Raiders Owner Mark Davis Calls Lease Deal ‘Win-Win’ For Both Sides

oakland-raiders-wallpaperal_davis_616s.raiders.0212oakland-raidersFour weeks after being stymied in their effort to move to Los Angeles, the Raiders agreed to a one-year lease extension Thursday to remain at the Oakland Coliseum through the 2016 season — and possibly beyond.

Raiders owner Mark Davis, who had been mulling multiple options to move his team since being passed over by the NFL’s other owners to relocate the Raiders to Southern California, called the deal a “win-win” for both sides.

“It gives us an opportunity to work on a permanent facility for the Raiders here in Oakland,” Davis told reporters. “It gives us some certainty for this season as well as flexibility for the following two seasons.”

The agreement with the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Joint Powers Authority guarantees that the Raiders will play the 2016 season in the same stadium they have called home since 1995. It also carries two one-year team options.

The deal still needs approval of the Oakland City Council and Alameda County Board of Supervisors. Both are expected to meet to discuss the terms of the agreement within the next two weeks.

“I feel very optimistic about the situation,” JPA Chair and Oakland City Councilman Larry Reid told The Associated Press. “It gives (Oakland mayor Libby Schaaf) and her team an opportunity to work with the Raiders on putting together a perm facility that will keep the Raiders here in the city of Oakland. This is an NFL city.”

Reid declined to discuss specific details about the new lease with the Raiders but said it was much better than previous agreements between the two sides.

“(It) is a much better lease agreement than the one that’s due to expire on Feb. 17,” Reid said. “That shows the Raiders commitment to sit down and get a deal done.”

If the Chargers opt to stay in San Diego, the Raiders would then be given the chance to move to Los Angeles, where they played from 1982 to ’94.

The St. Louis Rams were approved to move to Los Angeles in January, and the San Diego Chargers have an option to join the Rams at their yet-to-be-built stadium in Inglewood.

Davis, who took over the Raiders after his father Al Davis died in 2011, has repeatedly stated a desire to keep his team in Oakland while at the same time checking out other potential sites. He has met with officials from San Antonio on several occasions, and recently was reportedly interested in exploring Las Vegas as a possible place to move the franchise.

“If people are going to call you and offer you things to look at, you have to look at them,” Davis said. “But my heart is here in Oakland and if we can get something done, that’s what I’m trying to do.”

The Raiders currently share the O.co Coliseum with the Oakland Athletics, who are also seeking a new stadium of their own. A’s owner Lew Wolff has stated his desire to have a baseball-only stadium at the site where the Coliseum currently sits. Davis, however, has said he favors building two stadiums — one for football and one for baseball.

To help in negotiations for getting a new stadium built in Oakland, the Raiders hired consulted Larry MacNeil and added him to their stadium development team. MacNeil previously spent 10 years as chief financial officer for the San Francisco 49ers and was instrumental in getting the $1.3 billion Levi’s Stadium built.

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Ingrid Williams, The Wife of Former New Orleans Head Coach, and Current Oklahoma Thunder Assistant Coach, Monty Williams dies in car crash.

Tragedy struck the Oklahoma City Thunder and rippled throughout the NBA Wednesday, as news spread of the death of the wife of Monty Williams, an assistant coach with the team. Ingrid Williams, 44, was involved in a car crash Tuesday, and she leaves behind five children.

“The Thunder organization has heavy hearts tonight with the news of Ingrid’s passing,” the team said in a statement. “Words cannot adequately describe how deep our sorrow is for the loss of Monty’s wife. Our thoughts and prayers are with Monty and his family, and we will support him in every way possible. We know the entire community of Oklahoma City has them in their prayers.”

Monty Williams was in his first year with the Thunder after serving as the head coach of the New Orleans Pelicans from 2010 to 2015. That team also released a statement:

“The New Orleans Pelicans are devastated to hear the news of Ingrid Williams’ passing,” the Pelicans said. “Ingrid was beloved by the Pelicans organization and the New Orleans community and will forever be remembered as one of the most generous, kind and humble individuals we’ve ever known. Our thoughts and prayers are with Monty Williams and his family during this difficult time.”

According to Jeff Duncan of the New Orleans Times-Picayune, the Pelicans held a moment of silence for Ingrid Williams before their game Wednesday against the Utah Jazz. After the Spurs-Magic game, an emotional Gregg Popovich, who had helped Williams begin his coaching career, declined to speak about the death of Ingrid Williams.

Monty Williams joined the Thunder coaching staff before this season after serving as Pelicans head coach from 2010 to 2015 before he was fired. Williams also played in the NBA for six teams from 1994 to 2003.ingrid_monty_williamsmonty williams and wifemonty wms and wifemonty-williams-suits

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The Charlotte Hornets Legend Alonzo Mourning Honored in Halftime Ceremony on Buzz City Night

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. - 1994: Alonzo Mourning #33 of the Charlotte Hornets dribbles the ball against the New York Knicks circa 1994 at the Charlotte Coliseum in Charlotte, North Carolina. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 1994 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – 1994: Alonzo Mourning #33 of the Charlotte Hornets dribbles the ball against the New York Knicks circa 1994 at the Charlotte Coliseum in Charlotte, North Carolina. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 1994 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

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Hornets Sports & Entertainment announced today that the team will honor former players Dell Curry and Alonzo Mourning for their achievements during their Hornets careers at special halftime ceremonies on a pair of Buzz City Nights during the 2015-16 season.  Curry will be recognized when the Hornets take on his son Stephen and the Golden State Warriors, while Mourning will be acknowledged when the team hosts the Miami Heat, for whom he currently serves as Vice President of Player Programs.  The Hornets this season will begin commemorating the contributions of legendary players, with plans for more players to be honored in the future.

“I am pleased to announce our plans to celebrate the careers of Hornets legends that have left an indelible mark on our franchise,” said Hornets Sports & Entertainment President & COO Fred Whitfield. “With our Buzz City Nights being a reflection of our fans’ enthusiasm for the Hornets, we are excited to have this opportunity for our organization and our fans to show appreciation to Dell and Alonzo for the immense impacts they made on this community, both on and off the court.”

Curry, who currently serves as the organization’s Hornets Ambassador and Special Project Advisor and as a Hornets color analyst on Fox Sports Southeast, was the first player selected by the Charlotte Hornets in the 1988 NBA Expansion Draft.  He spent 10 seasons with the Hornets (1988-98), averaging 14.0 points, 2.9 rebounds and 2.0 assists, and remains the all-time leader in Charlotte NBA history in games played (701), points scored (9,839), field goals (3,951), three-point field goals (929) and double-figure scoring games (592).  The 1993-94 NBA Sixth Man of the Year, Curry ranked in the NBA’s top 10 in three-point percentage in five of his 10 seasons in Charlotte and represented the franchise in the Three-Point Shootout at NBA All-Star Weekend in both 1993 and 1995.  He currently ranks 27th among the NBA’s career leaders in three-point percentage (.402), 42nd in three-point field goals (1,245) and 63rd in free throw percentage (.844).

A 2014 inductee into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, Mourning was selected by the Hornets with the second overall pick in the 1992 NBA Draft.  He spent three seasons in Charlotte (1992-95), appearing in 215 games with averages of 21.3 points, 10.1 rebounds and 3.2 blocks in 35.2 minutes.  Mourning is the all-time leader in Charlotte NBA history in both blocks (684) and blocks per game (3.2), while ranking second in points per game (21.3) and rebounds per game (10.1). A member of the NBA’s All-Rookie First Team following the 1992-93 season, he represented Charlotte in a pair of NBA All-Star Games in 1994 (DNP-left calf injury) and 1995.  Mourning was also responsible for one of the iconic moments in Charlotte NBA history, knocking down a buzzer-beating, series-clinching jump shot in Game Four of the First Round of the 1993 NBA Playoffs against the Boston Celtics to send the Hornets to the next round in their first-ever playoff series.

Both games will be among the six Buzz City Nights scheduled for the 2015-16 season, in which the Hornets will wear the new black “Buzz City” Pride uniforms.  Like the “Buzz City” uniforms, Buzz City Nights serve as a celebration of the fans’ excitement around the Hornets, past and present, and the city of Charlotte. When Curry and Mourning are honored, the first 10,000 fans entering Time Warner Cable Arena will receive a black “Buzz City” jersey T-shirt featuring the player’s name and number.

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Lynn Swann: Next Generation Is The Key To Growing The Game!!!!!!

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PGA of America board member Lynn Swann sees getting more youths involved as the best way to grow the game. When it comes to growing the game of golf, PGA of America Board Member Lynn Swann is fully in favor of the youth movement sweeping tournament golf right now.

But he’s aiming at a generation even younger than the one dominated by Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Rickie Fowler.

Speaking at the PGA Merchandise Show on Thursday, Swann said the aim is to provide opportunities right now for future PGA Professionals. “I think we always grow the game best by taking it to young kids,” Swann said. “I think reaching out to kids, not only to the ones whose parents belong to clubs and play golf, but to those kids in urban settings who don’t have access to the game.

It’s about teaching the game and creating the joy of playing golf. “They may never become golf professionals in terms of on the PGA Tour. But they can help develop the game in golf design or being PGA Professionals, running golf shops and things of that nature. So giving them the opportunity of seeing what the avenues are is how we grow the game that way.”The 63rd PGA Merchandise Show is a perfect example of that, according to Swann.

Not only is the Show a chance for PGA Professionals to conduct business, learn new skills and network, it’s an opportunity to showcase the sport for people who may never have the skills to play golf on television for money but still want to pursue a career in the game.”It’s a great opportunity for golf professionals around the world to come in and see the latest technology of golf, the latest equipment and clothing, the things they want to put in their pro shops,” Swann said. “But it’s also an opportunity to learn.

There are a lot of teaching sessions for PGA Professionals and interns, young men and women who want to get into the golf business.”It’s also a great opportunity for young kids to be here and see the technology and innovation that surrounds the sport. A lot of people think they want to be involved in sports by playing the game.

In reality, there’s so many other things around the business of sport that creates opportunities for everyone.” Swann said he picked up the game while playing football at Southern California, but didn’t really get serious about golf until after he retired from the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1982. 

“I had some friends who played golf,” Swann said. “I had a friend named Charles Lyons who had a company called Holiday Golf Products. They had a line of products which eventually became TaylorMade. And Charlie was a lawyer by education and a USC grad. But he was a club designer. I played with his son who was about 13 years old at the time and he beat me handily. “But after I retired from football, I started picking up the game and just thoroughly enjoyed it.”When asked whether he was more nervous lining up on offense in the Super Bowl or teeing off at Augusta National Golf Club, the NFL Hall of Famer didn’t hesitate — he was way more comfortable with a helmet and shoulder pads than golf spikes and a driver in hand.Much of that, Swann said, comes down to practice and preparation, plus motivation and desire. You don’t win four Super Bowl rings without putting in the hours of preparation during practice, no matter how much natural ability you might have. And Swann said that’s the same thing with golf.

“It’s really any sport, or anything you do in life,” Swann said. “As a professional football wide receiver, I would work every day on drills to have the skill set of catching the ball and running the correct route. Did I know how to run a route? Absolutely. Did I know how to catch a ball? Absolutely.

“But every day, it’s important to ingrain the basic fundamentals over and over again, so when it comes time to do it, you’re not thinking about it. Instead, it looks like you’re just reacting to the situation. That’s practice, that’s preparation. And golf is the same way.”

So how does Swann approach golf? It’s serious fan — and he tries to enjoy his time on the course instead of worrying about how he’s playing.

“I’m not trying to be (a tour professional), so I take enough lessons and practice enough to have fun and go out and enjoy the game,” Swann said. “Will I make bad shots? Absolutely. But I don’t get upset about it because I haven’t put in that kind of time or work. I just love the game, want to play it and compete at it to the best of my ability.”

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Historic Campaign Pushes Turkmenistan To New Level

1482255_full-lndFor many, football is not usually something associated with Turkmenistan, a country better known for its rich natural resources. Though only the world’s 53rd largest country, the former Soviet republic boasts the fourth-biggest reserves of natural gas. But with the Central Asians excelling in the continent’s qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia, it is their game rather than resources that has gained increasing attention from across Asia.

As a matter of fact, Amangylyc Kocumow’s side had to overcome a disappointing start after a shock one-goal loss to Guam. Yet they have since held group favourites Iran to a 1-1 draw at home before victories against India, Guam and Oman sealed at least a place in the third qualifying round for the 2019 AFC Asian Cup with a game to spare.

“We have had a memorable campaign this time,” midfielder Guwanc Abylow told FIFA.com. “Our results so far are not too bad and these feats can be attributed to the players, managers as well as our fans who made it to the stadiums to support us. They are indeed the twelfth man of our team.”

“Looking back over recent years, we have constantly made progress,” added the 27-year-old, who opened the scoring in the 2-1 victory against India, and netted the matching winning-goal against Guam as they avenged their opening defeat. “Our Football Federation have focused on consistent development and thanks to their efforts we have reached a new level.”

In a sense, this game was a big event for not only the city but also our country,” Abylow said, recalling one of the most memorable results in the nation’s history. “It was the first time for the city to stage such a high-level international game – a World Cup qualifier. The local boys and girls all went out and gathered in the stadium to cheer us on against such a strong team in Iran. Of course, they were so happy that we didn’t let them down.”

Success spurs growth
Such festivities continued for the Turkmenistan fans as the team clinched their first win against a desperate India at home. Another solitary-goal home victory against Guam followed, before a recent 2-1 defeat of Oman saw Turkmenistan maintain their undefeated record on home soil. “These are unforgettable experiences for us, both the players and fans,” continued Abylow. “Especially, through our showings the fans are attracted to the stadiums and it is good for the development of football.”

Throughout the campaign, Abylow has dazzled spectators through his goalscoring abilities, fine passing and dribbling. A Lionel Messi fan, the Turkmenistan No10 draws inspiration from the fact that he has the same jersey number as the Argentina and Barcelona star. “Ten is my favourite number. I am glad to have this jersey number. If you look back into the football history, a lot of star-players also had the same number.”

Awaiting Turkmenistan in the concluding matchday on 29 March is an away match in India. Should they win and other results also go their way, they are hopeful of booking their automatic return to the next AFC Asian Cup.”I want to score more goals. But the most important thing is that we get the maximum points. We have proved that we are strong as a unit and we are determined to do our best in the remaining game,” Abylow concluded.2733690_full-lnd

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HER NAME IS LUDIVINE, SHE’S THE BEATIFUL HOUNDDOG OF ALABAMA, and she finishes 7th in the half-marathon in Alabama

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hsotdludivinedog1-500x412Ludivine-5_3558787bludivineDogging runners’ footsteps with great ease, LUDIVINE, THE BEAUTIFUL bloodhound finishes 7th in Alabama half-marathon.

A bloodhound joined a half-marathon race in Alabama. She finished seventh, but made a podium-worthy impact on racers and spectators. She went to the race start and took off win the runners at the starting shot. She stayed with a few of the front runners, ran off to sniff some animal carcasses, romp in the water, and then back to the race. She stayed on the course for 13.1 miles, finished seventh, and was the highest placed female.

And the LUDIVINE did this without her owner, April Hamlin, even knowing she’d left the yard. In fact, April didn’t know Ludivine — who is just over 2-years-old — had achieved 7th place until a friend volunteering at competition sent her pictures of the proof.

Ludivine ran it Saturday morning. She followed her nose out the backyard and all the way to the starting line of the INAUGURAL TRACKLESS TRAIN TREK HALF MARATHON, about a quarter-mile away. She hung out with the others for a while, and when the starting shot went off, she started running like everyone else.

“She stayed with a few of the front runners, ran off to romp in the water, and then back to the race.”

After 13 miles of keeping up with the other runners, Ludivine crossed the finish line and, as if knowing she’d completed a half-marathon, slowed to a walk. And even though she wasn’t an official competitor, organizers recognized her achievement anyway.

CONGRATULATIONS TO LUDIVINE FROM THE MYBOYSAY BLOODHOUND LOVERS NATION!!!

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Cameron “CAM” Jerrell Newton, CAROLINA PANTHERS VS Peyton Williams Manning, DENVER BRONCOS, AS THEY MEET FOR THE NFL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME, SUPER BOWL 50.

58033_story__newstadium.jpgCameron Jerrell “Cam” Newton (born May 11, 1989) is an American football player who is the quarterback for the Carolina Panthers of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Auburn and was drafted as the first overall pick by the Panthers in the 2011 NFL Draft. Newton is the only player in the modern era to, within a one-year span, be awarded the Heisman Trophy, win a national championship, and become the first overall pick in an NFL draft. He was the 2011 NFL Rookie of the Year, is a 3 time Pro Bowler, and was named to the NFL All Pro First Team in 2015.

In his rookie year, Newton broke numerous rookie and all-time NFL records for passing and rushing yards. He became the first rookie quarterback to throw for 400 yards in his first game, shattering Peyton Manning‘s first-game record by 120 yards. He also broke Otto Graham‘s 61-year-old record for passing yards by any quarterback in an NFL debut. Newton would go on to become the first rookie quarterback to throw for 4,000 yards in a season, as well as the first rookie quarterback to rush for 700 yards. He also ran for 14 touchdowns, more in a single season than any quarterback in NFL history, breaking Steve Grogan‘s 35-year-old record.

In 2015, Newton became the first quarterback in NFL History to throw for 30 touchdowns and rush for 10 in the same season (35 passing, 10 rushing). He also became the only quarterback ever to have 300 yards passing, 5 touchdown passes, and over 100 yards rushing in the same game. In the final game of the 2015–16 season Newton tied Steve Young‘s record for the most career rushing touchdowns by a quarterback – a record that Young set after 15 seasons in the NFL, compared to Newton’s five.

Peyton Williams Manning (born March 24, 1976) is an American football quarterback for the Denver Broncos of the National Football League (NFL). A five-time league MVP, he played for the Indianapolis Colts for 14 seasons between 1998 and 2011. He is a son of former NFL quarterback Archie Manning and an elder brother of New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning.

Manning played college football for the University of Tennessee, leading the Volunteers to the 1997 SEC Championship in his senior season. He was chosen by the Indianapolis Colts with the first overall pick in the 1998 NFL Draft. Manning’s playing career and statistics have ranked him among the greatest quarterbacks of all-time. From 1998 to 2010, he led the Colts to eight (seven AFC South and one AFC East) division championships, two AFC championships, and one Super Bowl championship (Super Bowl XLI). His five NFL MVPs are a league record, he was the most valuable player of Super Bowl XLI, has been named to 14 Pro Bowls, has thirteen 4,000-yard passing seasons,and is the Indianapolis Colts’ all-time leader in passing yards (54,828) and touchdown passes (399). In 2009, he was named the best player in the NFL, and Fox Sports, along with Sports Illustrated, named him the NFL player of the decade for the 2000s. Before the 2013 season had even finished, SI had named him their Sportsman of the Year.

In May 2011, he underwent neck surgery to alleviate neck pain and arm weakness he dealt with during the previous few seasons before signing a five-year, $90 million contract extension with the Colts in July 2011. Manning had hoped to play in the 2011 season, but in September 2011 he underwent a second, and much more serious surgery: a level-one cervical fusion procedure. Manning had never missed an NFL game in his career, but was forced to miss the entire 2011 season. He was released by the Colts on March 7, 2012, and after an almost two-week period where he visited with and worked out for several NFL teams, he signed with the Denver Broncos on March 20, 2012. On October 19, 2014, he broke Brett Favre‘s record for most career TDs when he threw his 509th touchdown pass, in a game against the San Francisco 49ers. On November 15, 2015, Manning overtook Favre as the all-time passing yardage leader in a game against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Manning’s pre-snap routine has earned him the nickname “The Sheriff”,  and he is one of the most recognizable and parodied players in the NFL. Teams led by Manning more often than not use the hurry-up offense in place of the standard huddle.

Super Bowl 50 will be the 50th edition of the Super Bowl and the 46th modern-era National Football League championship game. The American Football Conference (AFC) champion Denver Broncos will play the National Football Conference (NFC) champion Carolina Panthers to decide the league champion for the 2015 NFL season. For the third straight season, but only the fourth time in the prior 22 seasons, the number one seeds from both conferences will meet in the league championship game.

In a departure from the NFL tradition of using Roman numerals, this game is marketed in Arabic numerals as “Super Bowl 50” instead of Super Bowl L (the Roman numeral for 50).  The game is scheduled to be played on February 7, 2016, at 6:30 pm Eastern time at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California. This will be the first Super Bowl held in the San Francisco Bay Area since Super Bowl XIX in January 1985.

It has been dubbed as the Golden Super Bowl  because it will be located in the Golden State (California); held in the home stadium of the San Francisco 49ers, a team named after the miners of the California Gold Rush; images12 and because a 50th anniversary is traditionally the “golden anniversary“. CBS will telecast the game in the United States.  Cam_Newton_2014Super_Bowl_50_logo

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Tyronn Lue Named Cavaliers Head Coach: LUE PROJECTED TO BE THE COACH TO LEAD THE CAVALIERS TO THE PROMISE LAND, IF THEY TRADE KEVIN LOVE NOW!!!! Latest Contract Details and Reaction

Oct 14, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers head coach David Blatt (right) stands beside assistant coach Tyronn Lue against the Milwaukee Bucks at Quicken Loans Arena. Cleveland won 106-100. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

JAN 22, 2016, PICTURED ARE: Cleveland Cavaliers FIRED Head Coach David Blatt (right) stands beside NEW HEAD Coach Tyronn Lue at the Quicken Loans Arena.

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Lue opted for early entry into the 1998 NBA Draft. He was selected 23rd overall by the Denver Nuggets, but was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers with Tony Battie in exchange for Nick Van Exel on draft night. Lue excelled in the 2001 playoffs. Due to his quickness, he was specifically used to guard Allen Iverson during the NBA Finals. The Lakers’ 4-1 series victory over Iverson’s 76ers gave them the Second Of Three Consecutive  NBA CHAMPIONSHIP Titles.

 In the off-season of 2001, Lue signed with the Washington Wizards, where he got considerably more playing time and subsequently became a better player at the point. He played with the Orlando Magic in 2003–04 where he got to play a lot of minutes alongside Tracy McGrady while leading the team to the worst record in the NBA that season: 21–61. After the season Lue, along with Juwan Howard and McGrady were traded to the Houston Rockets for Steve Francis, Cuttino Mobley and Kelvin Cato. In Houston, Lue did not get many minutes of playing time because of the number of point guards the Rockets had on their roster. He was traded during the mid-season to the Atlanta Hawks for Jon Barry. Lue starred in Atlanta, although he again led the team with the worst record in the NBA that year, and the worst record in franchise history: 13–69.

On February 16, 2008, Lue was acquired by the Sacramento Kings in a trade with the Atlanta Hawks. He was waived by the Kings on February 28, 2008. After clearing waivers, Lue signed a contract with the Dallas Mavericks on March 4.

On October 23, 2009, Boston named Lue director of basketball development. In July 2013, he joined the Los Angeles Clippers‘ coaching staff.

On June 23, 2014, Lue joined the Cleveland Cavaliers as their new associate head coach, making him the highest paid assistant coach in the NBA in the process. Lue had been a top candidate for the Cavs’ head coaching job, which eventually went to David Blatt. Tyronn Lue Named Cavaliers Head Coach: LUE PROJECTED TO BE THE COACH TO LEAD THE CAVALIERS TO THE PROMISE LAND, IF THEY TRADE “KEVIN LOVE NOW”!!!!

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MAGIC JOHNSON IS THE FIRST CALIFORNIA CITIZEN TO PUT A DEPOSIT ON SEASON TICKETS OF THE NEWLY RELOCATED NFL FRANCHISE, THE L.A. RAMS

USATSI_8572554_168380823_lowres-810x540imrs.wdpLos-Angeles-Ramsdb956ce7b1475152cf551839d140a6ef36ee964916f5976bc2801cebfcbba038_crop_northThe Los Angeles Rams are heading back to the west coast next season, and the Rams began taking deposits for the 2016 season in L.A.

And things could not have kicked off any better for the team, which receiving a rousing endorsement in the form of a Los Angeles sports legend as its first depositor, MAGIC JOHNSON.

Earvin “Magic” Johnson, former Lakers great, who played in L.A. from 1979-91 and then again during the 1995-96 season. During that time he helped the Lakers win five NBA titles (1980, 1982, 1985, 1987, 1988) and was named the league’s most valuable player three times. Needless to say, L.A. sports fans like this guy, and if Magic is buying in (literally), L.A. is likely to follow suit in droves.

Johnson was joined post haste Monday by 5,000 others who made deposits for tickets in the opening five minutes, according to the team’s Twitter account, with an additional 5,000 added to that total in the first hour. That’s a pretty good start to filling the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, where the team is scheduled to play the 2016 season and which has a seating capacity of 93,607.

Rams owner Stan Kroenke tells L.A. fans: ‘It’s been a long road. But we made it.’

    

Rams owner Stan Kroenke plans to build a $1.86 billion stadium complex in Inglewood, which will house the Rams and the Chargers should choose to exercise their option to move to L.A., and is scheduled to open in 2019. Johnson and others who purchased tickets now will also have the first shot at buying personal seat licenses in the Inglewood stadium when those go on sale, which is expected to happen sometime in 2017.

Johnson, who played in the city during the team’s original stint in the L.A. area, has held season tickets before, so it’s not surprising that he would want to do so again upon the Rams return.

Johnson has also been a champion for sports in the city — on and off the court — including as an owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers and as the vice chairman of Los Angeles 2024, the group that is responsible for the city’s bid for the 2024 Summer Olympic Games.

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