Thursday’s Sports Briefs

BASKETBALL

CLEVELAND (AP) — The NBA’s spotlight faded from Cleveland last summer. It will shine brilliantly again in four years.

After numerous “passionate” discussions between the team and league, Commissioner Adam Silver announced Thursday that the Cavaliers will host the 2022 All-Star Game at Quicken Loans Arena.

The Cavaliers are thrilled to host the event, which will coincide with the league’s 75th anniversary. Cleveland previously hosted the All-Star Game in 1997, when the league honored its Top 50 players.

It’s a major coup for the Cavs, who lost superstar LeBron James as a free agent in July and are facing a long road back to championship contention.

The Cavs had submitted bids to host earlier All-Star Games, but their downtown arena is undergoing a massive renovation and wasn’t going to be ready until summer 2019.

Silver said the renovations played a major role in the city being awarded the game and its other activities which could have a direct $100 million impact on Cleveland.

CHANHASSEN, Minn. (AP) — The Minnesota Timberwolves are paying tribute to Prince with a purple-highlighted uniform.

The team Thursday unveiled Prince-inspired City Edition uniforms. The new look uniforms were created in collaboration between the Timberwolves, Nike and the Prince estate.

Prince family members say the “Purple Rain” superstar enjoyed basketball from a young age, both as a player and fan.

The new jersey includes a paisley leaf in tribute to Prince’s Paisley Park studio, the letters “MPLS” recognizing the Minneapolis Sound and purple touches.

The Timberwolves also plan to recognize and donate to nonprofits that advance causes that were important to Prince.

Minnesota will debut the new uniform on Nov. 16 when the Timberwolves face the Portland Trail Blazers at Target Center. The Wolves will wear the uniforms eight times during the regular season.

FOOTBALL

NOBLESVILLE, Ind. (AP) — Paul Zimmerman, the longtime Sports Illustrated NFL writer known as “Dr. Z” for his analytical approach, died Thursday. He was 86.

NBC Sports football writer Peter King confirmed Zimmerman’s death. King worked with Zimmerman at Sports Illustrated, and completed Zimmerman’s autobiography, “Dr. Z: The Lost Memoirs of an Irreverent Football Writer.”

Zimmerman had three strokes in 2008 that ended his writing career after 29 years as Sports Illustrated’s lead pro football writer.

Zimmerman briefly played college football at Stanford and Columbia, and covered the New York Jets for the New York Post for 13 years. He also worked for the Sacramento Bee, New York Journal-American and the New York World-Telegram & Sun before joining SI in 1979. His “A Thinking Man’s Guide to Pro Football” was published in 1970, and revised in 1984 as “The New Thinking Man’s Guide to Pro Football.”

Zimmerman was president of the Pro Football Writers of America during the 1982 season. He received the PFWA’s highest honor, the Dick McCann Award, in 1996 for a long and distinguished contribution through coverage. In 2014, the PFWA instituted the Paul “Dr. Z” Zimmerman Award, given for lifetime achievement as an assistant coach in the NFL.

WNBA

NEW YORK (AP) — WNBA players have exercised their right to terminate their collective bargaining agreement after the 2019 season, cutting the deal short by two years.

The current labor contract started on March 5, 2014, and had been scheduled to run through October 2021 or the day after the last playoff game, whichever was later. The move announced by the players’ union on Thursday ends the deal on Oct. 31, 2019, or the day after the postseason finale.

The move allows the sides to negotiate a new deal that would go into effect for the 2020 season during an Olympic year.

The league has seen growth in many areas since the current CBA went into effect in 2014. Television ratings this season were the league’s best in four years. The WNBA started live streaming games on Twitter and partnered with one-day daily fantasy sites. Players appeared in a video game for the first time.

That hasn’t translated into the league and its owners making money. According to the WNBA, it’s lost a significant amount over the last 22 years, including $12 million last season.