Friday’s Sports in Brief
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP) — Lefty Driesell had the crowd laughing. Dino Radja fought back tears. Blue Devils and Tar Heels brought their rivalry to the Basketball Hall of Fame, and Ray Allen made a peace offering to his spurned Celtics teammates.
And they did it with an assist from three of the greatest point guards in NBA history.
The Springfield shrine inducted its 13-member Class of 2018 on Friday night, recognizing the players, coaches and contributors who broke records and barriers in equal measure.
Rick Welts, the NBA’s first openly gay executive, went in along with Charlie Scott, the first African-American to receive an athletic scholarship at North Carolina. Ora Mae Washington was honored for a pre-World War II career in which she won 11 consecutive Women’s Colored Basketball Championships. Tina Thompson was the first-ever draft pick in the WNBA.
Also inducted were New York Liberty coach Katie Smith, the leading scorer in women’s professional basketball history; longtime NBA executive Rod Thorn; and Grant Hill, the first Duke player in the Hall.
Novak Djokovic reached his eighth U.S. Open final by beating Kei Nishikori 6-3, 6-4, 6-2.
Djokovic is bidding for his third title at Flushing Meadows and 14th Grand Slam trophy overall.
The No. 6-seeded Djokovic missed last year’s tournament with an injured right elbow.
He will face Juan Martin del Potro in Sunday’s final. Del Potro advanced when Rafael Nadal retired after the second set with a knee injury.
CHICAGO (AP) — Los Angeles Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani says he plans to finish this season as the team’s designated hitter and hasn’t decided yet if he’ll have Tommy John surgery.
The 24-year-old rookie maintains he’ll be able to return next season as a DH, even though he might not be able to throw again until 2020. He homered in his first at-bat Friday night against the Chicago White Sox, giving him four homers over three games and 19 for the season.
“Nothing’s set right now,” Ohtani said through a translator. “I have a few options out there. I’m still trying to look into every option. And I will end up making a decision hopefully sometime toward the end of the season.”
The Angels announced Wednesday that an MRI showed Ohtani had new damage in his pitching elbow, and that Tommy John surgery was the recommended course of action. Ohtani, who throws right-handed and bats left-handed, later hit two home runs that night in Texas.
CHICAGO (AP) — Just as the rebuilding Chicago White Sox were starting to form their rotation for the future, a major setback: Top prospect Michael Kopech has an injured right elbow and probably will need Tommy John surgery.
White Sox general manager Rick Hahn made the announcement before a home game against the Los Angeles Angels.
“If there’s any silver lining to this, it would simply be that giving the timing of this injury, he will be on a pace to compete without restriction at the start of spring training for 2020,” Hahn said.
The 22-year-old Kopech was recalled from Triple-A Charlotte on Aug. 21 and made four starts with the White Sox, going 1-1 with a 5.02 ERA. Although two of the right-hander’s first three starts were shortened by rain, the 6-foot-3 Kopech was impressive in all three, allowing just one run in 11 innings.
DETROIT (AP) — Detroit Tigers television announcers Mario Impemba and Rod Allen have been suspended for the rest of the season after allegedly getting into a physical altercation earlier this week.
Fox Sports Detroit announced the decision. The longtime popular pair reportedly tangled in the broadcast booth Tuesday before a game in Chicago against the White Sox.
“After speaking with all involved parties, Fox Sports Detroit has decided not to schedule Rod Allen and Mario Impemba for any future Tigers telecasts this season,” network spokeswoman Courtney Welch said in a statement. “Since this is an internal matter, we will have no further comment.”
Impemba and Allen are in their 17th season as the team’s main television team. Allen has split color-commentating duties with Kirk Gibson and Craig Monroe in the past two seasons.
NEWTOWN SQUARE, Pa. (AP) — Tiger Woods endorsed Nike’s latest “Just Do It” ad narrated by Colin Kaepernick with a message nearly as succinct.
“It’s a beautiful spot,” Woods said.
The two-minute ad, which debuted during the NFL opener, highlights superstar athletes LeBron James, Serena Williams and others, and touches on the controversy of NFL player protests during the national anthem.
Woods, a Nike athlete since turning pro in 1996 who rarely delves into divisive issues, said he was a fan of the apparel giant featuring the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback known for his social protests.