<![CDATA[NBC Southern California - Sports]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/sports http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC4_40x125.png NBC Southern California http://www.nbclosangeles.com en-us Tue, 28 Jul 2015 08:32:07 -0700 Tue, 28 Jul 2015 08:32:07 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[More Tax Money Could Fund Stadium Negotiations]]> Tue, 28 Jul 2015 06:41:33 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Collinsworth_Talks_Chargers_Stadium_NBC_RSH-MCDS_1200x675_389884483609.jpg

San Diego County Supervisor Ron Roberts wants taxpayers to contribute another $500,000 for costs associated with negotiating a new San Diego Chargers football stadium in Mission Valley.

Roberts made the request Monday in a memo sent to fellow county supervisors and obtained by NBC 7 Investigates.

The money would come from “Neighborhood Reinvestment Program Funds,” a portion of which is controlled by each supervisor and allocated for use by a majority vote by the board.

Roberts’ request for the $500,000 will be discussed at the board’s Aug. 4 meeting.

According to the memo, the money would be used to pay lawyers and consultants who are working for the city and county on plans for a new stadium.

If approved, this new infusion of $500,000 in county taxpayer money will be in addition to the $250,000 already allocated by the county. The city of San Diego has allocated an equal amount, for a total of $750,000.

In addition, the city will spend $2.1 million in taxpayer funds to prepare an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) on the proposed new stadium.

The Chargers have criticized that EIR, calling it a waste of money because, according to them, it will not withstand an expected legal challenge from opponents of the Mission Valley stadium plan.

The Chargers have also walked away from the negotiating table, after criticizing the city’s plan for a new stadium at the Qualcomm site.

The team’s refusal to negotiate has not made a big impact on Supervisor Roberts.

In a July 15 statement released to NBC 7 Investigates, Roberts’ office specifically said the supervisor would ask his colleagues to approve the additional $500,000 “if the Chargers return to active negotiations.”

So far the team has not done so, and it shows no sign of rejoining the stadium negotiations.

Despite that, Roberts is still supporting the expenditure of another $500,000.

"Ron remains optimistic that after the Aug. 10 meeting in Chicago, both the Chargers and NFL will be negotiation table bound," said the supervisor's spokesman.

<![CDATA[Leah Still Challenges Fellow Charmer Riley Curry To Dance-Off]]> Mon, 27 Jul 2015 17:10:57 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/dance-off-2015.jpg

The battle of the cuties is on.

Leah Still, the 5-year-old daughter of Cincinnati Bengals defensive lineman Devon Still, has challenged fellow Internet sensation Riley Curry to a dance-off.

On Riley’s third birthday, Ayesha Curry, who is married to Warriors point guard Stephen Curry, posted an Instagram video of the charming tot dancing to Silentó's "Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)." 

But Leah, who was diagnosed with cancer in June 2014 and received the Jimmy V. Perseverance Award at the 2015 ESPYS, is confident she can do it better.

Devon Still took to Instagram on Sunday, saying: “I showed Leah the video of Riley doing the whip and all she kept sayin was daddy she can't do it better then me...” 

Still continued: “So I said if that's how you feel then challenge her to a dance off ... so @stephencurry30 the challenge has been sent #RileyKilledTheWhip #ButLeahPracticeThisDanceSoMuchSheBeFeelingHerself #SheLoveSeeingRileyOnTv.” 

Before treating viewers to an adorable performance, Leah says, "Riley, I saw your video. You think you can Whip better than me? I challenge you to do the Whip!"

Stephen and Ayesha Curry, who earlier this month welcomed their second baby girl, Ryan, have still to respond.

Photo Credit: Devon Still, Ayesha Curry
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<![CDATA[WATCH: Half-Court Shot Wins $10K]]> Mon, 27 Jul 2015 15:58:26 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/219*120/willie+cole+shot.jpg

A recent high school graduate from Chicago made an epic half-court shot during a youth basketball tournament over the weekend to win a $10,000 prize.

Willie Cole, 18, sunk the shot with ease during Nike’s Chi League All-Star at Whitney Young High School on Sunday.

Despite having a $10,000 prize on the line, Cole appears calm as he steps toward the line and shoots, as seen in video provided by Nike. A swoosh is heard as the ball falls through the net and the crowd erupts with excitement. Players rush the court to congratulate Cole.

The Chi League All-Star event spotlighted some of the best youth, pro-am and high school basketball players in Chicago.

It’s not clear what Cole, a graduate from TF South High School, will do with his winnings.

Photo Credit: Nike, Inc. ]]>
<![CDATA[Shaq vs. Scottie]]> Mon, 27 Jul 2015 14:57:30 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Shaq_vs_Scottie_1200x675_491995203754.jpg Shaquille O’Neal takes on Scottie Pippen in a social media showdown. Who got the last word? Originally aired on Going Roggin, July 25th, 2015.]]> <![CDATA[Lakers Signees, Tiger Woods, and Space Jam II]]> Mon, 27 Jul 2015 15:05:54 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/212*120/Rapid+Fire.PNG Could we see a Space Jam sequel featuring LeBron James? Does the future of golf depend on the return of Tiger Woods? And is there a gender gap in U.S. Soccer? All that and more as Fred Roggin is joined by Tim Cates from KLAC and Brian Webber from NBC Sports Radio for some Rapid Fire. Originally aired on Going Roggin, July 25th, 2015.]]> <![CDATA[No Fair! Former NBA Star Banned From OC Fair]]> Mon, 27 Jul 2015 14:38:14 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Gilbert-Arenas-Orange-County-Fair.jpg

Former NBA player Gilbert Arenas visited the Orange County Fair over the weekend, but basketball game operators screamed "no fair" after the ex-pro apparently beat every game and claimed just about every prize imaginable.

Arenas' kids appear to be the biggest winners, but according to the star's Instagram account, game operators apparently banned the ex-NBA All-Star after he had already claimed a rather hefty haul of furry prizes.

For those wondering, Arenas' use of the hashtag "Hibachi" references his on-court habit of screaming "Hibachi" as he released a shot--typically a three-pointer. More often than not, he made those shots, too. Arenas has not been in the NBA since 2012, so it would be easy to forget that the 33-year-old once played well enough to secure a six-year, $111 million contract with the Washington Wizards. Injuries and off-court problems--most notably guns in the locker room--stunted the talented shooting guard's career on and off the court. Considering his career earnings, though, Arenas should be equally able to walk into a store and buy these furry animals and a few more.

What was the greater point of all this? First of all, the kids look happy enough to balance out any pain felt by the carnival game operators. Second, the ex-professional proved once and for all that the rims at the fair are beatable--at least at the Orange County Fair.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Tom Brady, NFL in Deflategate Settlement Talks: Source]]> Mon, 27 Jul 2015 13:32:02 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/461977230.jpg

Tom Brady is engaged in settlement talks with the NFL, a source familiar with the talks tells NBC News' Peter Alexander.

Last week, there were reports that the NFL Players' Union had pitched to Commissioner Roger Goodell a possible settlement between Brady and the League.

All of this is playing out as the NFL mulls Brady's four-game suspension, which the quarterback appealed. The NFL determined he was aware of team staffers deflating footballs in the AFC Championship game.

Goodell and Brady last met on June 23 during a suspension appeal hearing.

The Patriots paid a record $1 million fine and were stripped of two draft picks, including a No. 1 selection next year.

The Patriots did not challenge their punishments.

Photo Credit: FILE - Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Making a Play for LA]]> Mon, 27 Jul 2015 13:35:09 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Making+a+play+for+LA.PNG The Angels announce they have no plans to temporarily host the NFL, the stalemate continues in San Diego, and the Raiders will soon know where they’ll call home. Fred Roggin shares the latest on the return of the NFL. Originally aired on Going Roggin, July 25th, 2015.]]> <![CDATA[Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's Documentary]]> Mon, 27 Jul 2015 12:48:05 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Kareem-Abdul-Jabbar-HBO-documentary.jpg

Ignoring the social activism and off-court cultural contributions, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar could easily be considered the greatest basketball player of all time. Six NBA Championships, six Most Valuable Player trophies and the all-time scoring record only begin the laundry list of records and achievements the former Los Angeles Lakers' center holds, but the man's contributions off the court rank evenly with his achievements on the hardwood.

Abdul-Jabbar's omnipresence as the United States of America worked through desegregation and beyond plays a massive role in the new HBO Sports and Mandalay Sports Media documentary tracing Abdul-Jabbar's involvement in all things basketball and society over the past half-century.

"Kareem waited more than twenty years to tell his story and we're delighted to present it on the HBO platform," Deborah Morales, Jabbar's long-time personal manager and producing partner, said in a press release.

Kareem: Minority of One will debut on Nov. 3 on HBO and will also include commentary on Abdul-Jabbar's time at UCLA, when he was known by his birth name of Lew Alcindor. The towering center remains the only player in the history of the NCAA tournament to be named Outstanding Player of Tournament three years in a row. As was the tradition at the time, Alcindor played on the freshmen team during his first year at UCLA. Largely considered the driving force behind the NCAA's banning of the slam dunk in 1967, Abdul-Jabbar perfected the "Sky Hook" and won two more national championships before leaving UCLA. That shot would ultimately become the 7-foot 2-inch center's calling card as he floated to the top of the NBA's scoring list.

Athletes and stars appearing in the documentary include Pat Riley, Earvin "Magic" Johnson, James Worthy, Jerry West, Billy Walton, Larry Bird, Jamaal Wilkes, Julius Erving, Oscar Robertson, and Billy Crystal. The documentary will be narrated by actor Liev Schreiber.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Boston's Olympic Loss Could Spell Win for L.A.]]> Mon, 27 Jul 2015 13:21:47 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/TLMD-boston-olympics-2024-render.jpg

Now that the U.S. Olympic Committee has dropped Boston’s bid for the 2024 Summer Games, Los Angeles is emerging as the back-up city.

“Los Angeles could bid with a couple of years notice,” said Andrew Zimbalist, a professor of economics at Smith College and the author of “Circus Maximus: The Economic Gamble Behind Hosting the Olympics and the World Cup.” “They don’t need seven years notice. They have almost all their venues already intact.”

In a statement Monday the committee's CEO, Scott Blackmun, said the federation was still interested in mounting a bid for the Summer Games. He did not mention a specific city.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said that his office had not had recent conversations with the U.S. Olympic Committee.

"I continue to believe that Los Angeles is the ideal Olympic city and we have always supported the USOC in their effort to return the Games to the United States," he said in a statement. "I would be happy to engage in discussions with the USOC about how to present the strongest and most fiscally responsible bid on behalf of our city and nation."

The U.S. Olympic Commitee ended Boston's bid after Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said at a Monday morning press conference that he was not ready to sign a host city document that would force taxpayers to cover any cost overruns. The U.S. Olympic Committee had wanted him to sign the contract as soon as possible, he said. But he said he would not without more financial information about the Games and was willing to let the committee choose another city over Boston.

The host city contract, which does not need to be signed until 2017, guarantees that the International Olympic Committee will not be held responsible for any cost overruns.

The U.S. Olympic Committee’s board members had also wanted to know whether Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker supported Boston’s bid. Baker spoke to committee officials on Monday but said beforehand that he would have no answer for them because he was waiting to see a full report from a consultant commissioned to analyze the bid.

The deadline to officially submit bids to the International Olympic Committee is Sept. 15. San Francisco and Washington D.C. also competed to be the U.S. selection. A source told NBC Bay Area that it was now too late for San Francisco to submit a bid that could win. Jack Evans, a D.C. council member, said that the city was still vying to be chosen.

“We in the District would still be very interested," Evans said.

Officials from the U.S. Olympic Committee could not immediately be reached for comment.

Earlier Alan Abrahamson, a sportswriter, said that the U.S. Olympic Committee ought to kill Boston’s bid, Abrahamson, a journalism professor at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, called it the most dismal effort he had seen in 16 years of covering the Olympics.

“Los Angeles is America’s Olympic city,” said Abrahamson, who wrote a column on the topic on his website, 3 Wire Sports. “It hosted the Games twice in 1932 and 1984. The Games are a part of the fabric of civic life in Los Angeles.”

Politicians, businesses and the people of California are behind the Olympics, he said. And like Zimbalist, he said Los Angeles could be ready with little notice.

“Los Angeles could host the Games on maybe two years notice and do a fantastic job,” he said.

Before Boston's bid derailed, Zimbalist said that Baker’s position was key because the state not Boston would have to be the Games’ guarantor.

“Nobody ever expected Boston to actually provide a guarantee,” he said. “They don’t have the resources to do it. Their budget is much too small.”

Zimbalist said that he thought Walsh, who had been closely affiliated with the pro-Olympics group, was trying to cover himself should the U.S. Olympic Committee reject Boston.

“I think that he’s trying to step out in front of that train and say, ‘I was first, I never wanted to put the Boston’s taxpayers at risk,’” Zimbalist said.

Boston’s bid had been expected to go to a statewide referendum next year. The organizers had said that if the majority of voters in Massachusetts and Boston did not vote in favor of it they would pull the bid. A group, No Boston Olympics, had formed in opposition to hosting the Games.

Photo Credit: Boston2024.org]]>
<![CDATA[Teen Helps Others Cope With Disabilities]]> Mon, 27 Jul 2015 05:58:52 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Teen_Helps_Others_Cope_With_Disabilities_1200x675_491677251553.jpg Meet a Special Olympics participant who is an athlete and an advocate. Michelle Valles reports for the NBC4 News on Sunday July 26, 2015. ]]> <![CDATA[Top Sports Photos 2015]]> Mon, 27 Jul 2015 05:13:47 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/topSports-GettyImages-481997672.jpg Click to see dramatic game action photos from professional football, hockey, basketball, baseball and more.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Lakers' Gary Vitti Announces Last Season]]> Mon, 27 Jul 2015 05:22:55 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/166464922.jpg

Holding more championship rings than Robert Horry and making more NBA Finals appearances than all NBA franchises not named the Los Angeles Lakers or Boston Celtics, Lakers trainer Gary Vitti has decided that 2015-16 will be his final season as everyday trainer for the purple and gold.

Mike Bresnahan of the LA Times first reported that Vitti would call time on his career after 32 years as the players' go-to guy for every minor or major medical question. That no. 32 means a great deal to the Lakers, and it also meant an awful lot to Vitti. Earvin "Magic" Johnson wore no. 32, and Vitti worked tirelessly to educate the public and the NBA about HIV when the Lakers' star contracted the virus.

Famously, Vitti opted not to use gloves multiple times when treating cuts on Johnson in order to show that direct physical contact with an HIV-positive person would not spread the disease. In a climate of fear, Vitti provided the knowledge and facts that allowed the NBA, Los Angeles and the world to better understand HIV.

In the past couple of seasons, the Lakers' never-ending spat with injuries had an effect on the long-time trainer. Vitti, who often helps lighten the atmosphere with old stories worth telling, occasionally revealed his anxiety and bewilderment over the string of injuries to reporters close to the team. While the Lakers appeared to have followed protocol in every case and no one ever claimed any malpractice, Vitti's forehead would wrinkle a slight bit more with every new season-ending injury.

Vitti has spent more years as an NBA trainer than most NBA players have spent on Earth. He joins Kobe Bryant on one final NBA go-around that the duo can share together. Bryant's departure from the NBA may signal the end of an era on the court, but Vitti's departure signals an even more rare changing of the guard inside the Lakers' locker room and on the bench.

According to the LA Times, Vitti expects to continue in a consulting role for an additional two years.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Bullied Child to Special Olympian: How the Games Saved Man's Life]]> Mon, 27 Jul 2015 10:07:49 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/7-26-15-dustin+plunkett.JPG

Many athletes can attest to the difference sports made in their life, but for former Special Olympics World Games athlete Dustin Plunkett, sports saved his life.

Plunkett, 33, was born with an intellectual disability and cleft palate that affected his speech. Growing up, he was ridiculed for his disabilities.

"It was really tough on top of getting bullied every single day of my life. I was called retard, slow, stupid, dumb," Plunkett told NBC4 on Friday.

But Plunkett now is a far cry from the boy who was bullied by his peers. He's a former athlete at the Special Olympics World Games, member of the Special Olympics of Southern California's board of directors and now an ESPN analyst for the Special Olympics.

As a Global Messenger for the Special Olympics, Plunkett has traveled the world as a public speaker and has stood by Yao Ming at the World Games as well as President Barack Obama at the White House.

"I’m around people that are just like me, I'm around people that were bullied and ridiculed every day of their life growing up," Plunkett told NBC4 in December. "This is our safe place."

Plunkett credits the Special Olympics for not only changing his life, but saving it. When he was going through a pregame medical screening in 2004, a dentist noticed the poor condition of his teeth, and he was later diagnosed with gum cancer.

"If it had gone one more month long, I wouldn't be alive today," Plunkett said last year.

Plunkett has been involved with the Special Olympics since 1996 and has coached athletes in basic sports skills and as the assistant basketball coach for Southern California's Lakewood Special Olympics program, according to the organization.

"I was told I was going to be worth nothing in my life," Plunkett said. "And now look at me."

Photo Credit: Jorge Diaz]]>
<![CDATA[Teen Triathlete Wins First Gold at Special Olympics]]> Mon, 27 Jul 2015 08:04:31 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/150726-noah-dellas-special-olympics.jpg

A 17-year-old from South New Jersey hit the water first at Alamitos Beach in Long Beach and never looked back, winning the triathlon that kicked off the 2015 Special Olympics World Games on Sunday.

Noah Dellas took just under an hour and 13 minutes (1:12:58) to complete the half-mile swim, 20 kilometer bike, and 5k run.

Asked in the finishing chute how he felt, Dellas replied simply, "OK." It was his second thrill of the weekend, after seeing his swimming inspiration, Olympic legend Michael Phelps, at Saturday night's opening ceremonies at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

Coach Lisa Rumer, who trained all four Team USA members in the international field of 22, recalled Dellas’ shyness during the first few months after he began training.

"As he understand that we cared and wanted him to succeed, and he started to create goals because he knew he could do it, that's when he branched out and really took hold of his passion," Rumer said.

Among the women, New Jersey teammates Amy Noctor, 27, and Courtney Dreyfus, 18, finished second and third, respectively.

The Special Olympics were created for athletes with intellectual disabilities, such as Asperger's and Downs syndrome. There is a broad spectrum among the 6,500 athletes who have come from 165 nations.  The World Games are being held in greater Los Angeles for the first time in four decades.

In a tent cooling off after their race, Noctor and Dreyfus both spoke of how the Special Olympics movement has helped them overcome challenges they face and broadened their daily lives.

"You can just be you. You don't have to hide anything and you can push beyond your boundaries," said Dreyfus.

Amy's parents dedcribed the progress they've seen in her.

"Amy does not make a lot of friends on her own, but when she comes here she meets a lot of people and talks to them," said Mathew Noctor, Amy's father.

"She's become more independent, more sure of herself," said Heidi Noctor, Amy's mother.

"It's given me a life. It's the best part of my life right now," said Amy.

"Amen," added her father.

The first ever World Games triathlon featured another innovation: allowing non-Special Olympic athletes on the course as a "unified" event. Pro Triathlete Heather Jackson said it proved mutually inspirational for both groups of athletes. Jackson also marveled at the enthusiasm of the fans in the finishing chute - "more than for some pro triathlons," she said.

Among team sports, beach volleyball was also unified, enabling some non-Special Olympic athletes to play on the same team. The initial reaction of spectators was positive.

"I just think it's a great idea," said volunteer Tracy Lambert.

Events continue across the Southland through next weekend.

Photo Credit: KNBC]]>
<![CDATA[Uribe Hurts Former Team in Mets Walk Off Win ]]> Sun, 26 Jul 2015 20:17:49 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/209*120/Screen+Shot+2015-07-26+at+5.26.44+PM.png

The Dodgers rallied for two runs in the ninth, but were thwarted in the 10th by their old friend Juan Uribe and the New York Mets edged out Los Angeles 3-2 at Citi Field on Sunday.

Uribe knocked in the game-winning run against his former team for the third time in a week: twice with the Braves on Monday and Tuesday, and again on Sunday with his new team, the New York Mets.

"For me, every game you win is important for the team," Uribe said. "Washington lost today. When you see the other team you're fighting for in the division lose, you have to win."

Overshadowing Uribe's reunion with the Dodgers was the highly anticipated pitching duel between National League All-Stars Jacob deGrom and Zack Greinke.

Greinke flew to New York on Saturday after staying in Los Angeles with his wife, Emily, to witness the birth of their first child, Bode. Greinke took his 43.2 scoreless innings streak to the mound, but the Mets scratched a run across in the third inning.

"Surprisingly, it wasn't as much as a distraction as you would think, flying back-and-forth across the country wasn't too bad," Greinke said. "I felt strong today. I started off really well and got worse as the game went along."

The former 2009 Cy Young Award winner had preached luck and making good pitches throughout the streak, but his luck ran out when he led off the inning by beaming Kirk Nieuwenhuis in the back. Kevin Plawecki followed with a bloop single to center that Joc Pederson bobbled, advancing Nieuwenhuis to third.

One batter later, DeGrom came to the plate and hit a slow chopper to first that Adrian Gonzalez threw home. Nieuwenhuis just slid under the tag and the run scored, ending the streak at 45.2 innings, the fourth longest in MLB history.

"If anything I feel negative about it, having to answer questions about it all the time," Greinke said of the streak. "I think everyone appreciates Hersheiser's streak. Maybe it will get broken, but my streak just shows people are getting closer to it, so maybe it will get broken."

Greinke got a no-decision in the game allowing two runs on four hits in seven strong innings.

DeGrom out pitched his All-Star counterpart and was one out away from picking up his 11th win of the season. DeGrom allowed no runs on just two-hits with eight strikeouts in 7.2 innings before leaving the game with two outs in the eighth inning for Mets closer Jeurys Familia.

Familia came back out in the ninth, looking for a four-out save, but after back-to-back doubles by Gonzalez and Justin Turner, Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal hit the game-tying RBI single.

The game would go to extra innings where rookie Joc Pederson continued his nightmare of day. After his error all but allowed Greinke's streak to end in the third, Pederson came up in the top of the 10th with one-out and a runner on third -- Put the ball in play to the right side and the Dodgers would take the lead--Instead, Pederson struck out, stranding the runner.

That set the table for a storybook ending for former Dodgers' third baseman Uribe. Uribe was traded from Los Angeles to Atlanta in late-May, and again on Friday from Atlanta to New York with teammate Kelly Johnson.

Curtis Granderson led off the 10th with a double, but after a failed bunt and an intentional walk, the Dodgers brought in closer Kenley Jansen to face "Papi." Jansen struck out Uribe on Wednesday in Atlanta to end the game with the tying run on second. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly was hoping for a similar outcome on Sunday.

But, this time Uribe flipped the script, doubling off the center field wall and scoring Granderson as the Mets mobbed their new teammate, defeating the Dodgers in walk-off fashion.

"I think in this moment, it's like when you play in the playoffs, in the World Series, and you win it," Uribe said about beating his former team.

Game Notes:
The Dodgers finished 5-5 on their 10-game East Coast road trip.

Please refresh this page for more updates, stats and player reactions…

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Surfer Catches A Wave On Fire]]> Sat, 25 Jul 2015 18:56:13 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Surfer_Catches_A_Wave_On_Fire_1200x675_491314243896.jpg Jamie O'Brien got the idea to surf while on fire from Instagram.]]> <![CDATA[WATCH: Surfer Rides Wave on Fire]]> Sat, 25 Jul 2015 18:57:00 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Surfer+Of+Fire.jpg

Jamie O’Brien is a professional surfer who’s known for catching big waves … and his even bigger personality. O’Brien is the star of the Red Bull TV Web Series, "Who is JOB 5.0." He wanted to make this season really stand out, so while in Tahiti for an event he finally got to do something he’s been toying with for more than a year.

O’Brien solicited ideas for the show from fans on his Instagram account. One of them really caught his eye.

“They said, ‘It would be cool if you lit yourself on fire,’ and I thought, might as well,” O’Brien said. “So I went in to Red Bull and I said, Hey I want to light myself on fire and go in to a barrel at Teahupo’o, and they looked at me like … Are you for real?”

Oh, he was for real, alright. O’Brien put on 15 pounds-worth of clothing, from thermal suits to sweatshirts and a wetsuit and, with the help of nearly two-dozen people, lit himself on fire and took off through a massive barrel.

As you can see in the video, some of the flames crept up to the side of his face, giving him a bit of a burn and scorching part of his eyebrow (the fire was eventually extinguished by the spray of the waves). But the experience from Jamie’s perspective was otherworldly.

“(When) you’re on fire in the barrel, the whole wave lights up fluorescent orange,” said O’Brien, after pulling off the ride of a lifetime. “It’s a really crazy feeling that you can’t even explain.”

I’m not sure what Jamie could possibly do to top this. But, I’m sure a few people who follow him on Instagram will be able to come up with something.

Photo Credit: Courtesy Red Bull]]>
<![CDATA[Special Olympics Opening Ceremony Kick-off]]> Mon, 27 Jul 2015 06:38:48 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-481983578.jpg

Seven thousand athletes representing 177 countries gathered to kick off the 2015 Special Olympics World Games at the Los Angeles Coliseum Saturday night, marking the largest event hosted by the city since the 1984 Summer Olympic Games.

First Lady Michelle Obama, along with a slew of other celebrities, attended Saturday's opening ceremony, which included performances by Stevie Wonder, Avril Lavigne, Cody Simpson and Nicole Scherzinger.

"It's all about doing the best that you can do, the best that you're capable of and sharing in the joy," said Bob Gladwell of the Lake Arrowhead Rotary Club. "And you spend time with the athletes here and you know you get so much more than they get."

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Athletes will compete in 25 sporting events during the games, concluding on Aug. 2. More than 500,000 spectators are expected to attend the free events.

Dylan Rae of Australia is a Special Olympics bowler who isn't competing, but traveled to LA to cheer on his fellow Australians.

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"It just gives Dylan an opportunity to socialize with his peers and also to be a bit independent and enjoy sports just like everybody else can," Julie Rae, Dylan's mother, said.

Coaches and competitors have been attending welcome parties around Southern California since last week. The torch, also known as the Flame of Hope, has been making its way through California and will make its final stop in LA at the opening ceremony.

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NBC4 reporter Kate Larsen contributed to this story.

This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Zach Lee Has Disastrous Debut]]> Sat, 25 Jul 2015 19:37:16 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/205*120/Screen+Shot+2015-07-25+at+7.30.53+PM.png

Zach Lee made his first ever big league start on Saturday, and had a disastrous debut as the New York Mets scored a season-high 15 runs on 21 hits, demolishing the Dodgers 15-2 at Citi Field.

Kelly Johnson made his debut with the Mets after being acquired from the Braves via trade earlier in the day. Johnson hit a home run his third at-bat in what would turn out to be Lee's final pitch of the day.

Juan Uribe, who was also traded to the Mets on Saturday, reunited with his former Dodgers teammates just two days after they left Atlanta. Uribe was surrounded by teammates before the game and replaced Daniel Murphy at third base in the sixth inning.

The Mets jumped all over the Dodgers from the get go, scoring four runs in the first inning thanks to the first ever hit, an RBI single by rookie Michael Conforto.

Confroto went 4-for-4 with four runs scored in just his second game in the big leagues. Conforto was called up from Double-A Binghamton on Friday and was given a standing ovation by the New York crowd.

Kirk Nieuwenhuis also went 4-for-4 with four RBIs and two runs scored as the Mets had a season-high 15 runs on 21 hits.

Lee 's debut could not have gone any worse as the 23-year old right-hander allowed seven runs on eleven hits in 4.2 innings.

Matt Harvey (9-7) was meticulous and efficient for the Mets, allowing two runs on six hits with four strikeouts in seven innings. Harvey's only mistakes were two solo home runs to Jimmy Rollins and Joc Pederson.

Rollins homered for the third consecutive game in the top of the 5th inning, knocking in the Dodgers first run. Rollins went 2-for-3 increasing his lead amongst active players in hits against the Mets with 281. Rollins is just eight hits behind Lou Brock of second all-time.

Pederson also homered for Los Angeles as the All-Star rookie center hit his 21st long ball of the season.

Game Notes:
Philadelphia Phillies starter Cole Hamels threw a no-hitter against the Chicago Cubs on Saturday. Hamels is rumored to be a top trade target by the Dodgers with just six days remaining before the MLB trade deadline.

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Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Turner Stays Hot, Scorches Mets 7-2]]> Fri, 24 Jul 2015 19:40:35 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/203*120/Screen+Shot+2015-07-24+at+6.46.10+PM.png

Justin Turner, Yasiel Puig, and Jimmy Rollins all homered and the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the New York Mets 7-2 on Friday at Citi Field.

Turner has been on fire against his former team as the red-headed third baseman went 3-for-5 with two doubles, two RBIs, a home run and a run scored. Turner played 159 games for the Mets from 2010 to 2013, and was non-tendered by the Mets and signed by the Dodgers just before the 2014 season.

"I'm comfortable hitting here, and enjoyed hitting here when I played here for the Mets," Turner said about Citi Field. "It's a familiar feeling in the box and obviously I hit well here tonight. "

Ian Thomas made his first start in a Dodgers uniform after pitching in the minor leagues for most of the year. Thomas (1-1) is a dead look alike for reigning MVP Clayton Kershaw and is often considered his doppleganger.

Thomas did his best Kershaw impression on the mound on Friday, allowing just one run on three hits with five strikeouts in five innings. Thomas was acquired from Atlanta in late-May in the deal that sent Juan Uribe to the Braves.

"Having Greinke down on paternity leave, I thought it was big to be able to give our guys a chance," Thomas said. "We put the bat on the ball early and for me to come in and put those shutout innings up, I thought that was key."

Thomas came out of the bullpen as a reliever earlier in the year in an appearance in Colorado against the Rockies. Thomas gave up four runs and got the loss that day, but says he's ready to contribute wherever he is needed for the team.

"I've had a handful of starts over the years, whatever keeps us in the game and helps us win I'm willing to do," Thomas continued.

Super-utility, Kiké Hernandez, was inserted into the Dodgers lineup last minute in left field after Alex Guerrero who was originally slated to start the game, was scratched with lower back tightness. Hernandez made the most of his opportunity going 2-for-4 with a run scored.

Turner doubled in the first run of the game in the top of the first inning, and Joc Pederson doubled home Jimmy Rollins in the second.

With the score 3-0 in the top of the third inning, Turner hit a blast to left field off Jonathon Niese for his 13th home run of the season. Two batters later, after a Scott Van Slyke single, Puig hit a two-run bomb to the same spot as Turner to give the Dodgers a comfortable 6-0 lead.

Niese (5-9) struggled on the mound allowing six runs on eight hits in just three innings.

Rollins hit a moon shot in the top of the eighth inning, his second consecutive game with a solo home run. Rollins went 2-for-3 with two runs scored and now has 279 hits against the Mets, the most among all active players and just 10 behind Lou Brock for second most in MLB history.

Josh Ravin who was recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City before the game pitched a perfect ninth inning for the Dodgers.

Game Notes:
Zack Greinke was scheduled to start the game for the Dodgers putting his 43.2 inning scoreless streak on the line. However, Greinke flew to Los Angeles to be with his wife Emily as they gave birth to their son Bode who was born on Thursday night.


A big congratulations to Zack & Emily Greinke, on the birth of their son, Bode. He was born last night!

A photo posted by Alanna Rizzo (@alannarizzo) on

According to multiple reports, the Dodgers may be reunited with their former third baseman, Juan Uribe. Uribe, affectionately known in the Dodgers organization as "Papi," has been acquired in a trade with the NY Mets and could be in New York to face the Dodgers on Saturday.

Please refresh this page for more updates, stats and player reactions…

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Could Reunite With Juan Uribe in New York on Saturday]]> Fri, 24 Jul 2015 18:43:13 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/210*120/Screen+Shot+2015-07-24+at+6.28.35+PM.png

According to multiple reports around the MLB, the New York Mets are close to acquiring former Dodgers third baseman and Juan Uribe from the Atlanta Braves. The framework of the deal as it stands would also include Atlanta utility man Kelly Johnson in exchange for pitching prospects John Grant and Rob Whalen from the minors.

Ironically, the Mets are in the midst of a four-game series with Uribe's former team the Los Angeles Dodgers who celebrated "Juan Uribe Bobblehead Night," on July 11th, just days before the All-Star Game. If the trade goes through on Friday night as it's expected to, Uribe could in a Mets uniform on Saturday, once again facing his former team.

The Dodgers have nightmares after finishing a three-game series in Atlanta in which they lost two out of three games. Uribe knocked in the go-ahead run in each of the first two games before striking out with the tying run on base in the bottom of the ninth in the finale on Wednesday.

Uribe, 36, was traded from the Dodgers to the Braves in late-May and has batted .272 with both teams this season. He has eight home runs on the year and would immediately be inserted into a starting role at third base with the Mets as they await the return of David Wright from the disabled list.

The Mets are in dire need of offensive help after being shutout by Clayton Kershaw on Thursday. New York has struggled scoring runs after the All-Star break with multiple starters on the disabled list.

On Friday, the Mets promoted No. 3 prospect Michael Conforto from Double-A Binghamton, bypassing Triple-A and starting in left field for the Mets against the Dodgers.

Johnson, 33, is hitting .275 with nine home runs in 62 games for the Braves this season. He is a valuable asset on defensive has he plays five different positions.

Uribe and Johnson are making a combined $8 million in 2015, and are both free agents at the end of the year.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[No Family Speech at Seau Induction]]> Fri, 24 Jul 2015 14:04:43 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Seau-as-Charger-72499459.jpg

Junior Seau's family will not be invited to speak when the linebacker is inducted into the NFL's Professional Football Hall of Fame in August, according to several published reports.

Seau, considered by many to be the greatest linebacker in NFL history, will enter the HOF August 8 with Jerome Bettis, Tim Brown, Charles Haley, Bill Polian, Will Shields, Mick Tingelhoff and Ron Wolf.

Unlike the others, Seau will be honored with only a video presentation, according to a report published Friday in the New York Times.

On May 2, 2012, Seau was found dead of a self-inflicted shotgun wound in his Oceanside home right along the shore. His death occurred less than three years after his retirement from football.

Seau's family filed a wrongful death suit claiming his death was the result of brain disease caused by violent hits during football.

Then, his relatives opted out of a settlement in a federal class-action lawsuit and are still fighting with the NFL in court over what they say was a decades-long deception about concussions and brain injuries.

His former wife, Gina, and his four children want more information to emerge about the debilitating effects of head injuries, according to their lawyer, Steven M. Strauss, a partner with the Cooley law firm in San Diego.

Before his death, Seau told family members that if he ever made it into the HOF, he wanted his daughter Sydney to to introduce him, the NY Times reports.

“I just want to give the speech he would have given. It wasn’t going to be about this mess. My speech was solely about him,” she told the paper.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Surfing Competition, Security in Huntington Beach]]> Fri, 24 Jul 2015 07:47:35 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/196*120/07-24-2015-surfing-us-open-1.JPG Thousands will be in Huntington Beach this weekend of the U.S. Open of Surfing, an event that showcases some amazing and gifted athletes. Annette Arreola reports for Today in LA on Friday July 24, 2015.

Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[Surf Scenes in Southern California]]> Fri, 24 Jul 2015 06:54:41 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/surfing-wedge-newport-beach-swell.jpg Surf's up in Southern California. Here's your fix of surf shots from across SoCal.

Photo Credit: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Kershaw Loses Perfect Game in 7th, Dodgers Win]]> Thu, 23 Jul 2015 19:32:09 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/197*120/Screen+Shot+2015-07-23+at+6.26.21+PM.png

Attention baseball: Clayton Kershaw is unhittable.

The reigning NL MVP took a perfect game into the seventh inning on Thursday as the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the New York Mets 3-0 in the first game of a four game series on Thursday at Citi Field.

Kershaw (8-6) threw a complete game shutout, allowing just three hits, with no walks, and 11 strikeouts over nine innings, extending his scoreless streak to 29 innings.

"There's a lot of luck that has to happen to throw a perfect game," Kershaw said. "Once the seventh inning rolled around I thought it could be possible, but it didn't last very long."

It was Kershaw's 11th complete game shutout of his career as the three-time Cy Young award winner became the first pitcher since the man himself (Cy Young – 1905) to have 10+ strikeouts, no runs and no walks in three consecutive starts.

Kershaw has 1.22 ERA in his last 11 starts, allowing 11 earned runs with 11 walks and 112 strikeouts.

"I feel like I have pretty good command right now, especially with my fastball," Kershaw continued. "I got in a pretty good rhythm there, and once Jimmy hit that home run I felt good."

Kershaw's perfect game was broken up in the seventh inning when Curtis Granderson led off with a line drive single to right field.

"I thought for a second there we were going to throw a no-hitter, potentially a perfect game," Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal said. "He made a good pitch on Granderson, but he got the bat on the ball."

Kershaw is 6-0 in nine career starts with a 1.49 ERA against the NY Mets. The Mets were also the only team that Kershaw had not beaten in the past three years until today. Kershaw's last victory over the 'Amazing Mets' was on July 1, 2012.

"Looks like he's back, he's been lights out," Grandal continued. "He's answering all those critics who asked 'Where has Clayton gone?' Looks like he's been here all along."

Jimmy Rollins hit a solo shot to right center off of Bartolo Colon in the third inning. Rollins leads all active players in hits against the Mets with 277. He trails only Pete Rose (396) and Lou Brock (289) for the most against the Mets all-time.

Colon was equally impressive for New York, unfortunately he ran into a buzz saw in Kershaw who is simply unhittable at the moment as he white washed the Mets.

Colon (9-9) was the hard-luck loser allowing just one run on five hits with four strikeouts over eight strong innings.

"We were overmatched tonight," Mets manager Terry Collins said matter of factly.

Adrian Gonzalez went 3-for-4 with three singles on the day.

The Dodgers loaded the bases in the top of the ninth with no outs and Mets reliever Carlos Torres walked in a run, before a sac fly to right field by Yasiel Puig made it 3-0.

Kiké Hernandez started at second base in place of Howie Kendrick.

Game Notes:
Since 1914, only one pitcher had three consecutive starts with at least 10 strikeouts and no walks. Chris Archer did it earlier this year, as Kershaw becomes the second starting pitcher to do it over the last 101 years.

It was the Dodgers MLB leading 15th shutout of the year.

Please refresh this page for more updates, stats and player reactions…

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Curry Wishes 'Happy Birthday' to Boy Fighting Cancer]]> Fri, 24 Jul 2015 10:54:59 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/202*120/stephmain1.png

Hundreds of birthday cards arrived last weekend for a nine-year-old Texas boy fighting a rare type of cancer, according to KWTX. The wishes kept pouring in from friends, family and well-wishers all weekend

Then on Wednesday, Taliq got a message from his favorite NBA player.

Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry wished Taliq a happy birthday and speedy recovery via a video message on Twitter.

Taliq's mother Tanisha wanted to make his tenth birthday a special one because she believes little words of encouragement will help him battle his cancer, KWTX reported. So she asked everyone she knew — and strangers — to send him birthday cards.

Doctors diagnosed Taliq with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma on Feb. 18. DIPG is a type of brain tumor found in the pons, part of the brainstem on the lower back of the brain, KWTX reported. Taliq gained 55 pounds since his diagnosis.

Taliq's mother said that the birthday cards and gifts — some which arrived all the way from Australia — immediately made him feel better. Taliq didn't complain about a headache for the first time in months. "Tears just came to my eyes because as a mother, I have been waiting four months to wait to hear him say those words," she told KWTX.

Taliq's mother Tanisha has set up a Go Fund Me site for her son.

Photo Credit: Tanisha Davis via Go Fund Me/Stepen Curry
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<![CDATA[Special Olympics Athletes Start Final Torch Run]]> Thu, 23 Jul 2015 13:07:41 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/special+olympics+torch.jpg

Athletes are celebrating the final leg of the Special Olympics torch relay Thursday as they run through Los Angeles' city council districts ahead of this weekend's Opening Ceremony and the World Games competition.

Link: Torch Run Route, Schedule

Special Olympics participants accompanied by law enforcement officer left the Millennium Biltmore Hotel on Grand Avenue as final torch ceremonies began Thursday morning. The ceremonial runs, part of a partnership between the Special Olympics and law enforcement agencies from across the country, will cover three routes in each of the city's 15 council districts, ending at 5 p.m.

Three teams are carrying three torches for the citywide celebration.

The Flame of Hope will be part of a ceremony at City Hall Friday morning before it lights the ceremonial caldron during the Opening Ceremony Saturday in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

After the original torch was lit in Athens in May, three other torches were ignited in Maine, Florida and Washington, D.C. and carried across the country in the first-ever Special Olympics United Relay Across America.

Participants ran, biked and walked with the torch, known as the Flame of the Hope, across all 50 states before the three legs of the relay converged on Bank of America Plaza in downtown LA to light the Special Olympics caldron.

<![CDATA[Bolsinger, Callapso Deliver for Dodgers]]> Thu, 23 Jul 2015 03:33:34 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/194*120/Screen+Shot+2015-07-23+at+3.30.20+AM.png

Mike Bolsinger finally gave Los Angeles the start they needed, and Albert Callaspo beat his former team with the bat and the glove as the Dodgers salvaged the final game of the series, defeating the Atlanta Braves 3-1 on Wednesday.

Bolsinger lasted seven strong innings for the first time this season, baffling the Braves hitters allowing just one run on three hits for his first win since June 8th.

"Bolsinger was good all day," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "He seemed like he could kind of do what he wanted with the breaking ball. We needed it today."

Bolsinger (5-3) had gone into the seventh inning or deeper just one other time this season as the Texas right-hander had been troubled with food poisoning, faulty circuit breakers and a bad fastball at various times on the year.

"I guess I was throwing too many curveballs," Bolsinger said of his fastball. "If you show me you're not hitting a pitch, why would I go to something else? That's baseball. If you show me you're not doing something, I'm going to keep attacking weaknesses."

The Dodgers needed Bolsinger to give them a quality start after starting pitches Brandon Beachy and Brett Anderson lasted 6.2 innings over the past two days. That meant the bullpen was taxed after pitching 9.1 innings of consecutive days.

Meanwhile, the Boys in Blue were sick and tired of their former third baseman Juan Uribe beating them with clutch RBIs over the past two days. On Wednesday, it was the other third baseman involved in the trade that helped the Dodgers avoid the sweep.

Callaspo, who was acquired from the Braves for Uribe on May 27th, knocked in the go-ahead run, and made a tremendous defensive play in the bottom of the ninth to help the Dodgers avoid their first three-game losing streak since June 15-17.

Jimmy Rollins and Joc Pederson also drove in runs for LA off Braves starter Julio Teheran. Teheran (6-5) pitched well through the first four innings before struggling in the fifth. Teheran allowed three runs on six hits with three walks in seven innings.

Kenley Jansen worked the ninth for his 17th save of the season. Fittingly, Jansen struck out friend and former teammate Uribe on the final pitch of the game.

Game Notes:
Teheran is now 0-4 with a 6.07 ERA in four career starts against the Dodgers.

Brett Anderson's MRI came back negative on Wednesday, showing no damage to the Achilles tendon. Anderson will need rest and the irritation to die down before his next start.

Legendary Dodgers pitcher, Fernando Valenzuela, became a US Citizen in a ceremony in downtown Los Angeles earlier in the day.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dodger Great Fernando Valenzuela Becomes US Citizen]]> Thu, 23 Jul 2015 01:15:11 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/131006-fernando-valenzuela-los-angeles-dodgers.jpg

It's been 34 years since Fernandomania took baseball fans by storm.

On Wednesday, the legendary Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher who sparked the craze added another milestone to his timeline - he became a U.S. citizen.

Fernando Valenzuela, a native of Sonora, Mexico, joined nearly 8,000 others from more than 130 countries at a naturalization ceremony in downtown LA to take the oath of allegiance, the Dodgers announced.

"The Los Angeles Dodgers extend their congratulations to broadcaster and legendary left-hander Fernando Valenzuela," the team said in a news release.

In 1981 - two years after coming to the U.S. - Valenzuela entered his rookie season with the Dodgers. He became the first pitcher in the majors to capture the Cy Young and Rookie of the Year awards in the same season, and helped Los Angeles win a World Series title.

Valenzuela is now in his 13th season calling Dodger games from the broadcast booth.

According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the top 10 countries represented at Wednesday's ceremonies were:

1. Mexico
2. Philippines
3. Vietnam
4. Iran
5. China
6. El Salvador
7. South Korea
8. Guatemala
9. India
10. Armenia

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[U.S. Requests Extradition of Former FIFA VP]]> Wed, 22 Jul 2015 20:24:54 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/AP_473903051335.jpg

The U.S. formally requested the extradition Wednesday of Trinidad and Tobago lawmaker Jack Warner, the former FIFA vice president at the center of the world soccer corruption scandal, the country's attorney general said. 

"The process is now for me to examine the documentation and consider the evidence and decide whether to issue the authority to proceed," Attorney General Garvin Nicholas said at a news conference on Wednesday.

The U.S. said it would seek Warner's extradition on charges of racketeering, wire fraud, and money laundering conspiracy. 

<![CDATA[Lakers Introduce Hibbert, Bass, Williams]]> Wed, 22 Jul 2015 13:16:39 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Lakers-intro-Roy-Hibbert-7-22-15.jpg

Late Wednesday morning, the Los Angeles Lakers introduced three major additions to their roster: Roy Hibbert, Lou Williams and Brandon Bass. Unlike the majority of the current roster, all three of these additions bring experience and expect to see regular minutes in the rotation for the upcoming season.

All three players repeated the same phrase when describing what brought them to LA: "A fresh start." An added motivation for all three players was LA's ability to guarantee playing time, which is largely due to the Lakers' inability to play competitive basketball for the past couple seasons.

Of the trio, only Hibbert has his name in the starting-five written in pen. As a 7-foot 2-inch monster, Hibbert joins the Lakers and immediately becomes their starting center and best overall defender. The big man also shared that he had previously worked with Laker great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on the court and off it. If the 28-year-old Hibbert can further develop his offensive game, the Lakers would be ecstatic, but the main purpose of bringing the New York native to LA was defense.

"My main presence is going to be at the rim," Hibbert said. "Last year, the Lakers were 28th in defensive efficiency, so my job is to clog up paint, help-side defense, and whatever else I get on the offensive end is candy. My main presence is going to be on defense and make sure these guys know I have their back."

Actually, the Lakers ranked 29th in defensive rating a season ago, so Hibbert's addition is all the more worthwhile.

After the introduction press conference, Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak shared thoughts with a group of reporters and confirmed that undrafted rookie center Robert Upshaw would likely only make the roster as a player to develop for the future--if he even makes the roster. Barring any major moves, Tarik Black and Robert Sacre enter the season fighting for the backup center position, but Hibbert fills a massive need for the defensively inept Lakers of a season ago.

Williams may not be a starter when the season gets going, but that is only because the scoring guard won the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year Award a season ago. The Toronto Raptors opted not to pursue the explosive scorer in the summer, but Williams opted not to air out his dirty laundry and took the high road when talking about his former team--similar to Hibbert when he was asked about the Indiana Pacers. Starting or not, Williams' regular place in the rotation is not in question.

Williams' addition, though, does bring into question how Nick Young now fits into the team. Lakers coach Byron Scott will likely sort out Young and Williams' roles during training camp in October, but Williams was questioned on who would shoot if Young and Williams both took the court at the same time: "Whoever has the ball."

When asked about depth at guard, Kupchak admitted that having only Jabari Brown--if he makes the roster--Jordan Clarkson, D'Angelo Russell and Williams left the Lakers a bit thin in the back court. Kupchak revealed that the discussion of adding a guard was ongoing internally, but the Lakers' GM coyly avoided committing either way.

"We may look to bring another guard onboard; we may not," Kupchak said in his typically calculated fashion.

Of course, the four-guard backcourt considers Kobe Bryant and Young as small forwards with rookie Anthony Brown playing spot minutes in garbage time.

At power forward, the Lakers introduced a 10-season veteran in Bass. However, Scott recently expressed his "hope" that the Lakers' top pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, Julius Randle, would rise up and take the starting spot. Regardless of which one starts, Randle and Bass expect to split the bulk of the minutes at the power forward position, leaving Ryan Kelly as a third unique stretch-four option at the position. Kelly can stretch the floor and shoot three-pointers better than any other big man on the Lakers' roster. Larry Nance Jr. provides the Lakers a fourth option at power forward, but the rookie does not expect to see regular minutes in the Lakers' rotation to start the season.

On Wednesday, the Lakers introduced three new additions that all expect to play vital roles in the upcoming season and could even be starters. The cumulative successes of Hibbert, Bass and Williams will have a major impact on the Lakers' struggle to return to relevance.

Photo Credit: Shahan Ahmed]]>
<![CDATA[Simmons Lands HBO Talk Show Deal]]> Wed, 22 Jul 2015 09:34:34 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/simmons5.jpg

The man formerly known as "The Boston Sports Guy" is set to join HBO, according to the New York Times.

Simmons will start working for HBO in October and will host a talk show that will begin airing next year. He's also expected to do podcasts for the cable network.

ESPN announced in May that it would not be renewing Simmons' contract. At ESPN, Simmons helped create the "30 for 30" sports documentary series and launched the sports and culture website Grantland.

He got his start writing for the Boston Herald and for Digital City Boston in the 1990s, where he was known as "The Boston Sports Guy." He is also a former writer for "Jimmy Kimmel Live!"

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Special Olympics: 10 Interesting Facts]]> Wed, 22 Jul 2015 11:07:15 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/specialolympicsGettyImages-450685194.jpg

The Special Olympics and the Special Olympics World Games are a widely known, much followed, much loved show of sportsmanship and skill and camaraderie and commitment.

And while Southern California is hosting the 2015 summer World Games, where spectators will see "the power of 6,500 athletes with intellectual disabilities competing to be champions of their sports," some spectators new to the Special Olympics might not know the full story behind the games, or at least some of the details of its epic, decades-long unfolding.

Here are ten tidbits about the joyous show of athletic prowess that's set to captivate Los Angeles for a week and the larger world as well...

1. While the World Games gain much deserved attention, Special Olympics oversees "over 90,000 events a year worldwide," from golf tourneys to soccer games.

2. A summer day camp was the start of what would grow to be a globe-spanning phenomenon. Founded by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the camp took place in Mrs. Shriver's own backyard where morning calisthenics were the first order of the day.

3. Some 50 volunteers worked at the 1962 summer camp at the Shriver residence.

4. That number has grown exponentially over the years. Today "we have more than 1 million coaches and volunteers..." reveals the organization.

5. And they work around the planet. There are over 226 host sites to the Special Olympics encompassing over 170 countries in all.

6. How old should you be to participate in the Special Olympics? The start age is 8, though there is a Special Olympics Young Athletes program, where tots as young as 2 join in.

7. The competitions have a moving oath, and it is this: "Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt."

8. That oath is far-reaching: "Over 4.4 million athletes with intellectual disabilities are involved in Special Olympics programs around the world."

9. What are the most popular sports in the Special Olympics? The organization says athletics, football (soccer), basketball, bocce, and bowling top the roster.

10. With millions of athletes and over a million volunteers and coaches, fans of the Special Olympics have many competitions to look forward to cheering on over the course of a year. In 2013 there were, around the globe, over 81,000 competitions in all.

Support these fantastic athletes as they take to the fields, courts, and pools during the Special Olympics World Games: Los Angeles 2015. The games are on from July 25 through Aug. 2 at points around Southern California.

Need a handy Spectator Guide? There's one full of helpful tips for where to go, what to bring, and more.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Barcelona Beats LA Galaxy 2-1 in Front of Record Rose Bowl Crowd]]> Tue, 21 Jul 2015 23:58:04 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/200*120/Screen+Shot+2015-07-21+at+10.01.41+PM.png

Tommy Meyer scored in stoppage time, but it was not enough to overcome Luis Suarez's first half strike or Sergi Roberto's second half golazo and FC Barcelona defeated the Los Angeles Galaxy 2-1 in the International Champions Cup on Tuesday at the Rose Bowl.

Fans poured in to the Pasadena stadium - 93,226 of them - the most ever to watch an MLS team play in the United States.

"It's a privilege to be able to play in front of that many fans," 18-year-old LA Galaxy phemon Bradford Jamieson IV said. "I had a people text me that I haven't seen in five years telling me they saw me on TV against the best team in the world. That's heartwarming."

Suarez found the back of the net just before the halftime whistle blew. Rafinha sent a cross into the back of the box that Marc Bartra brought in on a touch and sent to Suarez who appeared to have touched the ball with his hand before blasting it with his left foot into the back of the net.


The Galaxy were thoroughly outplayed and outclassed in the first half of the match despite the 1-0 score. Barcelona controlled possession for 77 percent of the first half, with an astonishing 90 percent passing accuracy. They attempted eight first half shots, holding LA to zero.

Both teams made significant substitutions to start the second half. LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena replaced his entire starting XI, inserting Robbie Rogers, Ariel Lassiter, and 18-year-old Bradford Jamieson IV for stars Robbie Keane, Steven Gerrard and A.J. De La Garza.

"A win or a loss in these games is insignificant," LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena said. "It's an exhibition. It's good for both teams. It's good for the fans. Mission accomplished."

Barcelona head coach Luis Enrique made seven substitutions for the second half, bringing on new captain, Andrés Iniesta, Gerard Piqué and 19-year-old pheom, Alen Halilovic for Suarez, Ivan Rakitic and Sergio Busquets.

"We've only practiced for seven days, and had a lot of traveling, but overall the players looked good and I'm satisfied with out performance," Enrique said. "Overall I'm happy with our intensity and how we played."

Sergi Roberto hammered a deflection by the Galaxy defense into the back of the net from just inside the box in the 56th minute to give Barca an insurance goal and the 2-0 lead.

The LA Galaxy featured most of their "Los Dos" (LA Galaxy II) squad in the second half and youngsters, Jamieson and Lassiter impressed against the depth and experience of the best club team in the world.

"I switched jerseys with Alen Halilovic," Jamieson said after the game. "I played against him. He's a successful young kid and someone I strive to be like."

Lassiter attempted the first shot on goal in the 83rd minute. A scorcher from the center of the box that was saved by Barca keeper Jose Suarez.

Tommy Meyer scored in the 90th minute off a set piece. Mika Vayrynen sent in the cross to the center of the box and Meyer sent in a fantastic header for the Galaxy's only goal, denying the reigning UEFA Champions League holders a clean sheet.

"It was awesome," Meyer said of his goal. "I hoped that I would go in and get to do that. Luckily, the chance was there."

The record crowd was largely composed of Barcelona supporters, and heckled players of the LA Galaxy throughout the game. Despite the absence of Lionel Messi and Neymar who stayed home to vacation ahead of the start of the La Liga season next month, fans were loud, energetic and rowdy throughout the match.

Please refresh this page for more updates, stats and player reactions…

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Puig and Turner Homer in 4-3 Loss to Braves]]> Tue, 21 Jul 2015 23:59:08 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/207*120/Screen+Shot+2015-07-21+at+7.36.10+PM.png

Justin Turner and Yasiel Puig each hit solo homers, but the Los Angeles Dodgers fell to the Atlanta Braves 4-3 on Tuesday at Turner Field.

Chris Johnson went 3-for-4 with a double and two RBIs for the Braves and Nick Markakis hit a triple, and scored two runs as Atlanta hung on for starter Alex Wood.

Wood (7-6) overcame homers to Puig and Turner, allowing just one other run to come across as he surrendered three, on six hits, in 6.2 innings.

"For three, four innings, his stuff was marginal at best," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "But he rises to the occasion. He competes."

Los Angeles struggled in the heat and humidity of Atlanta, falling in back-to-back games for the first time since June 22-23 in Chicago.

Brett Anderson left the game in the third inning after injuring his left Achilles tendon chasing a ground ball. Anderson allowed three runs on five hits in 2.2 innings. Anderson will get further tests done on Wednesday, but initial tests showed no tear in the Achilles.

Chin-Hui Tsao replaced Anderson and hit a leadoff double in the top of the fifth inning. The ground-rule double was Tsao's first at-bat and hit in 12 years. Tsao's last hit, ironically came against the Atlanta Braves in Sept. 2003.

Don Mattingly was ejected in the eighth inning for arguing balls and strikes shortly thereafter.

"He ejected me because, really, I'd seen him coming after Justin, which I didn't like, because we knew it was a ball," Mattingly said. "And then I was really not going to allow him to come across the field. When he started walking toward Justin, I'm going to have to come out at that point."

Juan Uribe continued to be a thorn in the Dodgers side as the former locker room favorite knocked in the go-ahead run in the bottom of the fifth to give the Braves the 4-3 lead.

Jim Johnson pitched a perfect ninth inning for his eighth save of the season.

Game Notes:
Carl Crawford was recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City before the game, and Monday's starter Brandon Beachy was sent down to in his place. Crawford has not played since April 28th.

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<![CDATA[Clippers Coach Doc Rivers is Fearless in Free Agent Signings]]> Tue, 21 Jul 2015 18:22:31 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/209*120/Screen+Shot+2015-07-21+at+4.28.38+PM.png

It was truly a bounty of riches for Los Angeles Clippers President and General Manager Doc Rivers this offseason. In addition to convincing his star center DeAndre Jordan to renege on his verbal agreement to Mark Cuban and the Dallas Mavericks, Rivers brought in a bevy of players from his former star Paul Pierce, to his son Austin.

Rivers was surrounded by seven of his prized free agent signings on Tuesday at Staples Center as the Clippers unveiled their new collection of talent. The only new acquisition not in attendance was Lance Stephenson who was traded last month from the Charlotte Hornets and met with the LA media on June 18.

"I'm reminded of a recent quote from President Barack Obama, 'I know what I'm doing and I'm fearless,'" said Clippers play-by-play announcer Ralph Lawler. "It could well be that Doc Rivers might have said the same thing based on what's he's accomplished."

Rivers has indeed been fearless this offseason. After he was criticized as the Clippers de facto general manager in his first two season in LA, Rivers now deserves praise and recognition for revamping a roster with little to no cap space or draft picks available to him.

Rivers first move of the offseason was to reverse his free agent decision from last summer when he opted for the versatile center Spencer Hawes over veteran champion Paul Pierce. Rivers traded Hawes and small forward Matt Barnes to Charlotte for Stephenson, one of the league's best young players.

With Hawes and Barnes contracts off the books, Rivers was able to land his All-Star and 2009 NBA Finals MVP in Pierce, and for half the price.

"He should have been here last year too," Rivers joked with the media.

Next, Rivers replaced Hawes with backup center Cole Aldrich and got Wesley Johnson to change locker rooms, leaving the Lakers for their Staples Center roommates. Unlike Hawes, Aldrich provides a serviceable center to relieve Jordan for stretches while still protecting the rim. He added Johnson and Stephenson as valuable wing defenders, a position he lacked last year.

He then had a father-son talk with Austin, convincing the young reserve point guard to come back for another season and play for Pops. Austin succeeded when called upon last season, putting up big numbers in the first two games of the Clippers second round series against the Houston Rockets after Chris Paul went down with an injury.

Rivers greatest magic trick was creating a contingent of current and new players to descend upon the Houston home of DeAndre Jordan to sway him into staying with the Clippers, scorning the Dallas Mavericks in return. Rivers sealed the deal by staying at Jordan's home until 12:01AM EST until the star center could legally sign his contract.

"Kimberly [Jordan's Mother] fed us twice," Rivers joked. "That's the real reason we stayed."

Finally, Rivers signed veteran free agent forward and former All-Star Josh Smith to the veteran's minimum contract. In most cases, signing a guy like Smith for next to nothing would be considered theft of the finest order, but for Rivers, it was another day at the office.

Rivers made all these upgrades to his roster with perhaps the least amount of financial flexibility than any other team in the league. He solidified the bench, the team's Achille's heel last season, while adding borderline All-Stars and veteran leadership.

"I can't wait to get in the gym and just see how we're going to use them all," Rivers said of his new toys. "I think we're better than all the team's in the West. We've beaten the last two champions in the playoffs."

The Clippers are now locked and loaded and ready to compete for an NBA Championship. They have the best roster ever assembled in franchise history. Hmm, maybe Doc does know what he's doing.

Photo Credit: Michael Duarte]]>