Tuesday’s Sports in Brief
WASHINGTON (AP) — Wes Unseld was an undersized NBA center known more for his bruising picks, tenacious rebounding and perfectly placed outlet passes than any points he produced.
He thrived in his role as a workmanlike leader.
Unseld, who began his pro career as a rookie MVP, led Washington to its only NBA championship and was chosen one of the 50 greatest players in league history, died Tuesday after “lengthy health battles, most recently with pneumonia,” his family said in a statement released by the Wizards. He was 74.
He spent his entire 13-season playing career with the Bullets-Wizards franchise, then was its coach and general manager. The team was based in Baltimore when he was drafted; he and his wife, Connie, opened Unselds’ School in that city in 1978.
BOSTON (AP) — The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame was gearing up for a great year: not just the all-but-certain election of NBA superstars like Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan, but also a chance to unveil a completely renovated museum.
Because of the coronavirus outbreak, the reopening has been pushed back two months to July 1 and the induction ceremony — which will posthumously honor Bryant along with longtime college coach Eddie Sutton — is being postponed, either to October or the spring. A commemorative coin that was supposed to be released at the Final Four will instead go on sale on Thursday.
The Hall’s Class of 2020 includes Bryant, Garnett, Duncan and WNBA star Tamika Catchings — all elected in their first year of eligibility. Also to be honored by the Springfield, Massachusetts, shrine are Sutton, who died last month, and fellow coaches Rudy Tomjanovich, Kim Mulkey and Barbara Stevens, along with former FIBA Secretary General Patrick Baumann.
Hall president and CEO John Doleva confirmed that induction weekend will not be held on Aug. 28-30, as originally planned; the Hall is hoping to announce a new date by mid-June. Complicating the potential possibility of a spring 2021 induction: The Hall doesn’t know what the NBA and college basketball seasons will look like then.
MIAMI (AP) — A Florida judge has denied NBA rookie Zion Williamson’s attempt to block his former marketing agent’s effort to have the ex-Duke star answer questions about whether he received improper benefits before playing for the Blue Devils.
Prime Sports Marketing and company president Gina Ford filed a lawsuit last summer in a Miami Dade County, accusing Williamson and the agency now representing him of breach of contract. That came after Williamson had filed his own lawsuit a week earlier in North Carolina to terminate a five-year contract with Prime Sports after moving to Creative Artists Agency LLC.
Ford’s attorneys had submitted questions in filings last month that included whether the New Orleans Pelicans rookie or anyone on his behalf sought or accepted “money, benefits, favors or things of value” to sign with Duke. They sought answers within 30 days to establish facts under oath in the pretrial discovery process, while Williamson’s attorneys had argued the questions were “nothing more than a fishing expedition” and sought a stay to stop it.
Larry A. Strauss, an attorney on the legal team representing Ford and Prime Sports, said in an email Tuesday to The Associated Press that circuit judge David C. Miller denied the stay request, meaning the discovery process is set to continue.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Longtime Sacramento Kings TV broadcaster Grant Napear resigned Tuesday after he tweeted “ALL LIVES MATTER” when asked by DeMarcus Cousins for his opinion on the Black Lives Matter movement.
The 60-year-old Napear also was fired by KTHK Sports 1140 in Sacramento. He had co-hosted a show on the AM radio station with former Kings player Doug Christie.
Bonneville International, the station’s parent company, said Napear’s “recent comments about the Black Lives Matter movement do not reflect the views or values of Bonneville International Corporation. The timing of Grant’s tweet was particularly insensitive.”
NEW YORK (AP) — All 32 NFL teams have been told by Commissioner Roger Goodell to hold training camps at their home facilities this summer because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Most NFL teams stay at their training complexes year-round, but Dallas, Pittsburgh, Kansas City, Buffalo, Indianapolis, Carolina, Washington and the Los Angeles Rams are among those that stage portions of training camp elsewhere.
Goodell also ordered no joint practices for teams, something that had become increasing popular in recent summers.
The Cowboys and Steelers are scheduled for the Hall of Fame game in Canton, Ohio, on Aug. 6 and will be the first two teams to report in late July. Dallas usually trains in Oxnard, California, and Pittsburgh in nearby Latrobe, Pennsylvania.
The Cowboys have never held their entire preseason at home. The Steelers have trained at St. Vincent College in Latrobe for more than a half-century.
BERLIN (AP) — Americans Zack Steffen and Tyler Adams are among the Bundesliga players who expressed solidarity in the wake of George Floyd’s death.
Steffen issued a statement Tuesday titled “Enough is enough.” Steffen said he was honoring “Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and every other African American who has been killed by police brutality.”
The 25-year-old Fortuna Düsseldorf goalkeeper spoke of his pride in wearing the U.S. national team jersey but questioned why its leaders “won’t protect its citizens who look like me?”
Steffen, a Pennsylvanian who has been sidelined since December because of a knee injury, posted a statement on Twitter. Earlier, Steffen called U.S. President Donald Trump “a disgusting hypocrite” while quoting a Tweet that Trump sent on Jan. 12 asking Iran’s leaders not to kill protesters.
Trump was criticized by some after police under federal command and National Guard soldiers forced back peaceful demonstrators near the White House with tear gas so he could walk to a nearby church and pose with a Bible.
Adams, a New Yorker who plays for Leipzig, posted a picture of the boots he wore during Monday’s game at Cologne, showing he had “Black Lives Matter” written on his left shoe and “Justice 4 George” on the right.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — It’s music to NASCAR’s ears: the stock car series is set to return to Nashville, Tennessee in 2021.
Nashville Superspeedway will hold a Cup race for the first time next season, ending NASCAR’s decade-long absence from the track. The Nashville track is owned by Dover Motorsports, Inc., which has held Cup race weekends each year since 1969. Dover will give up one of its dates and move it to Nashville for an expected late June 2021 race weekend.
Nashville Superspeedway held Xfinity and Truck events from 2001 until 2011.
The idea to return NASCAR to Nashville took root after a successful blowout last December for its season-ending awards celebration. There were burnouts on Broadway, a party with country music star and NASCAR fan Blake Shelton and a NASCAR-themed night at the Grand Ole Opry. Buoyed by the excitement, Dover started discussions with NASCAR and its TV broadcast partners about running a race at the Superspeedway.
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Scott Dixon, Alexander Rossi and the rest of the IndyCar drivers were in sunny Florida around spring break ready to start the season.
Nearly three months later, they are finally set to run their first competitive laps of the season. Then they will wait another four weeks to race again.
Instead of the streets of St. Pete, the pandemic-delayed season will get started at the fast 1 1/2-mile track in Texas with an all-in-one-day opener. Practice, qualifying and the 200-lap race will be held Saturday, the same day that IndyCar has chartered planes to carry teams back and forth between Indianapolis and Texas Motor Speedway.