Andre Iguodala voted VP of National Basketball Players Association

The National Basketball Players Association elected Golden State’s Andre Iguodala as first vice president during its Board of Player Representatives meeting on Monday.

Iguodala has served as vice president of the Executive Committee since 2013. He will replace LeBron James in his new role. James’ four-year term has expired.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

“I am honored to be chosen by my peers to step into this position and take on a larger responsibility within the NBPA,” Iguodala said in a statement. “I look forward to continuing my work with (NBPA executive director) Michele (Roberts), Chris Paul and the Executive Committee to accomplish the best possible outcomes for the union and our future members.”12

In other elections, Milwaukee’s Malcolm Brogdon, Boston’s Jaylen Brown and Charlotte’s Bismack Biyombo were elected to serve as vice presidents on the Executive Committee. Brogdon, Brown and Biyombo have all previously served as NBPA team representatives; they will replace Carmelo Anthony, Golden State’s Stephen Curry and Iguodala, whose three-year terms have expired.

“Malcolm, Jaylen and Bismack have all shown a great commitment to the union since they arrived in the league,” NBPA president Chris Paul said in a statement. “I have no doubt they will bring a fresh perspective and passion to the Executive Committee and I am excited to start working with them.”nike nfl jerseys cheap china

Other members of the Executive Committee include Minnesota’s Anthony Tolliver (secretary-treasurer), San Antonio’s Pau Gasol, Portland’s CJ McCollum and Los Angeles Clippers veteran Garrett Temple (vice presidents).

The Committee will help guide the union in policy-making and decision-making with regard to the current collective bargaining agreement. Each side can opt out of the current agreement in 2022.


Rockets’ James Harden falls 2 points short of extending 40-point streak

With a missed layup with five seconds remaining, James Harden’s historic scoring five-game run of at least 40 points came to an end in the Houston Rockets’ 110-101 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday night.

“Well, we held [Harden] under 40, so I guess that’s a win,” Blazers coach Terry Stotts said.

Harden finished with 38 points on 13-of-35 shooting, including 5-of-17 from 3 and maybe most notably just 7-of-7 from the free throw line.nfl cheap jerseys nike

“Honestly that streak is pretty cool for stats and whatnot, but honestly the win is more important,” Harden said. “So, came up short and now we’ve got another opportunity to go home and play Denver, who’s playing exceptionally well. So we’ve got to regroup.”11

Harden said he was unaware he was two points short of 40 when he drove to the rim down nine with a few seconds left. He had an obvious off night, with coach Mike D’Antoni suggesting there was possibly some lingering emotion hanging on Harden and the team after their stunning overtime win against the Golden State Warriors on Thursday. Harden started slowly, scoring only nine points on 3-of-15 shooting in the first half.nike nfl jerseys wholesale cheap

“My shots were flat in the beginning of the game,” he said. “So I just had to adjust a little bit, get them up. That was another thing, for myself I’ve got to get off to a better start. I picked it up in the third quarter and the second half, but that first half I had the same opportunities I normally get but my shot was just a little flat.”

Harden got it going in the third, scoring 20 in the quarter on 8-of-13 shooting. He had the full arsenal at his disposal — step-back 3s, drives to the rim and, of course, free throws. But after playing the entire third, he sat out the opening of the fourth quarter and didn’t score in the final frame until hitting a 3 with 2:13 left. He got three free throws after an unusual call when Evan Turner fouled PJ Tucker while Harden was taking a 3, and hit a deep 3 with 34 seconds left.


The night LeBron James and Cleveland will never forget

Nearly eight years have passed, but LeBron James still remembers the exact date he played in Cleveland for the first time as a member of the Miami Heat — Dec. 2, 2010 — as if it was a birthday or an anniversary.cheap official nike nfl jerseyscheap nike nfl jerseys from china

With Northeast Ohio’s native son returning to Quicken Loans Arena some five months after “The Decision” rocked the fan base to its core — dredging up decades of insecurity brought upon by repeated failures by the pro sports franchises in town — a regular-season game between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Heat became a spectacle unlike any other in the NBA’s rich history.

The Cavs played a role in building up the intensity. The video board flashed between shots of James warming up and various Cleveland athletes and personalities who’d been invited to attend for this purpose. Browns stars Bernie Kosar and Josh Cribbs, Indians star Travis Hafner and actor Drew Carey made their entrances set against James. The culmination came when team owner Dan Gilbert entered, cast like a heavyweight fighter. The messaging was unmistakable: The fans were being prodded to believe it was us against him.12

The crowd was in a frenzy. There were coordinated chants, dozens of signs, and objects being hurled onto the court. Despite the adversity, James delivered one of his best performances of that season. In the third quarter, he broke the crowd’s spirit as he scored 24 of his 38 points. He made 15 of 25 shots and added five rebounds and eight assists. When he checked out for good at the end of the third quarter, Miami led by 30, en route to a 118-90 victory.

“It was something that nobody had ever seen before. Everybody knew the emotions behind it. Cable television made sure that they captured every moment. It was an eerie feeling, just going back. It was an uncomfortable feeling going back because of the situation. And I knew how up in bunches everybody was.cheap official nike nfl jerseys

“The only thing I was talking about was, ‘How can I play well?’ I wanted to play well. I wanted to play well more than anything. I knew that I had a group of guys that were going to ride for me that night, no matter what. That was just the makeup of our club. I wasn’t worried about that. But it was an eerie night.

“Once I hit the court, I’m in my safe haven. Once I hit the court in warm-ups, you could hear the boos. It was probably the loudest I’ve ever heard boos in my life. I felt the animosity. I felt the scrutiny. But once the ball was tipped, I’m in my safe haven. There’s nothing that can stop me from trying to be the best I can be.


Tottenham’s Harry Kane brushes off Neil Warnock accusations after Joe Ralls red card

Harry Kane has refuted Cardiff manager Neil Warnock’s suggestion that he put pressure on referee Mike Dean to send off Joe Ralls at Wembley on Saturday.

Kane rushed over to confront Ralls after the visiting midfielder’s cynical 58th-minute tackle on Lucas Moura, which was punished with a straight red card.cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

Warnock criticised Kane’s conduct after Spurs’ 1-0 victory, saying the striker was trying to “make an issue of it and get the referee to think it is worse than it is,” adding: “I don’t think you should try and get other pros sent off, just because he and Spurs are having a poor game.”

Kane, however, does not believe he had any influence on Dean’s decision.11

“He’s kicked one of our players knee-height and the ref said to me that the fourth official helped him out,” said the Tottenham forward.cheap nike nfl jerseys free shipping

“I guess managers are going to get angry, it’s part of the game. But at the end of the day their player has looked at our player and he’s kicked him higher than he ever should, so for me it was a red card and the right decision.”

Spurs have had a mixed campaign so far and lost three successive matches last month, while they are yet to pick up a point in their Champions League group.

Their fans would also have hoped for a more convincing home win over Cardiff, the Premier League’s bottom side, on Saturday — yet the north Londoners are only two points off the top of the table.

“We’re in a good spot,” said Kane. “We went through that spell where everyone thought it was the end of the world and we’ve come out the other side and we’ve done alright. We’re not far off the top.

“It’s like most seasons. We just stay calm and stay under the radar. Everyone talks about everyone else and we’ll just see if we can go on a good run between now and Christmas, and we’ll see where that puts us.

“Cardiff are a tough team, physical. It was a rainy day and the pitch wasn’t as good as it normally is so it was one of those games where we just had to get over the line and we did that. It was a great clean sheet.


Eagles facing early crossroad in title defense

Coach Doug Pederson warned as much, even pushing the mantra “Embrace the Target” beginning early this offseason to drill home that they are going to get their opponent’s best shot week after week.

That theory has largely held up through four games. The Eagles haven’t always been ready for it, or maybe equipped to handle it, and sit at 2-2 as a result. Next up is a desperate Minnesota Vikings team with revenge on their mind following the 38-7 pummeling in Philly in the NFC Championship Game.nike nfl jerseys wholesale cheap

“First of all, we have to understand that we are champions, and you have to play, you’re expected to play a certain way,” Pederson said. “When you don’t live up to that expectation, we need to just zero down on it and figure out why. The sense of urgency from players and coaches needs to heighten just a little bit. It’s not a panic mode, but it’s a heightened awareness of who we are as a football team, where we want to get to.”11

Right now, the Eagles are a .500 football team with an offense that ranks 26th in points per game (20.5) and third in penalty yards (343). The offensive line, touted as one of the best in the sport, has been leaky at times and was partly responsible for the 11 hits and four sacks Carson Wentz absorbed last week in an overtime loss to the Tennessee Titans. The defense has been unreliable on the road and is coming off a performance in which it allowed three fourth-down conversions on a single drive in overtime.nfl cheap jerseys nike

Injuries are piling up. The loss of safety Rodney McLeod (knee surgery) arguably cost them the Titans game (his replacement, Corey Graham, was out of position on the defining fourth-and-15 conversion) and leaves them vulnerable on the back end. He is the fourth Eagles player to hit injured reserve this season, joining wide receivers Mike Wallace and Mack Hollins and tight end Richard Rodgers. Jay Ajayi has a fracture in his back, and his running mates, Darren Sproles and Corey Clement, haven’t been able to stay on the field consistently.

Add the fact that Wentz (ACL/LC), defensive end Brandon Graham (ankle) and receiver Alshon Jeffery (shoulder) are just getting back onto the field/rounding into form, and you can see where some of the issues are stemming from.

On the bright side, some of those key players such as Wentz and Jeffery are now back in the fold, and with the arrow pointing up. That’s the way right tackle Lane Johnson chose to look at it while discussing the state of the team on Tuesday.

“We’re starting to get everybody back,” he said. “It was only Carson’s second game. We’re getting Jordan Matthews back, getting Alshon Jeffery back, so it takes time for a cohesive group to get back into a rhythm. Sometimes it’s not pretty, and that’s the way it is.


MLBPA: Blue Jays not calling up touted prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is ‘bad for the industry’

The Major League Baseball Players Association faulted the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday for not calling up touted prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr., saying the decision was bad for all involved.

“The union’s position on service-time manipulation is clear, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and other great young talents around baseball have earned the right to play on the field for a major league team,” a union spokesman told Sportsnet on Thursday. “The decision to not to bring him up is a business decision, not a baseball decision. It’s bad for the Blue Jays, it’s bad for fans, it’s bad for players and it’s bad for the industry.”cheap nike nfl jerseys free shipping

Guerrero was not among the September call-ups for the Blue Jays, despite being one of baseball’s top prospects while tearing up the minor leagues this season.10

Asked about the decision Wednesday, Blue Jays president Mark Shapiro said it was not a financial one.

“It has nothing to do with business,” Shapiro told SiriusXM’s MLB Network Radio. “It has nothing to do with anything other than we think the best thing for him developmentally is to go play in Arizona (in the fall league there) and continue to develop.

“We think that when he gets here — which would obviously not preclude him from making the team out of spring training next year, which would be evidence of that fact — we think he’s got a chance to be an impact player.”

When the Blue Jays do call up the 19-year-old Guerrero, his major league service time begins. Thus, the quicker he’s called up, the sooner he’s eligible for free agency and a potentially big payday.nike nfl jerseys cheap china

Guerrero was No. 2 on ESPN Insider Keith Law’s midseason top 50 prospects list. He hit .402 with 14 home runs and 60 RBIs in Double-A, then was promoted to Triple-A and hit .336 with six home runs and 16 RBIs in 30 games.


Erick Gutierrez’s PSV move shows how Pachuca is a model of youth development

Erick Gutierrez’s move to PSV Eindhoven last week was widely lauded as being the right step in the 23-year-old’s career, but for Pachuca it represented a bittersweet moment.

On one hand, the transfer of Gutierrez to Europe is vindication of a player development process that is proving to be the most successful in Mexico. On the other, the club hasn’t reached the playoffs in Liga MX in the last three seasons and has just lost its captain and arguably its best player.

For the 23-year-old Mexico international known as “Guti,” it was a no-brainer: moving to a league that has been kind to Mexicans should be a perfect launchpad from which to continue to develop, under the radar of bigger European clubs and alongside his long-time friend Hirving Lozano. Playing in the Champions League group stage against the likes of Barcelona, Inter Milan and Tottenham Hotspur propels him into the spotlight almost instantly.nike nfl jerseys wholesale cheap

But it was no guarantee that Gutierrez would be sold this summer and after PSV’s first bid it looked very much like the left-footed player would be staying put.8

“The initial formal offer was made like two months ago, but it was very low and it was a loan option, so we didn’t want to take it, we didn’t even consider it, we didn’t even start negotiating. It was so far from what we were expecting that we didn’t try to,” recounted Pachuca sporting director Marco Garces in English in an interview with ESPN FC.

A loan option was never going to tempt Pachuca to relinquish a player who has been one of its model youth academy graduates.

But when PSV Eindhoven edged closer to the Champions League group stage, with all the income that that entails, a deal was thrashed out relatively quickly.

“Actually the time we closed it up was during the BATE Borisov [Champions League qualifying second leg] game,” explained Garces. “They were in the stadium and they were negotiating and then when they scored the second it all went through. Much easier!”cheap nike nfl jerseys paypal

It’s the second major move in Gutierrez’s fledgling career. The 2018 World Cup squad member arrived in Pachuca from the coastal state of Sinaloa at age 11, stayed in the club’s youth academy, was starting in a Liga MX final before he’d turned 19 and was captaining Pachuca and Mexico’s Under-23s at age 20.

“He was the captain not because we appointed him, but because all the youngsters around him really respected him and wanted to be near him,” said Garces.


David Price likely won’t make next start; Chris Sale’s return not set

Boston Red Sox left-hander David Price likely won’t make his next scheduled start, and the team remains unsure when ace lefty Chris Sale will return to the rotation.

Manager Alex Cora said Price “most likely” will not take his turn in the rotation next week at Atlanta. He said Price still is sore and hasn’t thrown since he was struck on his pitching wrist by a line drive against Miami on Wednesday. He was examined by a hand specialist on Thursday.cheap nfl jerseys nike china

“I haven’t [sat] down with him yet, but (trainer) Brad (Pearson) told me he was still sore,” Cora said. “[He’s] feeling better, but I don’t think he’s gonna be ready for that one. So if he’s not ready for that one, we’ll push it back.”

Price has bounced back after being limited to 11 starts last season because of an elbow injury. He is 14-6 with a 3.60 ERA in 26 outings.7

The Red Sox own the best record in the majors even though Sale hasn’t pitched since Aug. 12 because of mild inflammation in his pitching shoulder. But Cora thinks he will make a few starts before the playoffs.

Sale — 12-4 with a 1.97 ERA — threw long toss on flat ground Friday after playing catch the previous four days.cheap nfl jerseys from china nike

“The way it’s going right now, whenever he gets on the mound, he’s gonna move fairly quick,” Cora said. “Obviously we have to build him up, but … there’s not too [many] innings in the minor leagues. We’re gonna have to do it at the big-league level. We talk about it a little bit. I don’t want to get into details yet, obviously, because we are on a day-by-day basis with him. If everything goes right, he’ll be able to build up, and we’re gonna be very comfortable with him.”


How Josef Martinez’s record-breaking season compares to MLS’ past goal-scoring kings

Last weekend, Josef Martinez joined Bradley Wright-Phillips, Chris Wondolowski and Roy Lassiter as Major League Soccer’s single-season scoring king by netting his 27th goal of 2018.

After his game-winning goal in Atlanta United’s 2-1 victory over Orlando City, he now stands alone top the MLS record books with 28 goals in a single season.

As if becoming the league’s record single-season goal scorer wasn’t impressive enough, Martinez has done it in 26 matches. His Atlanta United still have eight games remaining for the 25-year-old to extend his record.cheap wholesale nike nfl jerseys

To help illustrate just how dominant Martinez has been in 2018, ESPN FC enlisted the help of ESPN Stats & Information to compare the Venezuelan’s campaign with the then-record-setting seasons from Wright-Phillips, Wondolowski and Lassiter.

The most effective way of doing so is via goals per 90, which is 1.15 for Martinez following his goal on Friday. Lassiter comes closest with his 1.05 in 1996; Wright-Phillips tallied 0.90 in 2014; and Wondolowski managed 0.81 in 2012.6

And while the numbers bear out Martinez’s efficiency, it’s not as if he’s padding his stats with meaningless goals either. His nine game-winning goals are second to Wondolowski’s 11. He already has bested Wright-Phillips’ six and Lassiter’s four.

Martinez has changed games when required in 2018; his goals have put Atlanta in position to win with regularity this season. He has scored in 19 of 26 matches; only Lassiter scored in more games across his record-setting season. But Martinez’s strike rate of netting in 73 percent of matches is noticeably higher than Lassiter’s 65 percent of matches — 21 of 32.

But perhaps the most striking statistic to illustrate the importance of Martinez’s goals this season is Atlanta’s record when he scores. Its 14-1-4 mark when he has found the back of the net equates to a 2.42 points-per-game pace. The Five Stripes are 2-3-2 when Martinez doesn’t strike, earning 1.14 points per game.
No one else comes close to having such an influence.cheap nfl nike jerseys free shipping

The New York Red Bulls went 9-4-4 when Wright-Phillips scored in 2014, for 1.82 points per game. They were 4-6-4 when he didn’t, picking up 1.14 points per game. The San Jose Earthquakes were 13-2-4 when Wondolowski scored in 2012, earning 2.26 points per game. They went 5-3-5, a points-per-game pace of 1.54, when he didn’t score. Lassiter’s Tampa Bay Mutiny were 13-4-4 when he scored, averaging 1.85 points per game. They were 4-4-1 when he didn’t, scoring 1.44 points per game.

Only Wright-Phillips’ Red Bulls were as reliant on his goals as Atlanta is on Martinez’s, but none of the league’s previous single-season scoring kings can claim a higher points-per-game mark when scoring, and no team’s swing is as drastic when their talisman was held scoreless as the 1.25 points-per-game swing that the Five Stripes experience when Martinez is kept off the score sheet.


How the Killer B’s have tamed the Monster and Fenway’s wild outfield

has stories to tell, and every once in a while Andrew Benintendi will pause and let his imagination roam. He’ll look up and see a small ding here, a deeper indentation there and even the embedded imprint of a seam from a particularly well-struck ball in years past. Whether the perpetrator was Jimmie Foxx or Harmon Killebrew or a more recent slugger — say, Aaron Judge — is impossible to tell.

“It’s funny,” Benintendi said. “I was looking at it one homestand and there were a bunch of dents, and I was like, ‘That’s crazy.’ Every inch of that wall has been hit. There’s a lot of history there.”

But there’s not much time for reverie in the middle of the action. Benintendi never knows when an opposing hitter’s swing might result in a big hop high off the wall, and he’ll have to spin and fire a no-look throw into second base and hope it’s accurate enough to erase the baserunner or make him retreat to first. Those are the daily challenges of playing in a historic landmark with the quirkiest outfield configuration in the majors.cheap nfl nike jerseys free shipping

Inspiration comes with a glance to his left — and another beyond that. Benintendi’s outfield cohabitants at Fenway Park set the bar awfully high.8

As the Boston Red Sox move on from three straight losses at Tampa Bay in pursuit of a franchise record for wins, it’s easy to cite the addition of J.D. Martinez to the lineup, David Price’s resurgence in the rotation or any number of factors in the team’s success. But the subtleties also matter. Among the most prominent: The daily brilliance of the outfield contingent of Mookie Betts in right field, Jackie Bradley Jr. in center and Benintendi in left.

During a TV broadcast last month, Red Sox color man Jerry Remy opined that Boston’s “Killer B’s” play better defense than Dwight Evans, Fred Lynn and Jim Rice did during their peak in the 1970s. Rice, who was never known for his glove even though he became adept at playing the wall, shook his head in mock disdain in his role as a NESN studio analyst before conceding that, yes, the 2018 contingent is pretty good.cheap nike jerseys nfl

Statistically, the best outfields in the majors this year play in Milwaukee, where Lorenzo Cain, Christian Yelich et al., have a defensive runs saved of plus-44, and Arizona, where A.J. Pollock, David Peralta & Co. have logged an aggregate plus-34. Boston’s group, in comparison, has a modest DRS of plus-15.

But these guys sure pass the eye test. Boston TV color man Dennis Eckersley, who played with Evans, Lynn, Rice and Carl Yastrzemski in the 1970s and ’80s, marvels at the way Bradley, Betts and Benintendi use their speed, arms, athleticism and communications skills to steal hits and change the course of games.

“In the future, we’ll see how great they really become,” Eckersley said. “But right now, defensively, it’s the best I’ve ever seen. I think everybody knows it around the league. It’s just another thing that makes this a great team.”