Tuesday's Sports In Brief
MAY 07, 2014 4:17a ET
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) In accepting his first MVP award, Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant made a point of sharing the honor with those who made it possible.
In a soul-baring speech that lasted more than 25 minutes Tuesday, Durant fought back tears several times while thanking each of his teammates, the coaches, support staff and team executives, and finally his family. The emotional outpouring culminated with a tribute to his mother, Wanda Pratt, and the sacrifices she made, the inspiration she provided while raising Durant and his brother in the suburbs of Washington, D.C.
''You made us believe,'' Durant said to Pratt, who was at the ceremony in Edmond, Oklahoma. ''... You're the real MVP.''
Durant received 119 first-place votes. Miami's LeBron James, who had won the last two MVP awards and four of the previous five, finished second with six first-place votes, and Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers was third.
Durant won his fourth scoring crown in five years by averaging 32 points. The 6-foot-9 forward helped the Thunder go 59-23, second-best in the league, despite playing much of the season without three-time All-Star Russell Westbrook because of a nagging knee injury.
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Los Angeles Clippers President Andy Roeser is taking an indefinite leave of absence while the NBA restructures the franchise in the wake of owner Donald Sterling's lifetime ban.
Roeser's immediate departure was announced by the NBA. The league announced plans last week to appoint a CEO to oversee the franchise in Sterling's absence.
''This will provide an opportunity for a new CEO to begin on a clean slate and for the team to stabilize under difficult circumstances,'' NBA spokesman Mike Bass said.
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - The Golden State Warriors fired Mark Jackson, ending the franchise's most successful coaching tenure in the past two decades but also one filled with drama and distractions.
General manager Bob Myers thanked Jackson in a statement for ''his role in helping elevate this team into a better position than it was when he arrived nearly 36 months ago.'' Myers said it was a difficult decision but the Warriors ''simply feel it's best to move in a different direction at this time.''
Jackson's three seasons with the Warriors will be remembered for the way he helped turn a perennially losing franchise into a consistent winner and the bold and bombastic way in which he did it.
He guaranteed Golden State would make the playoffs in his first season, when they finished 23-36 after the NBA labor lockout. The Warriors went 47-35 last season and had a memorable run to the second round of the playoffs, and they were 51-31 this season before losing to the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round.
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Philadelphia 76ers guard and NBA Rookie of the Year Michael Carter-Williams had surgery to repair the labrum of his right shoulder.
Carter had the surgery at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York. No timetable was set for his recovery.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - The Nashville Predators hired Peter Laviolette as the second head coach in franchise history.
The Predators also announced Kevin McCarthy was hired as an assistant on Laviolette's staff.
Laviolette, who signed a multi-year contract, will take over in Nashville once he finishes coaching the United States at the 2014 World Championship. He coached Carolina to a Stanley Cup in 2006 and took Philadelphia to the Stanley Cup finals in 2010. He was fired in October after the Flyers lost their first three games of the season.
NEW YORK (AP) - Mike Babcock of the Detroit Red Wings, Jon Cooper of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Patrick Roy of the Colorado Avalanche are finalists for the Jack Adams Award.
The NHL Broadcasters' Association voted for the top coach after the regular season. The winner is announced June 24 in Las Vegas.
HEFLIN, Ala. (AP) - A county sheriff's office says Buffalo Bills Pro Bowl defensive lineman Marcell Dareus was arrested in Alabama on drug charges.
A jailer in Cleburne County in Heflin who would not give her name says Dareus was arrested Monday night by a state trooper and was released from the jail within an hour.
She says he was arrested on a charge of possession of a controlled substance and drug paraphernalia. She did not have an attorney for him listed or a court date.
HACKENSACK, N.J. (AP) - A former cheerleader with the New York Jets has sued the team, claiming she and others were underpaid in violation of New Jersey state wage laws.
The lawsuit was filed in state Superior Court in Bergen County, where the Jets and the New York Giants play their home games at MetLife Stadium.
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - Retired Yankees closer Mariano Rivera says he would take Boston's Dustin Pedroia over former teammate Robinson Cano as his top second baseman.
That's fine by Cano, who insists he respects Rivera as the best ever, no matter what.
''There is no doubt that he is a Hall of Fame-caliber talent,'' Rivera said about Cano in his new book. ''It's just a question of whether he finds the drive that you need to get there.''
Cano has moved on out West with Seattle, determined not to let Rivera's words in ''The Closer: My Story'' affect him or his new team.
MADRID (AP) - Roger Federer withdrew from the Madrid Open to welcome the birth of his second set of twins.
Federer said on his webpage he was pulling out of the tournament ''to be with my wife Mirka during these next few exciting weeks for our family.'' The fourth-ranked Swiss player, who already has twins, said he would ''rejoin the tour soon.''
Later, Federer tweeted: ''Mirka and I are so incredibly happy to share that Leo and Lenny were born this evening! (hash)TwinsAgain (hash)Miracle''
Federer's agent, Tony Godsick, confirmed to The Associated Press that the baby boys were born in Zurich on Tuesday. Federer and Mirka are already parents to twin daughters
Former Rutgers University football player Eric LeGrand, whose recovery from a paralyzing injury suffered during a game has become a unifying and inspirational story for the school, was announced as one of its commencement speakers, a day after he said the offer to do so was rescinded ''for political reasons.''
The announcement from Rutgers President Robert Barchi, who said there was a ''miscommunication'' about the speeches, is the latest development in the saga surrounding the May 18 ceremony.
ATHENS, Ga. (AP) - Former University of Georgia football coach Jim Donnan abused the trust of friends and fellow coaches to lure them into a fraudulent $80 million investment scheme, a federal prosecutor said Tuesday.
A defense attorney countered that Donnan thought he'd found a good investment and wanted to share his good fortune with others.
The conflicting portraits of Donnan, 69, were outlined during opening statements in his trial on federal charges including conspiracy, mail fraud and wire fraud.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Jimmy Ellis, a heavyweight champion who sparred with an up-and-coming Muhammad Ali and later fought some of the era's best boxers, died Tuesday. He was 74.
Ellis died at a Louisville hospital, brother Jerry Ellis said. Jimmy Ellis had Alzheimer's disease in recent years.
Ellis, the son of a preacher who loved singing gospel music, held the WBA heavyweight title from 1968 to 1970. He lost to Joe Frazier in a fight to unify the world heavyweight championship in 1970. In 1971, Ellis was stopped by Ali in the 12th round. He retired in 1975.
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - Family and friends of a youth basketball coach called for swift justice against two Mississippi sheriff's deputies accused of assaulting their son after a recreational league game and causing injuries that led to his death.
Hinds County Sheriff's Deputy Joshua Adams was charged with murder in Monday's death of 25-year-old Justin Griffin. Adams, 37, was refereeing a 7th-grade AAU state tournament game Griffin was coaching on Sunday. The two argued over play calls on the court and later Griffin was attacked in the parking lot outside, police said. Griffin died from blunt-force trauma to the head from injuries in the fight, said Hinds County Coroner Sharon Grisham-Stewart.