At 35, season restart could be legend’s best chance to win title with the Lakers
The July 31 season restart may represent 35-year-old LeBron James’ best chance to win an NBA championship with the Los Angeles Lakers.
The desire to return to basketball in July was fed by a cocktail of motivation and incentive, guzzled by a league that would much rather ratchet up the endangered 2019-20 season than wrap it up.Sponsored link
And while there are obvious and multiple reasons for the willingness to cope with the complex chore of saving the season here in the rubble of coronavirus, here is the most meaningful one: LeBron James.
3:19Take a look at the best plays from LeBron James from the 2019-20 NBA season so far
The sport’s box office king is healthy, hyper and, last we saw, still serving up quality basketball. Therefore, this is the tonic for a league and its network partners looking to recoup staggering losses from a four-month delay, and for legions of fans starved for live basketball drama instead of a documentary from a foregone era. And it is a tonic for a 35-year-old legend who knows this could be his best or only chance to win a title with his third team.
Yes, LeBron is ready to rescue the NBA, and vice versa.
Would the league be so hell-bent on moving mountains to resume play if, say, LeBron was hurt and unable to suit up? Perhaps so. But with LeBron having a reasonably strong chance of reaching the finish line with the Los Angeles Lakers, and maybe raising his arms in celebration if he breaks the tape, there’s a bit more urgency by all parties to see this through.null
With all due respect to the Milwaukee Bucks and the defending champions Toronto Raptors and the Clippers rising up on the other side of LA, they aren’t the engine that’s powering this undertaking. If LeBron and the Lakers are just as good over the next several weeks as they were the first several months, the intrigue and the ratings will be worth the wait.
What do you think about it, would LeBron become a saviour. Leave your comments..
Shakur Stevenson showcased his skills and beat Felix Caraballo in six rounds on Tuesday night in Las Vegas as US boxing made its comeback.
The talented WBO featherweight champion made a comfortable debut in the division above at the MGM Grand Conference Center Grand Ballroom, a behind-closed-door venue, in the first event promoted by Bob Arum’s Top Rank since lockdown began.
“What a magnificent performance by Shakur Stevenson,” Arum said. “He keeps getting better and, rest assured, he is a future pound-for-pound superstar.”
The fight was nearly over in the first round – Stevenson landed a body shot which forced Caraballo, a Puerto Rican who had never previously boxed outside of his home country, onto one knee.
Caraballo survived the early knock-down but Stevenson continued peppering him.null
Towards the end of the fifth, Stevenson landed a powerful left hand which hurt Caraballo.
Two consecutive punches to the body by Stevenson in the sixth round folded Caraballo in agony, and the referee called a halt.
“He hit me with a couple shots, more than I’m used to,” Stevenson said. “A couple jabs here and there. He was a tough guy, but I felt great in there after my training camp in Houston.”
The 22-year-old Olympic silver medalist Stevenson had previously been feted as “the southpaw Floyd Mayweather” by his promoter Arum who added: “He will be one of the major, major stars in boxing in the years ahead”.
He extended his pro record to 14-0 on Tuesday night then wore a T-shirt supporting the Black Lives Matter movement afterwards.
But his successful debut at super-featherweight is a complication in any potential unification fight with Britain’s Josh Warrington, the IBF featherweight champion.
Stevenson’s manager Andre Ward previously said about facing the undefeated Warrington: “[Stevenson] won’t just beat you, he can embarrass you. No fighter wants to be embarrassed. They see that in Shakur. I respect his desire to go [to the UK], I support his desire.”
Stevenson has previously explained his desire to win world titles in four divisions.
Roger Federer has announced he will miss the remainder of the 2020 season after undergoing further surgery on his right knee.
The 38-year-old has not played competitively since his Australian Open semi-final defeat to Novak Djokovic in January, having had his first bout of surgery the following month.
With the tennis season still under lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, Federer has now written off the prospect of making a return until the new year.
In a message on his social media channels Federer wrote: “A few weeks ago, having experienced a setback during my initial rehabilitation, I had to have an additional quick arthroscopic procedure on my right knee.
“Now, much like I did leading up to the 2017 season, I plan to take the necessary time to be 100 per cent ready to play at my highest level.null
“I will be missing my fans and the tour dearly but, I will look forward to seeing everyone back on tour at the start of the 2021 season.”
The ATP Tour is on hold until at least the end of July due to the pandemic, with the US Open and French Open still set for a hectic back-to-back schedule in August and September.
Personally I don’t think tennis can be worth the watch for a long time…. What do you think? Leave comments..
• Knocks presidency over omission of N186b health vote • Probes moribund paper mills, to review importation of published books
Yesterday,The Senate said that inefficiency on the part of the executive arm of government threatened the quick passage of the N10.509 trillion revised budget draft sent to the National Assembly two weeks ago.
It expressed disappointment on the failure of the Presidency to include a N186 billion health allocation in the entire budget. It therefore stepped down further consideration of the budget bill, insisting that the right thing must be done.
Senate President Ahmad Lawan was furious that the executive arm of government ignored part of the budget meant to take care of health emergencies caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Trouble for the revised budget began when Lawan called on the chairman of the Appropriation Committee, Jibrin Barau (APC, Kano North), to lay the report for the consideration and possible passage of the revised budget bill.
Barau stunned the Senate when he informed his colleagues that the Presidency refused to capture the N186 billion health vote as part of the entire N500 billion intervention fund for COVID-19 in the appropriation bill.
He said while N314 billion was captured, as part of the intervention fund, the balance of N186 billion proposed for the health sector, was not.
“Upon making such observation at committee level, we quickly informed the budget office of the omission last week. The budget office, as part of excuses given for the omission, said since the entire N500 billion was captured in the MTEF/FSP documents already passed by the Senate, there was no need for it to be fully captured in the budget.
“But we rejected that excuse in line with Sections 80 and 81 of the 1999 Constitution, which empowers the National Assembly to appropriate every single kobo for the executive before spending. On the strength of our superior argument, the budget office admitted the omission but promised to write a letter to us, to be used as evidence of helping them to include it. But the expected letter never came till now, making us not to be ready for presentation of any report.”
Angered by the submission, Lawan made it clear that the National Assembly would no longer tolerate inefficiency from persons responsible for preparing and submitting budget estimates.
He said: “Let me make this comment. I will advise those responsible for putting budget estimates for revision or whatever to be meticulous and responsible. The issue is that there was an omission on their (executive) side and they are requesting for the inclusion of N186 billion.
We have to insist on this because when we simply put figures without the document supporting the inclusion, somebody will say we are padding the budget. The National Assembly will be castigated and in some cases even insulted.”
This was as the Education for All in Nigeria (EFAN) and Coalition Against Corruption and Bad Governance (CACOBAG) urged the Federal Government to review upward budgetary allocations to education and healthcare.
This was disclosed in a statement jointly signed by the founders, Mr. Oyewole Dele (EFAN) and Toyin Raheem (CACOBAG), yesterday, in Lagos.
According to the groups, the budgetary allocation to these sectors should not be reduced. They noted that 26 per cent of the country’s yearly budget should go to education, stressing that no nation can survive without adequate funding of its education and health sectors.
They also noted that budgetary allocation to the judiciary ought not to have been reduced. “Judiciary, as an arm of the government, is very critical to the development of democracy. We cannot have optimal performance from the judiciary if it’s being grossly underfunded,” they said.
The groups further urged the government not to make the planned renovation of the National Assembly complex a priority.
Meanwhile, the Senate also resolved to probe moribund paper mills. It expressed worry that the mills, which were privatised, may go the way of the power sector where government had to provide interventions of N1.8 trillion without any headway.
This was sequel to a motion on ‘The Need to Revive Moribund Paper Mills in Nigeria’ sponsored by Senator Stephen Ekpeyong. “It seems to me that those who bought them never knew what they intended to do. Instead of creating employment, they are contributing to the unemployment status of the country negatively. That is why it was referred to the Senate Committee on Privatisation for further legislative action,” Ekpeyong said.
Solskjaer outlines transfer policy; watch Tottenham vs Manchester United live on Sky Sports on June 19
Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says he will avoid adding “rotten apples” to his squad and insists new signings must reflect his personality.
Solskjaer signed Harry Maguire, Daniel James and Aaron Wan-Bissaka in his first summer transfer window as United boss in an attempt to shape a new-look team around a core of ambitious, young British players.Sponsored link
Portugal international Bruno Fernandes then arrived at Old Trafford from Sporting Lisbon in January – followed by the loan signing of Nigeria striker Odion Ighalo – and United continue to be linked with more domestic and foreign talent this summer.
Despite the coronavirus pandemic potentially affecting any big-money transfers this year, Solskjaer says any player he adds to his squad in the future will have to buy into the club’s collective philosophy.
“I did feel that I was professional and did feel privileged to play for Manchester United,” Solskjaer told the Shiv Nadar Foundation.null
“I wouldn’t be able to look at myself if I didn’t know I’d given everything for my team-mates and my manager.
“That’s what I also now look for in players that we sign or we bring up from the youth team. You have to have a good personality and that you are professional because one rotten apple in the basket will make the others rotten.
“So for me it’s about building a team that will reflect me and my coaching staff’s personalities and views. Of course there are standards because we want to win. We are in the business to win.
“But the first step to be a Manchester United player and person, you have to be humble enough to know you always have to work hard. Never give in and always do your best, 100 per cent effort is required every day and don’t think you are better than you are.
“You still have to play with that confidence at the same time. It’s a fine balance but that is what is going to make the difference when we want to get to the championship again that we want to win.”
Stoke boss O’Neill tests positive for COVID-19 with match at Carrington cancelled immediately
Manchester United were forced to cancel their friendly with Stoke at the last minute after the Championship side’s manager Michael O’Neill tested positive for coronavirus.
The sides were due to meet at United’s Carrington training centre but the match was immediately abandoned without kicking a ball when the Northern Irishman tested positive, with United insisting none of their squad came into contact with him.
United had been stepping up their preparations for the return of the Premier League on June 17, with their first match back against Tottenham next Friday, and it appears the squad still trained after Stoke left Carrington.
O’Neill was showing no symptoms of the virus when he got news of his positive test.null
“Stoke City can confirm that manager Michael O’Neill has tested positive for the Covid-19 virus following the latest round of testing on Monday (June 8),” the Potters said in a statement.
“O’Neill had tested negative in the previous five rounds of testing. He will now follow the relevant guidance and undergo a period of isolation, whilst continuing to be in regular virtual contact with his coaching staff and players.
“Assistant manager Billy McKinlay will take charge of training as the Potters prepare for their game against Reading on June 20. The club will be making no further comment on this matter.”
In the latest round of Premier League coronavirus testing, there were no new positive cases confirmed.
The Premier League say they tested 1,195 players and club staff for COVID-19 on Thursday June 4 and Friday June 5.
This was the sixth round of testing and the second time there have been zero positives, with just one positive in total in the last three rounds.
Since the programme began, the Premier League has now carried out 6,274 tests for COVID-19, with 13 positives and 6,261 negatives.
There were six positives from three clubs in the first round of testing, followed by two positives from two clubs, four positives from three clubs, zero positives, one positive – and now a second all-clear.
Project Restart rules require a player who returns a positive test to remain away from group activities for 14 days (subject to the return of a negative test after seven days, should the player be asymptomatic).