Posts Tagged ‘David Beckham’

Morning Shootaround — September 7


VIDEO: FIBA World Cup: Round of 16, Day 1 Wrap

NEWS OF THE MORNING
Team USA routs Mexico | Spain keeps rolling | No Parker, no problem | Melo wants to be the ‘digital athlete’

No. 1: Curry lifts U.S. into quartersStephen Curry finally found the hot hand and blistered Mexico from deep, scoring 20 points and leading Team USA to an easy win and a spot in the quarterfinals. NBA.com’s own Sekou Smith was there:

Curry got hot early and really cranked it up during the third quarter of Saturday’s 86-63 blowout of Mexico, leading the U.S. National Team with 20 points as they made their first game of the elimination round of this competition look a lot like one of their pool play romps.

After watching U.S. big men Anthony Davis and Kenneth Faried lead the way to the Round of 16, Curry went off against Mexico. He scored 11 of his points in a flash after halftime as the U.S. went into overdrive.

“That’s who he is,” U.S. swingman DeMar DeRozan said. “He’s one of the greatest shooters in the game. And when he gets going, it’s lights out.”

Curry shot 6-for-9 from deep and added four assists and three rebounds. Klay Thompson added 15 points, James Harden 12, DeMarcus Cousins 11 and Rudy Gay 10.

The U.S. moves on to the quarterfinals, having won their 60th straight game in World Cup/World Championship/Olympic and international exhibition competition. They will face the winner of Saturday’s Slovenia-Dominican Republic game on Tuesday.

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No. 2: Spain stays on collision course with U.S. — Senegal kept it close in the first half, but Spain’s superior players took charge in the second half. NBA.com’s John Schuhmann is in Madrid:

Spain’s 89-56 victory was a foregone conclusion from the tip and never got very interesting. But Senegal did keep the game within single digits for most of the first half and may have exposed a couple of issues for what has been the best team in the tournament.

The Gasol brothers, Marc and Pau, have been mostly terrific over the eight days. But they had some trouble keeping Senegal’s bouncy bigs off the offensive glass in the first half. The only African team that made it through to the knockout rounds grabbed 10 offensive rebounds in the first half, with Spain securing only 13 of their opponents’ 26 missed shots and free throws.

“They’re a long team and they crash the boards,” Pau Gasol said afterward. “They chased their rebounds well and they gave themselves opportunities.”

Senegal converted all those second chances into only four points. They were one of the worst shooting teams in the tournament, lacked size in the backcourt and didn’t get much from the Timberwolves’ Gorgui Dieng on Saturday. He shot 1-for-9 and scored just six points. Dieng and his countrymen were a feel-good story in Group B, but were also the worst team that got through to the round of 16.

The U.S. is obviously a lot more skilled. And they have as athletic a frontline as anybody, starting Kenneth Faried and Anthony Davis at the four and five. The U.S. was the fifth best offensive rebounding team in group play.

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No. 3: Evan Fournier lifts France — The French, the reigning European champions, don’t have Tony Parker in the World Cup, so any lift they can get from Orlando Magic guard Evan Fournier is welcome. He shook off a slow start to the tournament to carry France over Croatia and into the quarterfinals. NBA.com’s John Schuhmann was there:

Orlando Magic coach Jacque Vaughn was in Granada for the first three days of Group A games at the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup. Vaughn was there to watch and support France’s Evan Fournier, whom the Magic acquired from the Denver Nuggets in June.

Vaughn almost went without seeing Fournier make a shot. As the fifth guard in France’s rotation, the 21-year-old didn’t see much playing time and missed his first seven shots of the tournament before hitting an open, 15-foot jumper late in the first half of France’s third game, an easy win over Egypt.

Fast forward a week and Fournier was playing a big role in France’s 69-64, round-of-16 victory over Croatia, lifting les Bleus into the quarterfinals, where they will likely meet tourney favorite Spain.

With France struggling offensively (to put it lightly) and down 15-7 after the first quarter, Fournier began the second period on the floor. He missed his first couple of shots, but scored seven of France’s 16 points in the period, helping les Bleus take a one-point lead at halftime.

At that point, Fournier jumped a couple of more spots in the French guard rotation, starting the second half. Midway through the third quarter, he pushed France’s lead from four to 10 with a personal 10-0 run, which included his second fast-break and-one of the game.

France’s defense did its part through the first three quarters, holding Croatia to just 19 points on 8-for-32 shooting over the second and third. Croatia found something in the fourth with Ante Tomic dominating the smaller French bigs in the post and Bojan Bogdanovic hitting some big shots on his way to a game-high 27 points. But their comeback fell short when Bogdanovic’s pull-up three did the same with 20 seconds left.

Fournier finished with 13 points and four rebounds, and was a game-high plus-16 in 19:29. Afterward, he looked back at that first bucket against Egypt as a key moment.

“It was a big moment for me,” Fournier said, “just to watch the ball get inside the rim, get my rhythm going, because I was missing easy shots, open shots.”

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No. 4: Carmelo’s off-court dreams and on-court plans to retire as a KnickCarmelo Anthony, with the help of a business partner, launched Melo7 Tech Partners this summer. The company invests in startup firms specializing in digital media, Internet consumer ventures and technology-based operations. Marc Berman of the New York Post reports on Melo’s ambitions:

“I want to brand myself as the digital athlete,” Anthony said Thursday at the Bloomberg Sports Business Summit in Manhattan. “Nobody really took that place. There’ve been athletes that came before me that were doing what I’m doing and there are going to be people after me that are doing what I’m doing.

“But I really want to be the pioneer for that digital athlete, and when it comes to tech I want to be the face of that space,” said Anthony, noting the likes of Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan and David Beckham became known worldwide for their business ventures.

But none is known as the guy for the Digital Age. Anthony nominates himself.

“At the end of the day, we all know what’s my day job: basketball,” Anthony said. “That’s what my brand is built on, but I’m trying to take my brand to the next level, make it bigger, make it stronger.”

And there is no better place to start up a venture capital firm than New York, Anthony claimed. So add that — and Phil Jackson — as driving forces behind what kept him with the Knicks. He signed a five-year, $124 million deal ending his free agency adventure.

It was a process, Anthony stressed, that he never wants to go through again. He did five years, not two like LeBron James.

Yes, Anthony might make more in two years. He gave up about $5 million (“relative to the contract I got, it’s not a lot of money,” Anthony admitted) in staying with the Knicks. And he wants to stay put.

“I plan on ending my career here, so it wasn’t for me to go out there and try to strike a two-year deal and then have to go through this situation in two years. I’m not doing that ever again. I would never do that again. I would advise no one to ever do that,” Anthony said. “I experienced it and it’s behind me.”

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SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau says everyone needs to take a step back on Derrick RoseHeat meet with center Ryan HollinsKings part ways with Jeremy TylerJared Dudley said knee pain hampered him last season with ClippersGustavo Ayon prefers to play in NBA over Europe next season.

Nash Documentary Seeks Final Kickstart

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VIDEO: A clip from the “Nash” documentary.

HANG TIME SOUTHWEST – With any luck, by spring Steve Nash won’t have to visit a Canadian movie house to remember how good it felt to be healthy, relatively speaking, and playing in pressure-packed postseason basketball games.

“Nash,” the movie, is a documentary film that delves into the two-time MVP’s life on and off the court through rare, behind-the-scenes access. It gives fans a backstage pass into his home and private life that few have entered. It captures the Phoenix Suns’ unexpected March to the 2010 Western Conference finals against Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers, and all the way through the stunning trade in the summer of 2012 that put Nash in purple-and-gold (in fact, production was halted to re-make the ending after the trade).

“People will see that he’s just the guy next door, just a humble guy and never complacent,” director and producer Michael Hamilton said during a phone interview from his home in Vancouver. “I think, for me, I’ve known Steve, I know his story in and out and followed him along the way. But making this film, that’s one of the biggest things I pulled from the film, that all the stuff that this guy’s accomplished — and I’m not saying he’s done — he’s never complacent.

“He’s got a lot of money, he’s got a great career, etc., but he’s never complacent — he always strives for more. That’s what I hope people will take from this. He’s almost an anomaly for the pro athlete with the kind of things he believes in and how’s a normal guy trying to navigate through pro sports.”

The plan is for the Canadian premiere to be in either Vancouver or Toronto in mid-April, just as the NBA playoffs are set to begin. Hamilton, a longtime acquaintance of Nash, hopes to then deliver the film south of the border to art houses in the NBA’s largest markets, starting in Los Angeles.

And that’s where this project truly gets interesting. Much like Nash’s career, the film will only reach the goal of gaining widespread exposure through a determined grassroots effort. The marketing and distribution of it depends greatly on securing enough “backers” who make financial pledges through the arts-funding website Kickstater.com.

Hamilton recently launched a campaign to raise $30,000 (Canadian, about $28,000 U.S). The fundraising lasts through Jan. 10 and currently has 44 backers contributing $4,565 (Canadian). As with all Kickstarter.com campaigns, the final stages of the project will only be funded if the pledge goal is reached. In September 2013, the Nash project started a Kickstart campaign that ultimately met the its goal of raising $110,000 in funding.

A portion of the contributions, Hamilton says, will go to the Steve Nash Foundation.

The film features some of Nash’s closest friends and rivals in the NBA, plus wide-ranging celebrities sharing their unique viewpoint into what makes Nash tick. The list includes pal Dirk Nowitzki, a very candid Bryant, Yao Ming, Tony Parker and international soccer star David Beckham. Others include Snoop Dog, Oscar-winning director and producer Ron Howard, illusionist David Blaine and actor Owen Wilson. Oh, and some kind words from President Obama.

“It’s kind of a funny name,” Wilson says in the film’s trailer. “I’m just saying, Steve Nash — it’s a little bit like an action hero. It’s a cool-sounding name.

“Steve Nash.”

With a little luck, Nash’s unique skills will soon be back on the court. And with a bit more backing, come spring his unique journey will be coming to a big screen near you.

Reports: LeBron, Beckham Discuss Leading New MLS Franchise In Miami


VIDEO: LeBron James flies in for a power jam on the Bobcats

From NBA.com staff reports

Since joining the Miami Heat in 2010, forward LeBron James has amassed two MVPs, two Finals MVPs, three Eastern Conference championships and two NBA titles, all while cementing his place as perhaps the best-known athlete in both the Miami area and the world today. Now it seems James is looking to further his lore in South Florida by pursuing a Major League Soccer franchise there with another world-renown sporting icon: David Beckham.

BleacherReport.com’s Ethan J. Skolnick reports that James has spoken with Beckham about bringing an MLS franchise to the Miami area. The region had an MLS team in the early days of the league, the Miami Fusion, but that team folded in 2001 after three seasons.

The MLS’ website reported last week that Beckham was in Miami scouting for an area where a team could play, citing a Miami Herald report that Beckham, potential business partner (and billionaire) Marcelo Claure and Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez had dinner together to discuss the potential of bringing a team to South Beach.

Skolnick has more on the James-Beckham talks and the possibility of an MLS team in Miami:

“There’s some interest on both sides,” James said. “David has become a good friend of mine over the last few years. I think it would be great for this city to have a football club for sure. There’s interest on both sides, but it’s preliminary talks.”

As part of his contract with the Los Angeles Galaxy, Beckham received the option to buy a franchise for $25 million, and he has targeted Miami. Miami, however, already has four major professional teams, and three of them — the Florida Panthers, Miami Marlins and Miami Dolphins — aren’t drawing especially well. The Heat are the exception, largely due to James’ presence.

At best, James would be in an owner’s box for a soccer franchise. Small-stake ownership hasn’t proven a boon for the Dolphins, who brought Serena Williams, Jennifer Lopez and others aboard.

Still, James appeared to be sold on the potential of the project.

“I think it could be huge,” James said. “You never know. I think this is a great town for soccer. There’s a lot of soccer players, there’s great youth soccer players here and people love the city as well. That definitely would help.”

Last season, when I asked James to name his five favorite athletes in other sports, Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona was on his list.

“I’ve grown a great interest in watching the game and learning the guys,” James said. “It’s a pretty intense sport. My kids love it as well. I’ve grown to the point where I know exactly what’s going on when I’m watching the game.”

ESPN.com’s Michael Wallace and Marc Stein also confirmed the news of the James-Beckham talks via Twitter:

The bigger question for Heat fans, though, is how this potential dealing for an MLS team in Miami affects James’ future with his NBA team. Speculation has already started to bubble about where James may land next summer, when he can enter free agency. Skolnick addresses those concerns as well:

This interest in a major Miami project might curtail some of the growing speculation that James will explore free agency this summer, when he can opt out of his Heat contract. At the very least, this endeavor suggests that he’s acclimating to South Florida.

James, according to sources close to him, has explored commercial real estate opportunities over the past year, and his wife Savannah recently opened The Juice Spot, an organic juice and smoothie shop, in the trendy Brickell area of Miami.

Maybe they’ll open a soccer shop next door.

Lavish Opening Ceremonies Officially Kicks Off Games For U.S. Men’s Team

LONDON – Russell Westbrook was fighting the urge to surrender himself completely to the moment Friday afternoon.

Sure, Olympic competition in some sports had already begun, but not for the U.S. Men’s Senior National Team. The opening ceremonies had yet to begin and Westbrook, experiencing the Summer Games for the first time, didn’t want to false start.

“Maybe later tonight, when we’re in there for the opening ceremonies,” he said when asked when it would hit him that he was really here. “Maybe then, but not before that. Right now, I’m just happy to be here and be a part of this team.”

After the extravagant, brilliant and simply breathtaking production from famed British filmmaker Danny Boyle at the Olympic Stadium, complete with Sir Paul McCartney ending the show with a rendition of “Hey Jude,” it’s safe to assume that Westbrook and the rest of his teammates who were diving into the Olympic phenomenon for the first time are completely immersed in the moment now.

They were warned.

“It’s not something you can really prepare anybody for,” said veteran point guard Chris Paul, making his second appearance in the Games for the U.S. “We went through it in Beijing and you don’t understand the magnitude of what’s going on until you get here [to the site of the Games] and realize what it means to the people hosting it and all of the people who are involved in putting it on. It’s unreal.”

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