Weekend Sports in Brief
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Denny Hamlin won his second Daytona 500 in four years by leading a 1-2-3 sweep for Joe Gibbs Racing.
The victory Sunday honored J.D. Gibbs, who died last month after battling a degenerative neurological disease. J.D. Gibbs was a co-founder of the race team with his father and discovered Hamlin.
Hamlin drives the No. 11 — J.D. Gibbs’ number when he played football — and his name is on the Toyota. Hamlin said when he arrived at Daytona International Speedway that both the 500 and this season were dedicated to J.D. Gibbs.
Kyle Busch finished second and Erik Jones was third as the Gibbs drivers held off Ford driver and reigning NASCAR champion Joey Logano’s frantic push in overtime.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Kevin Durant had 31 points and seven rebounds, LeBron James added 19 points and Team LeBron overcame a big game from Giannis Antetokounmpo to defeat Team Giannis 178-164 on Sunday night in the All-Star game.
Team LeBron trailed by 18 points in the first half, but battled back in the third quarter to take the lead behind the sharpshooting of Klay Thompson and Damian Lillard. Thompson had 20 points and Lilllard 18.
James Harden sealed the win with a 3-pointer with 46 seconds left putting Team LeBron up by 16.
Antetokounmpo finished with 38 points and 11 rebounds to lead his team, while Bucks teammate Khris Middleton added 20 on six 3-pointers. Stephen Curry had 17 points, nine rebounds and seven assists in his return to Charlotte but was 4 of 17 from the 3-point range.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The NBA is bringing a pro league to Africa.
The Basketball Africa League, a new collaboration between the NBA and the sport’s global governing body FIBA, was announced Saturday. The initial plan is for the 12-team league to begin play in January, and former President Barack Obama is among those who are expected to have direct involvement with the league’s plan to keep growing the game in Africa through the league and other initiatives.
The scope of what Obama’s involvement will be remains unknown, and it’s yet to be determined which existing club teams will be part of the league. Qualification tournaments will be held later this year to determine those clubs, with teams from Angola, Egypt, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa and Tunisia expected to be among those taking part. No nation will have more than two teams in the league.
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Major League Baseball is unilaterally starting the use of pitch clocks for spring training games, while brushing off complaints from players about the slow free agent market.
With the sport looking for ways to speed the pace of play, pitchers generally will have 20 seconds to deliver to the plate when teams play exhibition games in Arizona and Florida beginning this week. The intention is to get players and umpires accustomed to the clock in the event MLB makes the rule change for the upcoming regular season.
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — There will be nobody buying peanuts or Cracker Jack at one minor league baseball stadium in Connecticut.
The Double-A Hartford Yard Goats say they are going peanut-free at the 6,000-seat Dunkin’ Donuts Park to make the venue safer for people with nut allergies.
The Colorado Rockies affiliate says while many ballparks and sports venues have peanut-free sections and peanut-free games, the Yard Goats are the first to stop selling the snacks entirely.
The idea to go peanut-free arose after meetings with concerned parents of young fans with nut allergies.
CLEVELAND (AP) — The maker of Cleveland’s ballpark mustard is removing the Chief Wahoo logo from its branding and packaging to maintain longstanding ties with the Cleveland Indians baseball team.
Cleveland.com reports the Indians have told official partners like Bertman Foods Co., the maker of Bertman Original Ballpark Mustard, those relationships can’t continue unless they stop using Chief Wahoo. The caricature is widely seen as racist and offensive to Native Americans.
The Indians will stop using Chief Wahoo on player uniforms starting this season.
The Saudi government confirmed its sovereign wealth fund held sponsorship talks with Manchester United but says Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman doesn’t want to buy English football’s most successful club.
British newspaper The Sun had reported the prince was stepping up a bid for United.
But Saudi media minister Turki Al-Shabanah posted on Twitter “reports claiming that HRH the Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman intends on buying @ManUtd are completely false.”
United is owned by the Glazer family, who also own the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Glazer family bought United in 2005 and maintained control after floating part of the record 20-time English champions on the New York Stock Exchange in 2012.
PROGRESSO, Argentina (AP) — Family, friends, supporters and former teammates paid tribute to striker Emiliano Sala in his small Argentine hometown on Saturday, almost four weeks after he died when the plane he was in crashed into the English Channel.
The 28-year-old Sala’s body received a hero’s welcome in Progreso where much of the grieving population paid their last respects to their soccer idol before the body was taken away for cremation.
A post-mortem found that Sala died from injuries to his head and torso when his plane crashed in the channel.
The single-engine aircraft was flying from the French city of Nantes to Cardiff where Sala was due to start a new career playing for the Welsh capital’s Premier League club.
MEXICO CITY (AP) — The man suspected of shooting former Paraguay national soccer team standout Salvador Cabanas in the head in 2010, effectively ending his career, has been sentenced to 20 years in prison in Mexico, authorities announced Sunday.
But federal prosecutors said in a statement that the man identified as Jose Jorge “B,” with no full last name given, was sentenced for organized crime, not attempted murder.
Multiple Mexican media outlets said the sentenced man was Jose Jorge Balderas Garza, alias “El J.J.,” an alleged associate of the former Beltran Leyva cartel. The newspaper El Universal said the judgment was “not related to the attack on the player.”
MIAMI (AP) — Cincinnati Bengals running back Mark Walton is facing a battery charge after police say he got into an argument with a couple in Miami.
The Miami Herald reports the 21-year-old football player posted bond and was released from Miami-Dade County jail.
According to police, Walton’s car was blocking the entrance to the parking garage for his condo building, and an argument ensued when a couple in another car asked Walton to move his vehicle.
Police said Walton became angry when a woman in the other car began filming with her cellphone camera and grabbed the phone from her.
MIAMI (AP) — Former NFL executive of the year Reggie McKenzie has been hired by the Miami Dolphins as a senior personnel executive under general manager Chris Grier.
The move was the latest change in football operations for the Dolphins following a 7-9 season. Grier was given more authority last month, and Brian Flores was hired as coach to replace the fired Adam Gase.
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — The Anaheim Ducks have raised Scott Niedermayer’s No. 27 to the rafters at the Honda Center, honoring the Hall of Fame defenseman who helped lead the Ducks to their only Stanley Cup title in 2007.
The Ducks held the ceremony on Sunday night before their game against Washington.
Niedermayer signed with Anaheim in 2005 after 13 seasons with New Jersey. He scored 60 of his 172 career goals in five seasons with the Ducks. He remains the franchise leader in goals, assists, points and power-play goals (39) among defensemen.
ARE, Sweden (AP) — Mikaela Shiffrin fought through sickness to win an unprecedented fourth straight slalom title at the world championships after one of the most resilient performances of her career.
No Alpine skier, male or female, had previously won the same discipline at four successive worlds.
The 23-year-old American, who was low on energy because of a chest cold, improved from third place after the first run to win by 0.58 seconds over Anna Swenn Larsson of Sweden.
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. (AP) — Justin Kripps of Canada drove to the win in a four-man bobsled race Saturday, as Germany’s Francesco Friedrich missed the podium for the first time all season.
Latvia’s Oskars Kibermanis drove to the silver medal, and Russia’s Maxim Andrianov was third. Friedrich finished fourth, though remained comfortably in the World Cup four-man overall points lead with one race remaining.
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. (AP) — Russia’s Alexander Tretiakov had the fastest time in both heats and won a World Cup men’s skeleton race Saturday.
Tretiakov finished in 1 minute, 47.19 seconds. Latvia’s Martins Dukurs was second in 1:47.33 and South Korea’s Yun Sungbin was third in 1:47.44.
Tretiakov moved into the World Cup overall points lead with one race remaining.
SAN DIEGO (AP) — Gene Littler, whose fluid swing carried him to 29 victories on the PGA Tour and a U.S. Open title at Oakland Hills, has died.
Littler died Friday night with his family at his side, son Curt Litter said Saturday. He was 88.
Littler held his own among the golfing greats to emerge from San Diego with a tempo to his swing that made the game look easy. Gene Sarazen once said Littler had a perfect swing, like Sam Snead, “only better.”
Mickey Wright, asked in 2011 for the best swing she ever saw, mentioned Ben Hogan before quickly adding, “I had my favorites, like Gene Littler, whom I just loved.”
He was known as “Gene the Machine,” and he won the first of his 29 tour titles in 1955 at the Los Angeles Open and went on to win three more times that year.
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Sam Bass, a NASCAR artist who helped design paint schemes and program covers that illuminated an entire sport, has died. He was 57.
His wife, Denise, announced his death Saturday with a note on his official Twitter account. Bass suffered from kidney problems. Other details were not disclosed.
Bass was NASCAR’s first officially licensed artist. His work enlivened some of the racing’s top stars and marquee events. His NASCAR Cup Series background included paint scheme designs for drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Tony Stewart and others.