the 7-footer and the Timberwolves avoid controversy.

No. 2 pick D'Angelo Russell has been the center of constant controversy, as the Lakers' rookie has been moved back and forth from the starting lineup to the bench. Over 48 appearances, Russell is averaging 11.9 points, 3.3 assists and 3.7 rebounds in nearly 27 minutes on the court. However, the combo guard has only started 22 games, though Lakers coach Byron Scott has revealed that Russell will return to LA’s starting five before the end of the season.

"When I took (Russell) out of the starting lineup, it was more of, not only that he wasn't playing great but more to let him know that you still haven't earned this," Scott explained his controversial lineup change from earlier in the season. "You still have to fight for this—nothing's given."

Scott continued, "[The] Prime example is Kobe (Bryant). He didn't start for three years. I didn't want (Russell) to just feel that, 'this is who I am, I should be starting on the Lakers, because I'm the second pick.' No, you start because you work hard, and you earn it."

Upon being notified that LA Clippers broadcaster Don MacLean had leveled comments criticizing Scott's restrained development of Russell, Scott took a verbal jab back at the broadcaster by stating that MacLean's opinion helps explain why the former UCLA Bruin was not coaching.

"You don't let a guy almost go out there and embarrass himself, kill himself by playing 35 minutes and creating 10, 12, 15 turnovers," Scott explained his development philosophy. "The one thing that can do is self-destruct him as an individual, so what I try to do is teach these guys, but also protect them from making mistakes like that, from getting ridiculed after a game like that."

"My job is to help these guys develop and that's what I'm going to continue to do," Scott reminded reporters. "Sometimes it's going to be 20 minutes; sometimes it's going to be 25; sometimes it's going to be 30."

On Tuesday night, Russell expects to continue to play as a reserve when the 9-41 Lakers host the 14-35 Timberwolves. Tip-off for the two worst teams in the Western Conference is at 7:30 p.m. Pacific Time. 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[3 Broncos Buses Collide in Bay Area]]> Mon, 01 Feb 2016 23:14:07 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/2016-02-01_14-54-41.jpg

Three Denver Broncos team buses collided with each other in Sunnyvale shortly after leaving a Super Bowl 50 practice session Monday.

California Highway Patrol motorcycle officers were providing a security escort for the team when they encountered slow moving traffic around 1:45 p.m. on southbound U.S. Highway 101 near State Route 237, according to the CHP.

A preliminary investigation shows that a Toyota RAV-4 driver may have made an unsafe turn. The two vehicles leading the motorcade were able to avoid colliding, but the three buses that followed them were not. 

None of the players were injured but one bus was disabled and had to be towed from the scene, the CHP said. The passengers on that bus hopped aboard one of the other team buses and the Broncos players continued to their hotel.

A CHP motorcycle officer, who was involved in the collision, was taken to an area hospital with minor injuries. He was clipped by one of the Broncos' buses as a result of crash, according to the CHP.

Players from both the Broncos and the Carolina Panthers are slated to attend Super Bowl Opening Night at SAP Center in San Jose later Monday evening.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Hernandez Prison Letter Talks Pats]]> Mon, 01 Feb 2016 06:37:31 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/aaron+hernandez1.JPG

Another alleged prison letter from former New England Patriots star player and convicted murderer Aaron Hernandez has come to light. 

The note, first posted by TMZ Sports, praises Hernandez's former teammate Tom Brady while showing contempt for Patriots owner Robert Kraft. 

According to TMZ, Hernandez sent the letter Dec. 10 from the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center to a female pen pal he's exchanged notes with in the past.

READ THE LETTER HERE.

After accusing the recipient of "talking crazy" about him and suggesting ways to kill herself, Hernandez explains he has a TV in his cell and watches all the Patriots games.

"And yes I still root for my squad and still love all the ones I loved," the letter reads. "The closest I was with was probably Brady in whom I love to death and always will and only hope the best for them." 

Hernandez says he still supports the team even though some — including Kraft — no longer support him.

"And fake a-- non loyal Kraft who told me he loved me everytime he seen me but obviously shows his word ain't s--- but my love was real and still love all them cuz I'm not a phony like many of them!" the letter says. "But I watch every game faithfully cheering them on and always will cuz I have love for so many of them!"

Hernandez is serving a life sentence after being convicted last year of the 2013 murder of semi-professional football player Odin Lloyd. 

He has also been indicted in the 2012 killing of two Boston men, whom Hernandez is accused of gunning down after a chance encounter at a nightclub. He has pleaded not guilty. A trial date has not yet been set. 



Photo Credit: AP/File]]>
<![CDATA[Lakers May Shut Down Nance Jr.]]> Mon, 01 Feb 2016 05:33:47 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Larry-Nance-Jr-return-vs-Mavs.jpg

"I think anytime you're dealing with a knee, you have to have some concern," Los Angeles Lakers coach Byron Scott said prior to Tuesday's game.

Rookie Larry Nance had experienced soreness in his knee, and the 23-year-old suddenly looked like he may be out for an extended period of time, even if the step is taken as a precaution. However, judging by Nance's limp prior to Tuesday's game, the former Wyoming Cowboy may simply require the rest.

"My thought process is to, ah, you know we have five games before All-Star weekend, shut him down now and he has another week after All-Star week to get it together," Scott said about how he thought about treating Nance's injury. "So, I'll go in and talk to [Athletic trainer]Gary (Vitti). It's something I discussed with him days ago, about shutting (Nance) down. And I'll go in there and discuss a little bit further and see what he thinks as well."

"[Nance has] had a re-occurrence," Scott continued to explain why he had genuine concerns. "He played a couple of games, had really one day of practice and said it felt a lot like it did in Golden State. So, it was back to where it was. Again, that was after about four, five days [off], so I think keep him off it for a couple weeks and really try to strengthen it, and hopefully, we can really take care of the problem for the rest of the year."

Following 23 minutes against Golden State, Nance played three minutes before leaving the court in Utah. Subsequently, Nance would miss his next four games due to the sore knee. Three games later, the 19-year-old appears to be back in a spot where his knee is in jeopardy. Following his return, Nance told reporters that he had suffered muscle atrophy following knee surgery, but a rush to the court in order to get drafted, a fast summer and the rigors of the NBA season had not allowed him proper time to strengthen his knee.

As such, Nance appears likely to miss the upcoming five games before All-Star break--maybe longer.

"We know that this kid's got a bright, bright future," Scott said about Nance. "So, the one thing we want to do right now is take our time and get him as healthy as possible. If it means him sitting out longer than All-Star break, I'm good with that as well. You know, I want to get him healthy. I'd like to see him play in Summer League, but if not, if he needs the chance or the time to get even healthier there to continue to do the rehab, then so be it."

The Lakers taking a cautious approach with their value selection in the NBA draft is understandable and commendable.

"[Nance] told us a while back that if his leg was strong, we hadn't seen nothin.'" Scott continued talking about the hobbled rookie. "So I'm curious as hell to see how it is when his leg is strong."

"(Nance) did some stuff in preseason and in regular season. He had some dunks that kind of made you jump out your seat, so I would love to see him fully healthy." Scott concluded "I just want to see it. I just want to see him healthy, just to see what capabilities he does have."



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[World Peace Calls it "Brown History Month"]]> Mon, 01 Feb 2016 17:35:28 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Mett-World-Peace-Brown-history-month-29.jpg

The first day of February traditionally marks the start of Black History Month, but Los Angeles Lakers forward Metta World Peace doesn't believe in that name.

"When you look up 'Black' in the dictionary, what do you see?" World Peace asks.

Merriam-Webster offers several definitions for the word, including "of the color black," "dirty, soiled," "thoroughly sinister or evil," and "very sad, gloomy." In an example, the dictionary even uses, "His face was black with rage." After listing the definitions of the word next to his exuberant personality, World Peace points to his dark black shirt and says, "If I'm not the color and I'm definitely not the definition, then, I don't know how I am black."

It's true that the black shirt did not match World Peace's tan skin, but the observation would likely end there for most people. As a reminder, World Peace is not like most people. The socially conscious and publicly outspoken personality decided he wanted to share his concept of "Brown History Month" with a discussion in a classroom on the campus of UCLA.

"I'd rather be a person of love," World Peace explains why he identifies with "Brown History Month" rather than Black History Month. "It's all shades of brown. I think we're all shades of love, the love color—which is brown."

For "brown," Merriam-Webster offers the definition of "Having color like coffee or chocolate" and "having dark or tanned skin."

World Peace clings to this definition when he explains his stance, "Black history: that means we have a problem. That means it's a person with rage's history, when I'd rather have chocolate history or love history."

This, however, is only a small aspect of World Peace's uniquely thought out world view, which derives from a rehabilitated life that could have turned out so, so differently. As he tells it, his family business was selling drugs. By the age of 13, World Peace, known as Ron Artest at the time, says he had learned how to cook and sell crack cocaine.

"My family had no other way to eat," World Peace says, while explaining that he doesn't agree with the drug glorifying lyrical content of modern music. "But it's not cool to glorify it because there's nothing cool about it."

Of course, he openly admits to using misogynistic lyrics on records he made when he was younger, but World Peace regrets those words. While he won't play that type of music in his car anymore, the 36-year-old will still dance to those types of songs at the club because he likes going to the club, obviously.

Like Kobe Bryant, World Peace meditates. Unlike Bryant, World Peace took time to lead meditation classes with inmates at San Quentin State Prison. As World Peace put it, meditation "changed my life," and the positive feedback he received from prisoners serving life sentences had an impact on his own outlook.

"It needs to change in prevention," World Peace says. "You can't wait until people are in jail to try and change them. You got to do it now."

Over the course of several hours of talking on preset historical and cultural topics with interviewer Drea Avent and taking questions from the audience, World Peace's proactive outlook becomes increasingly clear. Why is he speaking for "Brown History Month?" He believes in bringing attention to issues before they become hot button topics that require attention. In his own way, World Peace is doing his part to better his community by donating his time and donating his positive thoughts.

"Brown History Month" serves as a platform for World Peace to have a positive impact and discuss issues that deserve attention. So, for all 29 days of February, World Peace is celebrating "Brown History Month" with daily videos touching various topic on his Youtube Page. You can see the first video below:



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>