Hall of Fame Harlem Globetrotter Marques Haynes Dies: Marques Haynes, the first Harlem Globetrotters player to be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame, has died in Plano, Texas, at age 89. This New York Times story shows that Haynes was part of some historic moments in sports. He was playing for the Globetrotters when they beat the all-white Minneapolis Lakers and their star center George Mikan in 1948 and 1949, helping lead to basketball's integration. He also appeared with Jesse Owens at Olympic Stadium in 1951, 16 years after Owen's four gold medals showed up Hitler. "He got out of that helicopter, and there was an announcement: Jesse Owens has just arrived. Boy, that stadium went wild," Haynes recalled.
Cavaliers Beat Hawks by 12, Lead Eastern Finals 2-0: LeBron James scored 30 points and the Cleveland Cavaliers took total command of the Eastern Conference Finals, beating the Atlanta Hawks on the road 94-82 and taking a 2-0 series lead. The Cavs didn't have Kyrie Irving but it didn't matter. "The Hawks looked totally outclassed for one of the few times all season," reported AP.
Rangers Beat Lighting 5-1, Tie Eastern Finals at 2-2: Henrik Lundqvist made 38 saves and Rick Nash scored twice to help the New York Rangers defeat the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-1 in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals in Tampa. Lightning goalie Ben Bishop allowed 5 goals in two straight games for the first time since 2011.
NFL Moves PAT Kicks Back to 15-Yard Line: The NFL changed a crucial rule for the 2015 season. Extra points are no longer going to be automatic: In 2015, instead of kicking an extra point from the two-yard line, teams will be forced to kick from the 15-yard line. And the defending team will be allowed to score two points if it grabs possession of the ball and takes it back the other way. According to Lindsay Jones of USA Today, only two teams voted against the new rule, which is only in effect for the 2015 season.
Kraft Says Patriots Won't Appeal DeflateGate Punishment: New England Patriots owner Bob Kraft said today that he would "accept reluctantly" the NFL's decision to fine the team $1 million and revoke their 2016 first-round draft pick as a result of the investigation of the team's use of allegedly under inflated footballs. "Although I might disagree with what he decided, I do have respect for the commissioner and believe that he is doing what he believes is in the spirit of the best for the whole 32 [teams]," Kraft said
NHL Playoff Pick 'Em, Round 3: The NHL conference finals begin Saturday at 1 p.m. Eastern. Pick the two teams that will advance out of their conference and the number of games each series will require: Anaheim vs. Chicago and New York vs Tampa Bay. One extra point on winning picks for getting the number of games right. More extra points: Pick this playoff round's top goal scorer, top power play goal scorer, most penalized player (in minutes) and goalie with the best save percentage (starters only).
Corey Kluber Strikes Out 18 in 8, But Doesn't Pitch 9th: Cleveland Indians ace Corey Kluber had 18 strikeouts through eight innings last night against the St. Louis Cardinals, a performance ESPN's David Schoenfield suggests might have been "the greatest performance in major league history." He took a no-hitter into the seventh and was at 113 pitches with just one hit. He was two strikeouts from tying the record shared by Roger Clemens and Kerry Wood. But Brad Mills, who took Terry Francona's spot as manager after his ejection during the game, didn't send him out for the ninth. "Millsy knows what he's doing," Francona said afterwards.
NFL Announces Punishment for Patriots' Deflated Balls: The NFL has issued its punishment for the DeflateGate scandal: Quarterback Tom Brady is suspended four four games, the New England Patriots are fined $1 million and will lose two draft picks (a 2016 first rounder and 2017 fourth rounder). Last year's second-round pick Jimmy Garoppolo is expected get the starting nod against the Pittsburgh Steelers when the season gets underway September 10.
NFL Took Millions from U.S. Government to Salute the Troops: When the New York Jets paused to honor soldiers of the New Jersey Army National Guard at home games during the past four years, it was more than a heartfelt salute to the military -- it was also worth a good stack of taxpayer money, records show. The Department of Defense and the Jersey Guard paid the Jets a total of $377,000 from 2011 to 2014 for the salutes and other advertising, according to federal contracts. Overall, the Defense Department has paid 14 NFL teams $5.4 million during that time, of which $5.3 million was paid by the National Guard to 11 teams under similar contracts.
Bill Simmons Out at ESPN: Bill Simmons will be leaving ESPN when his current contract expires in September, the network announced. "I've decided that Iím not going to renew his contract," said ESPN skipper John President. "We've been talking to Bill and his agent and it was clear we weren't going to get to the terms." Last year Simmons was suspended three weeks after calling NFL Commissioner John Goodell a liar and daring ESPN to fire him. Dare accepted.
Dallas Cowboys Sign Undrafted Top Draft Prospect La'el Collins: The Dallas Cowboys have signed undrafted free agent La'el Collins, an LSU offensive lineman expected to be a top-15 pick in this year's draft until a story broke that Baton Rouge, Louisiana, police wanted to question him about the April 24 shooting death of his ex-girlfriend and the baby she was carrying, who died on May 1. Police have not called Collins a person of interest or a suspect. The baby's paternity was tested and Collins was not the father. "His situation ended up being a lot clearer this week than it was last week," Bryan Broaddus of DallasCowboys.com told Gannett Louisiana.
LeSean McCoy: Chip Kelly Got Rid of 'All the Good Black Players': LeSean McCoy on his former coach Chip Kelly: "You see how fast he got rid of all the good players. Especially all the good black players. He got rid of them the fastest. That's the truth. There's a reason. ... It's hard to explain with him. But there's a reason he got rid of all the black players -- the good ones -- like that."
NFL Investigator: Patriots Probably Deflated Balls on Purpose: An NFL investigator's report has concluded that it is probable New England Patriots personnel intentionally deflated footballs after they were inspected for the AFC Championship Game and quarterback Tom Brady was generally aware it was happening. "we have concluded that, in connection with the AFC Championship Game, it is more probable than not that New England Patriots personnel participated in violations of the Playing Rules and were involved in a deliberate effort to circumvent the rules," reads the report by league-appointed attorney Ted Wells. The report implicates locker room attendant Jim McNally and equipment assistant John Jastremski and states "it is more probable than not that Tom Brady was at least generally aware" of what they were doing. Here's the full report.
Relegation-Bound Blackpool's Fans Storm Field, Cancel Match: The fans in Blackpool invaded the field during the English Championship team's final game before relegation Saturday, calling for chairman Karl Oyston's ouster. The game had to be cancelled. Fans announced earlier they would begin their anti-Oyston protest at the statue of legendary Blackpool player Stan Mortensen outside their stadium. The team had the statue cut down on Tuesday, so all that remains is the base. Daniel Taylor of The Guardian writes of Oyston, "I couldn't say with absolute certainty that he is deliberately setting out to be regarded as the most unpleasant man in the business, but he is certainly making a good fist of it."
NHL Playoff Pick 'Em, Round 2: Round two play begins tonight at 7:30 p.m. Eastern. Pick the four teams that will advance out of the second round and the number of games each series will require: Chicago vs. Minnesota, Anaheim vs. Calgary, Montreal vs. Tampa Bay, New York Rangers vs. Washington. One extra point on winning picks for getting the number of games right. Another extra point for picking the top point scorer (goals plus assists) in each playoff series. A final point for picking the goalie with the best goals against average in this round with at least three periods played.
How Big Will Mayweather-Pacquiao Be Saturday?: On Saturday night, Floyd Mayweather Jr. fights Manny Pacquiao at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas in a welterweight title bout that is expected to generate more pay-per-view revenue than any bout in history. Pent-up demand for the fight has fostered expectations that it will exceed the records for pay-per-view boxing purchases (2.48 million for Mayweather's win over Oscar De La Hoya in 2007) and for revenue ($152 million for Mayweather's defeat of Saul Alvarez two years ago). The cost of watching Pacquiao fight Mayweather -- at a suggested price of $89.95 to $99.95 -- is a record for boxing.
Fan Injured by Airborne Baseball Bat at Wrigley Field: A fan sitting a few rows back near the on-deck circle was struck by a bat that left the hands of Chicago Cubs rookie Addison Russell during a game Monday night. The fan has been hospitalized for his injuries. "When the bat was in mid-flight, my mind was screaming 'watch out, watch out,'" Russell said. "I saw the kid's glasses fly, and it wasn't pretty. I feel very bad." He said he hopes to give the fan an autographed bat.
Rangers Close to Trade with Angels for Josh Hamilton: The Texas Rangers are close to completing a trade with the Los Angeles Angels for Josh Hamilton, according to media reports from Dallas/Fort Worth media. Radio host Ben Rogers tweeted, "My guess is that no big contracts will be traded back to the Angels. I expect this will be the Angels paying a ton of his salary." Hamilton is currently both an injury and a substance abuse concern. He's rehabbing offseason shoulder surgery and self-reported his third drug abuse relapse since 2009.
Fan Hit in Head by Foul Ball Through Home-Plate Netting: A fan behind home plate at PNC Park in Pittsburgh was struck in the back of the head Monday night, necessitating a 23-minute delay as she was treated and stretchered off. She was standing behind the home-plate netting, but close enough to be struck anyway. Tim Kirkjian responded on ESPN that fans who don't watch the ball during a game are in serious danger, especially along the base lines close to home, but how many fans are fast enough to react even if they're paying attention?
Bryan Stow Throws Out First Pitch at Minor League Game: The San Francisco Giants fan beaten outside Dodger Stadium threw out the ceremonial first pitch at the home opener for the San Jose Giants, a team where he used to be a paramedic before he was left brain damaged in the attack four years ago. Stow still suffers memory loss and concentration issues but is able to walk and stand for short periods and gave newspaper interviews before the ceremony. "I'm excited about it," Stow told a newspaper.
U.S. Men Win 2-0 Over Mexico in San Antonio: Playing on a dismal surface, the U.S. men's national team handed Mexico another 2-0 loss in a friendly Wednesday night in San Antonio. Jordan Morris, the first current college player to play for the U.S. since 1999, scored a scrappy goal off a defender's carom and Juan Agudelo took a long pass out of the air, opened up a little space outside the box and beat the goalie to hang the famous "dos a cero" on the Americans' southern rival.
NHL Playoff Pick 'Em Starts Now: The playoffs begin tonight at 7 p.m. Eastern. Pick the eight teams that will advance out of the first round and the number of games each series will require: Ottawa vs. Montreal, New York Islanders vs. Washington, Chicago vs. Nashville, Calgary vs. Vancouver, Pittsburgh vs. New York Rangers, Detroit vs. Tampa Bay, Minnesota vs. St. Louis, Winnipeg vs. Anaheim. One extra point on winning picks for getting the number of games right. Another extra point for picking one of the three top goal scorers in this playoff round.
Ex-NFL Running Back Suspected of Killing Cellmate: Former NFL running back Lawrence Phillips is suspected of killing his cellmate in a Central California prison, officials said. Damion Soward, Phillips' cellmate at Kern Valley State Prison, was found lifeless early Saturday and later pronounced dead. A former Nebraska standout drafted sixth overall in 1996 by the St. Louis Rams, Phillips is serving a sentence of more than 31 years after being convicted of twice choking his girlfriend in 2005 in San Diego and later that year of driving his car into three teens after a pickup football game in Los Angeles. Soward, 37, was serving 82 years to life for first-degree murder.
Famous Texas Sportswriter Jim Dent Convicted of 10th DWI: The sportswriter Jim Dent, a former reporter in Dallas and Fort Worth known better today for his non-fiction sports books such as The Junction Boys, is in jail awaiting his sentence for his ninth and 10th DWI convictions. He fled the charges to Mexico for a year, where he promoted his latest book Manzell Mania in interviews conducted over an anonymous Internet phone service, but was caught at a border crossing in San Diego. He says he's done drinking (natch) but a long prison sentence awaits. "Dent said he has at least one more book in him," writes Barry Horn. "He is 35,000 handwritten words into an autobiography he has titled Last Call."
Losing Wisconsin Coach Laments 'Rent-a-Player' Trend: After Duke beat Wisconsin for the men's NCAA basketball championship, shots were still being taken. Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan: "We don't do a rent-a-player." Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill: "Congrats to Duke, but I was rooting for team who had stars that are actually going to college and not just doing semester tryout for NBA." She later added: "I see I have stirred things up. Sorry, but I'm sad about the one and done thing. I understand why it's happening, but I don't have to like it."