THE BUSINESSMAN, NBA HALL OF FAMER, “ISIAH LORD THOMAS III”, THE GREATEST POINT GUARD OF HIS ERA, ONE OF THE GREATEST POINT GUARDS OF ALL TIME!!!!!

Isiah Lord Thomas III, (born April 30, 1961) is a retired American basketball player who played professionally for the Detroit Pistons in the National Basketball Association (NBA). The 12-time NBA All-Star was named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History and was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Thomas has also been a professional and collegiate head coach, a basketball executive, and a broadcaster.

Thomas played collegiately for the Indiana Hoosiers and won a NCAA BASKETBALL CHAMIONSHIP. He went on to play professionally as point guard for the Pistons from 1981 until 1994 and led the “Bad Boys” to NBA championships in the 1988–89 and 1989–90 seasons. After his playing career, he was an executive with the Toronto Raptors, a television commentator, an executive with the Continental Basketball Association, head coach of the Indiana Pacers, and an executive and head coach for the New York Knicks. He was later the men’s basketball coach for the Florida International University (FIU) Golden Panthers for three seasons from 2009 to 2012. In early May of 2015, amidst controversy, Isiah was named president and part owner of the Knicks’ WNBA sister team, the New York Liberty, subsequent to the re-hiring of Thomas’s former Pistons teammate, Bill Laimbeer, as the team’s coach.

Thomas played collegiately for the Indiana Hoosiers. He went on to play professionally as point guard for the Pistons from 1981 until 1994 and led the “Bad Boys” to NBA championships in the 1988–89 and 1989–90 seasons. After his playing career, he was an executive with the Toronto Raptors, a television commentator, an executive with the Continental Basketball Association, head coach of the Indiana Pacers, and an executive and head coach for the New York Knicks. He was later the men’s basketball coach for the Florida International University (FIU) Golden Panthers for three seasons from 2009 to 2012. In early May of 2015, amidst controversy, Isiah was named president and part owner of the Knicks’ WNBA sister team, the New York Liberty, subsequent to the re-hiring of Thomas’s former Pistons teammate, Bill Laimbeer, as the team’s coach.

In addition to these business ventures, Thomas is involved in real estate projects in Chicago and the surrounding region as the owner of Isiah Real Estate. Thomas said he is putting money in distressed areas and reinvesting, “I’m hoping I can be a catalyst for change in those areas, to get the population back into those communities and be a catalyst to make a difference.” Thomas is also involved in a $300 million development deal for a mixed-use complex at the Illinois Medical District Commission. Isiah Real Estate partnered with Higgins Development Partners, Thomas Samuels Enterprises, and East Lake Management & Development to develop a 9.5 acres of land that would include retail space, a hotel, apartments and parking areas.

Thomas’ business career began during his career with the Pistons. Planning for life after the NBA, Thomas invested in a host of ventures through his private investment company out of Michigan, Isiah Investments, LLC. His primary investment was a large chain of printing franchises, American Speedy Printing Centers Inc. Thomas took a very hands-on approach at American Speedy. He helped lead the company out of bankruptcy to become profitable and one of the largest printing franchises in the world.

Isiah Thomas was elected to be the first African American to sit on the Board of Governors of the Chicago Stock Exchange in April 1999 and served until 2002.

In 2000, Thomas was elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility.

THE MYBOYSAY NBA ENTHUSIASTS WELCOMES MR CROSSOVER BACK TO NEW YORK.  BE SUCCESSFUL IN YOUR ENDEAVORS, AND ENJOY YOUR SECOND RUN TO THE TOP WITH THE ORGANIZATION!!!!

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SERENA WILLIAMS WINS 3RD FRENCH OPEN TITLE AND 20th GRAND SLAM TITLE

Congratulations Serena Williams On Your Third French Open Title!!!!!  Serena Won Her French Open Title in 3 sets 6-3, 5-7, 6-2 over Lucie Safarova.

This is Serena’s 20th Major Grand Slam Title, she is only 2 wins away from Steffi Graf. Steffi Graf holds the record with 22 Major Grand Slam Titles.

Serena won the last 3 Grand Slam Titles, The US OPEN, The AUSTRALIAN OPEN, and The FRENCH OPEN.  The next Grand Slam is Wimbledon, this years Wimbledon will be held June 29th – July 12th.   Serena will have the opportunity to win her Grand Slam #21 Title and her 6th Wimbledon Title.  Good Luck Serena!!!

2015 French Open Champion

2015 French Open Champion

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THE SPLASH BROTHERS, REVISITED!!!!!!!!

The Splash Brothers are a duo of basketball players consisting of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. The two guards both play professionally for the Golden State Warriors in the National Basketball Association (NBA). Each an excellent long-range shooter, they have combined to set various NBA records for three-point field goals by a pair of teammates. In 2014–15, Curry and Thompson became the first teammates in the league to be the starting guards in the same NBA All-Star Game since 1975, and they were the Warriors’ first pair of All-Stars since 1993. They also became the first guard combo to be named to the All-NBA Team in the same season since 1979–80. Additionally, they were teammates on the United States national team in 2014, winning the gold medal at the FIBA Basketball World Cup.

Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson were both born into athletic families. Their fathers, Dell Curry and Mychal Thompson, each had productive NBA careers, while mothers Julie Thompson and Sonya Curry both were volleyball players in college. Their brothers, Seth Curry and Mychel Thompson, also became basketball players.  Neither Stephen Curry nor Klay Thompson were highly recruited by college basketball programs.

Curry did not receive athletic scholarship offers from any major universities, and his parents’ alma mater, Virginia Tech, asked him to be a walk-on. He landed at a mid-major basketball program in Davidson College, a small private school in North Carolina.[2][3] As a sophomore, Curry’s scoring and three-point shooting developed a national following as he led the Wildcats within a game of the Final Four in the 2008 NCAA Tournament. The following season, he was a consensus first-team All-American and led the nation in scoring with an average of 28.6 points per game.

Thompson played at Washington State University, which was not considered a basketball powerhouse.[1] He was only lightly recruited by the other Pacific-10 (now Pacific-12) schools, prompting him to move from California to Washington.  Thompson became a two-time, first-team All-Pac-10 player, and led the conference in scoring with 21.6 points per game in 2010–11.

He finished his Cougars career holding the school record for most career three-pointers (242).

Golden State selected the 6-foot-3-inch (1.91 m) Curry in the first round of the 2009 NBA draft with the seventh overall pick.  Although the Warriors already had another lean, 6-foot-3, offensive-minded guard in Monta Ellis, Coach Don Nelson had a penchant for using small lineups in his Nellie Ball system, and had warmed to the idea of selecting Curry. However, Ellis announced at a media session that he and Curry were too small to play together.  Two years later, while Curry and Ellis were still adjusting to each other, the Warriors added another scoring guard in the 6-foot-7-inch (2.01 m) Thompson, who they drafted in the first round with the 11th overall pick in 2011. Curry and Thompson had limited time together in their first year as teammates; the 2011–12 season was shortened to 66 games because of the NBA lockout, and Curry missed 40 games due to injuries. Towards the end of the season, Golden State traded the fan-favorite Ellis in a deal for center Andrew Bogut, leaving Curry to lead the team and opening the shooting guard position to Thompson, who provided needed size to their backcourt.

In 2012–13, Curry and Thompson combined to make 483 three-pointers, the most ever by an NBA duo. Curry set an NBA record with 272 made three-pointers, while Thompson added 211, at the time the 22nd best season in league history. Warriors coach Mark Jackson opined that the tandem was “the greatest shooting backcourt of all time.” Golden State advanced to the second round of the NBA playoffs before losing to the eventual Western Conference champion San Antonio Spurs.  Curry and Thompson in 2013–14 became the first teammates to finish first and second in three-pointers, making 261 and 223, respectively. They also extended their combined three-pointer record by one (484), and together averaged 42.4 points per game. With Curry making 42.4 percent of his three-point attempts and Thompson converting 41.7 percent, ESPN.com wrote that “no backcourt in history has rivaled the Splash Brothers in both categories of 3-point volume and efficiency.” During the offseason, they were both members of the 2014 U.S. national team that won the gold at FIBA World Cup. The two combined to make more three-pointers than any other duo in the tournament, accounting for 43 of Team USA’s 77 threes in 13 games. Thompson established himself as a star in the international competition, and emerged more as Curry’s peer rather than his sidekick.  He was the second-leading scorer for Team USA, averaging 12.7 points, while Curry added 10.7.

Prior to the 2014–15 season, the Warriors considered breaking up the pair and trading Thompson for Kevin Love, but ultimately kept their starting backcourt intact and signed Thompson to a four-year, $70 million contract extension. That season, Curry and Thompson each scored 50 points in a game, just the seventh time it had occurred on the same team in an NBA season, and the first time since 1994–95.[c] They both started in the 2015 NBA All-Star Game, becoming the first teammates to be the starting guards in an All-Star Game since 1975.  Curry received the most All-Star fan votes of any player for his second straight All-Star start. Coming off NBA single-quarter records of 37 points and nine three-pointers during his 52-point game in January, Thompson was making his All-Star debut. He was voted onto the team as a reserve by Western Conference coaches before being named as a replacement starter that season. The Splash Brothers were the Warriors’ first All-Star duo since Tim Hardaway and Chris Mullin in 1993, and the franchise’s first pair of starters in the All-Star game since Rick Barry and Nate Thurmond in 1967. During All-Star Weekend, Curry and Thompson also competed in the Three-Point Contest, which was widely considered to have the greatest field of contestants in the event’s history. They both advanced to the three-man final round before Curry won the contest. The Warriors finished Kerr’s first season with a league-best 67–15 record, the most wins ever by an NBA rookie coach, and Curry captured the NBA Most Valuable Player Award. Kerr had Curry guard opposing point guards, which Curry credited with keeping him more focused; Jackson had previously assigned that defensive responsibility to the longer Thompson.  Additionally, Curry broke his own record for three-pointers (286), and Thompson again finished second in the league (239) as the two combined to make 525 threes, surpassing their previous record by 41 while converting an impressive 44 percent of their shots. They were both named to the All-NBA Team, with Curry being named to the first team, and Thompson earning third-team honors. It was the first time Warriors teammates were named All-NBA in the same season since Mullin (first team) and Hardaway (second) were recognized in 1991–92. Curry and Thompson were the first backcourt mates to be selected All-NBA since 1979–80, when Gus Williams and Dennis Johnson of Seattle were both named to the second team.

The Splash Brothers nickname refers to the duo’s ability to “splash” the net with the ball, particularly on three-point shots. The term began in 2012 in a tweet from Brian Witt, a writer for the Warriors website. On December 12 against the Charlotte Bobcats, Curry and Thompson had combined for 25 points and seven 3-pointers by halftime, when Witt posted an update of their performance with a #SplashBrothers hashtag; Golden State would win the game 115–100. The name was a play off an older nickname for another pair of San Francisco Bay Area teammates, baseball players Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire, who were known as the Bash Brothers when they played for the Oakland Athletics. The Warriors liked the nickname, and encouraged Witt to continue tweeting it.

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Serena Williams “GET’S THE JOB DONE” vs. Sloane Stephens at French Open!!!!!!

PARIS — For the second time in three days, Serena Williams came back from the brink at the French Open.

Less than 48 hours after the world No. 1 and two-time champion here had rallied from a set and 4-2 deficit against rival Victoria Azarenka on Court Philippe Chatrier, Williams did much the same against countrywoman Sloane Stephens, winning to advance to the quarterfinals, 1-6, 7-5, 6-3.

Williams was three points from defeat against Stephens, serving at 4-5 down in the second and love-15. But she’d win the next four points in that game, and then another two games in a row to secure the second set and send the match into a third.

The win moves Williams, a 19-time major winner at age 33, to 5-1 head-to-head against her compatriot.

What it means: Williams becomes an even bigger favorite than she had been to start this tournament after Maria Sharapova, the No. 2 seed, fell victim earlier in the day. No. 4 seed Petra Kvitova (still in the fourth round) and No. 7 Ana Ivanovic (quarterfinals) are the only other women remaining who have won a Grand Slam.

It’s the third time in as many matches this week that Williams has come from a set down, needing to do so in a second-round clash with Anna-Lena Friedsam. She’ll face 2012 finalist Sara Errani, the No. 17 seed, in the quarterfinals.

It was the sixth installment of this head-to-head matchup, with Williams’ only loss coming in the 2013 Australian Open quarterfinals to a then-teenaged Stephens.

Their friendship turned frosty thereafter, Stephens airing grievances in a magazine article. Earlier this year, the 22-year-old described Williams as a “colleague.”

How it happened: Williams began flat and unsure, hitting 15 unforced errors to just two from Stephens to give the younger American the first set, 6-1 in just 23 minutes.

Down 4-5 in the second set, Williams held her serve, then cruised to the second 7-5 to even the match. In the third, it was Williams’ experience that won out, with the veteran putting her foot on the gas as Stephens tried to keep up. The world No. 1 forced a backhand error into the net from Stephens to end the match, raising her arms above her head in triumph.

Williams continues to chase Steffi Graf’s Open era record of 22 majors and – having won the Australian Open earlier this year – is still on course for a calendar-year Slam in 2015, something she has never achieved in her career.

Key stat: Williams cleaned up the unforced errors down the stretch, her aggression eventually paying off as she cracked 25 winners – the same tally as Stephens. Williams went 13 for 20 at the net and also won more of the longer points, going 13 for 21 in rallies that lasted longer than nine shots.

What they said:”I feel like I’m living on the edge,” Williams said of the win. It was the third straight come-from-behind three-set victory for Williams this tournament, marking the first time she’s done that at a major since the U.S. Open in 1999.

“But, you know, I’ve got to get off the edge. I don’t like to take chances, but at the same time this is also helping me, I guess, in terms of knowing that, ‘Oh, I know can I play a two-hour match, I can do that.'”

Williams moves to 29-1 in 2015 and 10-0 in three-set matches.

“There’s a reason why she’s the No. 1 player in the world,” added Stephens. “I played a good first set. I hung in there tough, but obviously things change and whatever. But I was happy that I was able to, you know, hang tough the whole time.”

Serena Jameka Williams (born September 26, 1981) is an American professional tennis player who is currently ranked No. 1 in women’s singles tennis. The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) has ranked her World No. 1 in singles on six separate occasions. She became the World No. 1 for the first time on July 8, 2002, and regained this ranking for the sixth time on February 18, 2013, becoming the oldest world no. 1 player in WTA’s history. Williams is also regarded by some experts and former tennis players to be the greatest female tennis player in history. She is the only female player to have won over $60 million in prize money,  and is the reigning Australian Open, US Open, WTA Tour Championships and Olympic ladies singles champion.

Frequently hailed as the Queen of the Court by the general media, Williams holds the most major singles, doubles, and mixed doubles titles combined amongst active players, male or female. Her record of 34 Grand Slam titles puts her seventh on the all-time list: 19 in singles, 13 in women’s doubles, and 2 in mixed doubles. She is the most recent player, male or female, to have held all four Grand Slam singles titles simultaneously (2002–03), and the fifth woman ever to do so. She is also the most recent player together with her sister Venus Williams to have held all four Grand Slam women’s doubles titles simultaneously (2009–10). Her total of 19 Grand Slam singles titles is tied for third on the all-time list with Helen Wills Moody behind Margaret Court (24 titles) and Steffi Graf (22 titles),  and second in the Open Era, behind only Gra.  She has won 13 Grand Slam doubles titles with her sister Venus and the pair are unbeaten in Grand Slam finals.  Serena Williams is also a five-time winner of the WTA Tour Championships.  The arrival of Venus and Serena Williams has been credited with launching a new era of power in women’s tennis.  Williams has won four Olympic gold medals, one in women’s singles and three in women’s doubles, an all-time record shared with her sister Venus Williams.

CONGRATULATIONS TO SERENA WILLIAMS ON HER WINNING RESULTS SO FAR FOR THE 2015 SEASON, AND ALSO FOR HER ACHIEVEMENTS AT THE 2015 FRENCH OPEN, AS OF JUNE 1ST 2015!!!!!!

 

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Bernie Williams Day at New York Yankees’ Stadium, Wow Bernie was a Big Contributor to the Glory Days!!!!!

Bernabé Williams Figueroa Jr. (born September 13, 1968) is a Puerto Rican former professional baseball player and musician. He played his entire 16-year career in Major League Baseball (MLB) with the New York Yankees from 1991 through 2006.

A center fielder, Williams was a member of four World Series championship teams with the Yankees. He ended his career with a .297 batting average, 287 home runs, 1,257 runs batted in (RBI), 1,366 runs scored, and 449 doubles. He was a five-time MLB All-Star and won four Gold Glove Awards. He also won the Silver Slugger Award and American League Championship Series Most Valuable Player Award. Known for his consistency and post-season heroics, Williams is one of the most beloved Yankees of all time and his number, 51, was retired by the Yankees in May 2015.

Williams is also a classically trained guitarist. Following his absence from baseball, he has released two jazz albums. He was nominated for a Latin Grammy in 2009.

As of 2013, he holds the career postseason record for runs batted in (80). He is also second all-time for postseason home runs (22), doubles (29), total hits (128), total bases (223), and runs scored (83), and third in post-season games played (121).

Standing on Yankee all-time lists as of the beginning of the 2008 season:

  • 2nd all-time in doubles
  • 4th all-time in walks
  • 5th all-time in hits
  • 5th all-time in extra-base hits
  • 6th all-time in home runs
  • 6th all-time in RBI. 
  • Williams appeared on the Hall of Fame ballot for the first time in 2012. He received 55 votes for 9.6%. The next year, Williams received 19 votes (3.3%). Since he received votes on fewer than 5% of ballots, Williams will not be eligible to appear on future ballots.The Yankees announced in May 2014 that they would honor Williams with a plaque in Monument Park during the 2015 season.  On February 16, 2015, the Yankees also announced that they would be retiring Williams’ number 51.  On May 24, the Yankees unveiled Williams’s plaque and retired his number in a ceremony at Yankee Stadium.
  • Bernie’s love of music shines through in his philanthropy efforts with Little Kids Rock, a national nonprofit organization that works to restore and revitalize music education in disadvantaged U.S. public schools. Little Kids Rock honored the New York Yankees icon with the 2010 “Big Man of the Year” award at the annual Right to Rock celebration. Williams performed onstage with students and signed some guitars to be auctioned. With the money he helped raise, Williams delivered instruments to a school in the Bronx and gave the students a lesson in music and life.Bernie married wife Waleska on February 23, 1990. They live in Armonk, New York[35] and have three children: Bernie Jr., Beatriz, and Bianca. One song on Bernie’s 2009 release “Moving Forward” is named after Beatriz (Lullaby for Beatriz). This song is performed by Bernie Williams and his brother, Hiram Williams on the cello. This song was recorded in Puerto Rico at the Alpha Recording Studios.

CONGRATULATIONS TO BERNIE WILLIAMS ON HAVING A TREMENDOUS MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL CAREER WITH ONE OF THE GREATEST FRANCHISES IN THE ORLD, THE NEW YORK YANKEES!!!

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James DeGale Beats Andre Dirrell On Points To Make Briton History

James DeGale beat Andre Dirrell on points to claim the vacant IBF super-middleweight belt in Boston and become the first Briton to win Olympic gold and a professional world title. Londoner DeGale, Olympic champion in 2008, put Dirrell on the canvas in the second round with a devastating left. American Dirrell, 31, made a remarkable recovery and landed shots on a tiring DeGale as the match went on. But a late flurry by DeGale, 29, secured a unanimous decision. American judge Daniel Fitzgerald and British judge Howard Foster both scored the fight 114-112, while Canadian Alan Davis scored it 117-109. “It’s an unbelievable feeling, I’m world champ – I made history,” said DeGale, who improves to 21 wins (14 KOs) and one defeat in the paid ranks. “I will take on any super-middleweight in the world. There’s no other super-middleweight that would beat me on my day.” DeGale’s victory could lead to a rematch with bitter domestic rival George Groves, who is set to fight Sweden’s Badou Jack for the WBC title later this year. Groves, who was knocked out by Nottingham’s former world champion Carl Froch in 2013 and again in 2014, beat DeGale on points in 2011. Many good judges predicted a dull fight for the belt vacated by Froch earlier this year, what with both men being southpaws and back-foot boxers. And the pre-fight omens were not good, with the fight taking place at 4:30pm local time for the benefit of American television and in front of a sparse crowd at the Agganis Arena. And the pre-fight omens were not good, with the fight taking place at 4:30pm local time for the benefit of American television and in front of a sparse crowd at the Agganis Arena. With a 10-7 round in the bag, DeGale looked to press home his advantage in the third. But Dirrell, whose heart was questioned by Froch during the build-up, stayed largely out of range and managed to clear his head. Thereafter Dirrell appeared to take control of the fight as DeGale seemed content to protect his lead, staying on the outside and throwing punches sparingly. However, many of the rounds were difficult to score, meaning neither man would have felt secure heading down the stretch. But it was DeGale who finished with the greater urgency, upping his work-rate in the final two rounds and doing enough to earn his place in the history books.

DeGale becomes the sixth current world champion from the United Kingdom, which could become eight when lightweight Kevin Mitchell and featherweight Lee Selby fight for world titles in London next Saturday.

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Michael Jordan Extends Deal With Longtime Partner Upper Deck

Trading card and collectibles company, Upper Deck, announced a long-term extension this week to its partnership with basketball legend Michael Jordan to be the sole producer of authenticated collectibles, trading cards and memorabilia featuring Jordan’s image and autograph. The deal limits the number of Jordan autographs, which in theory will drive up the price for collectors. The relationship between Jordan and Upper Deck dates back to 1992. Other global icons in the Upper Deck portfolio include Wayne Gretzky, Muhammad Ali and LeBron James.

 

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TIGER WOODS AND THE REVENUE VERTICAL RESULTS OF HIS PRESENCE IN A GOLF TOURNAMENT

TIGER WOODS IS THE GREATEST REVENUE GENERATOR IN THE HISTORY OF GOLF!!!!!!!

For the first time since 1996, TIGER WOODS is not ranked among the Top 100 golfers in the world, according to the Official World Golf Rankings updated the first week of April. Injuries and poor play have plagued the biggest name in golf over the last few years, so the 39-year-old Woods falling out of the Top 100 rankings was bound to happen eventually.

Still, like MICHAEL JORDAN floundering for the Washington Wizards in the early 2000s or Jack Dempsey struggling to get his groove back after a three-year hiatus from boxing in the early 1920s, Woods is a former sports icon with a fingertip grip on his former years. These rankings are a gut punch to an all-time great, but his recent announcement that he will play in the 2015 Masters tournament in Augusta shows that he is not ready to accept his drop-off as a permanent one.

That, frankly, is a good thing for both the PGA and TV advertisers. Last year’s Masters put up the lowest TV ratings (8.6 million viewers in 6.4 million homes) since 1993, and it is no coincidence that Woods was not involved in that tournament. Despite an ever-increasing influx of bright young stars, Woods is still one of the sport’s main draws, so the fact that he is back in the field this spring should mean significantly improved ratings for the most important golf tournament of the year.

Of course, it is impossible to know just how much of a boost he will give viewership because there is no guarantee he will make it past the first round. Even Fox Fox Sports, the network that won a 2013 bid to air U.S. Golf Association events through 2026, has spent the last several months wondering if they were ever going to get their money’s worth in that deal. With young stars like Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth, there is a lot to like about the future of golf, but Fox made their TV deal hoping they would see Woods return to relevance. Thus far, he has not.

The extended absences due to various injuries certainly has not helped, as the ratings historically have struggled when Woods does not play. During his peak years—1999 to 2006—ratings typically fell about 25% when Woods was not participating in a given tournament. Even with rising stars to help the golf world prepare for life after Tiger, a lot of people are scared that the numbers may permanently drop to where they were before Woods emerged onto the scene.

“The majors will always be major and get a decent following because they’re always fascinating,” said Bob Dorfman, executive creative director of Baker Street Advertising, in an interview with the New York Times back in February. “It’s the other tournaments that are going to suffer a lot more without having a Tiger Woods playing on the weekend.”

Even though Woods has not won a Masters since 2005, fans still tune in to watch him every time he participates in the tournament because he always seems to be in the hunt. In fact, from 2006 to 2013, he finished lower than 6th place only once and was the runner-up twice. Despite all of his struggles, when healthy he comes on strong for the tournament that matters most to viewers.

And that is what matters most to the networks and advertisers. It is a more fan-friendly television event with Woods in the field, even if it has been a decade since he last slipped on a new green jacket.

THE  FORBES PERSPECTIVE.

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The Los Angeles Lakers Great, Kobe Bean “THE BLACK MAMBA” Bryant passes THE GREATEST BASKETBALL PLAYER OF ALL TIME, “Michael Jordan”, for third place in points scored during a career in the NBA!!

MINNEAPOLIS — With a pair of free throws in the second quarter Sunday evening, Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant moved up one notch on the all-time NBA scoring ledger, taking over third place and passing Michael Jordan.

Kobe Bryant

Bryant was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, as the youngest of three children and the only son of Joe Bryant and Pamela Cox Bryant.  He is also the maternal nephew of John “Chubby” Cox. His parents named him after the famous beef of Kobe, Japan, which they saw on a restaurant menu.  His middle name, Bean, is derived from his father’s nickname “Jellybean”. Bryant was raised Roman Catholic. When Bryant was six, his father left the NBA and moved his family to Rieti in Italy to continue playing professional basketball.  Bryant became accustomed to his new lifestyle and learned to speak Italian and Spanish.  During summers, he would come back to the United States to play in a basketball summer league.

Bryant started playing basketball when he was 3 years old,  and his favorite team growing up was the Lakers. Bryant’s grandfather would mail him videos of NBA games, which Bryant would study.  At an early age he also learned to play soccer and his favorite team was AC Milan.  Upon Joe Bryant’s retirement from playing basketball in 1991, the Bryant family moved back to the United States.

Bryant earned national recognition during a spectacular high school career at Lower Merion High School located in Ardmore, in the Philadelphia suburb of Lower Merion. As a freshman, he played for the varsity basketball team.  He became the first freshman in decades to start for Lower Merion’s varsity team, but the team finished with a 4–20 record.  The following three years, the Aces compiled a 77–13 record, with Bryant playing all five positions.  During his junior year, he averaged 31.1 points, 10.4 rebounds and 5.2 assists and was named Pennsylvania Player of the Year,[15] attracting attention from college recruiters in the proce. Duke, North Carolina, Villanova and Michigan were at the top of his list; however, when Kevin Garnett went in the first round of the 1995 NBA Draft, he began considering going directly to the pros.[15]

At Adidas ABCD camp, Bryant earned the 1995 senior MVP award,  while playing alongside future NBA teammate Lamar Odom. While in high school, then 76ers coach John Lucas invited Bryant to work out and scrimmage with the team, where he played one-on-one with Jerry Stackhouse.  In his senior year of high school, Bryant led the Aces to their first state championship in 53 years. During the run, he averaged 30.8 points, 12 rebounds, 6.5 assists, 4.0 steals, and 3.8 blocked shots in leading the Aces to a 31–3 record.[19] Bryant ended his high school career as Southeastern Pennsylvania‘s all-time leading scorer at 2,883 points, surpassing both Wilt Chamberlain and Lionel Simmons.[20]

Bryant received several awards for his performance his senior year including being named Naismith High School Player of the Year, Gatorade Men’s National Basketball Player of the Year, a McDonald’s All-American, and a USA Today All-USA First Team player. Bryant’s varsity coach, Greg Downer, commented that Bryant was “a complete player who dominates”.  In 1996, Bryant took R&B singer Brandy to his senior prom, though the two were, and remain, just friends. Ultimately, however, the 17-year-old Bryant made the decision to go directly into the NBA, only the sixth player in NBA history to do so.  Bryant’s news was met with a lot of publicity at a time when prep-to-pro NBA players were not very common (Garnett being the only exception in 20 years). His basketball skills and SAT score of 1080 would have ensured admission to any college he chose.  In 2012, Bryant was honored as one of the 35 Greatest McDonald’s All-Americans.

The first guard to ever be taken out of high school, Bryant was chosen as the 13th overall draft pick by the Charlotte Hornets in 1996.  According to Arn Tellem, Bryant’s agent at the time, Bryant playing for the Charlotte Hornets was “an impossibility”. However, Bill Branch, the Hornets’ head scout at the time, said that the Hornets agreed to trade their draft selection to the Lakers before picking Bryant. The teams agreed to the trade the day before the draft and the Lakers did not tell the Hornets whom to select until five minutes before the pick was made.  Branch said that prior to the trade agreement, the Hornets never even considered drafting Bryant. Prior to the draft, Bryant had worked out in Los Angeles, where he scrimmaged against former Lakers players Larry Drew and Michael Cooper, and according to then-Laker manager Jerry West, “marched over these people”.  On July 1, 1996, West traded his starting center, Vlade Divac, to the Hornets in exchange for Bryant’s draft rights.  Since he was still 17 at the time of the draft, his parents had to cosign his contract with the Lakers until he was able to sign his own when he turned 18 before the season began.

The first guard to ever be taken out of high school, Bryant was chosen as the 13th overall draft pick by the Charlotte Hornets in 1996.  According to Arn Tellem, Bryant’s agent at the time, Bryant playing for the Charlotte Hornets was “an impossibility”. However, Bill Branch, the Hornets’ head scout at the time, said that the Hornets agreed to trade their draft selection to the Lakers before picking Bryant. The teams agreed to the trade the day before the draft and the Lakers did not tell the Hornets whom to select until five minutes before the pick was made.  Branch said that prior to the trade agreement, the Hornets never even considered drafting Bryant. Prior to the draft, Bryant had worked out in Los Angeles, where he scrimmaged against former Lakers players Larry Drew and Michael Cooper, and according to then-Laker manager Jerry West, “marched over these people”. On July 1, 1996, West traded his starting center, Vlade Divac, to the Hornets in exchange for Bryant’s draft rights.  Since he was still 17 at the time of the draft, his parents had to cosign his contract with the Lakers until he was able to sign his own when he turned 18 before the season began.

During his rookie season, Bryant mostly came off the bench behind guards Eddie Jones and Nick Van Exel.  At the time he became the youngest player ever to play in an NBA game (18 years, 72 days; a record since broken by Jermaine O’Neal and Andrew Bynum), and also became the youngest NBA starter ever (18 years, 158 days).  Initially, Bryant played limited minutes, but as the season continued, he began to see some more playing time. By the end of the season, he averaged 15.5 minutes a game. During the All-Star weekend, Bryant was the winner of the 1997 Slam Dunk Contest, becoming the youngest player to be named the slam dunk champion at the age of 18. Bryant’s performance throughout the year earned him a spot on the NBA All Rookie second team with fellow bench teammate Travis Knight.  His final minutes of the season ended in disaster when he shot 4 air balls at crucial times in the game.  He first missed a jumper to win the game in the 4th quarter and 3 three-pointers in overtime (2 of which would have tied the game in the final minute). With that the Utah Jazz ended the playoffs for the Lakers in the second round. Shaquille O’Neal commented years later that “[Bryant] was the only guy who had the guts at the time to take shots like that.”

In Bryant’s second season, he received more playing time and began to show more of his abilities as a talented young guard. As a result Bryant’s point averages more than doubled from 7.6 to 15.4 points per game.  Bryant would see an increase in minutes when the Lakers “played small”, which would feature Bryant playing small forward alongside the guards he would usually back up. Bryant was the runner-up for the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year Award, and through fan voting, he also became the youngest NBA All-Star starter in NBA history. He was joined by teammates Shaquille O’Neal, Nick Van Exel, and Eddie Jones, making it the first time since 1983 that four players on the same team were selected to play in the same All-Star Game. Bryant’s 15.4 points per game was the highest of any non-starter in the season.

The 1998–99 season marked Bryant’s emergence as a premier guard in the league. With starting guards Nick Van Exel and Eddie Jones traded, Bryant started every game for the lockout-shortened 50-game season. During the season, Bryant signed a 6-year contract extension worth $70 million. This kept him with the Lakers until the end of the 2003–04 season. Even at an early stage of his career, sportswriters were comparing his skills to those of Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson. The playoff results, however, were no better, as the Lakers were swept by the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference Semifinals.

Bryant’s fortunes would soon change when Phil Jackson became coach for the Los Angeles Lakers in 1999.  After years of steady improvement, Bryant became one of the premier shooting guards in the league, earning appearances in the league’s All-NBA,  All-Star, and All-Defensive teams. The Los Angeles Lakers became true championship contenders under Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal, who formed a legendary center-guard combination. Jackson utilized the triangle offense he used to win six championships with the Chicago Bulls, which would help both Bryant and O’Neal rise to the elite class of the NBA. The three resulting championships won consecutively in 2000, 2001, and 2002 further proved such a fact.

Bryant started the 1999–2000 season sidelined for six weeks due to an injury to his hand in a preseason game against the Washington Wizards.  With Bryant back and playing over 38 minutes a game, he saw an increase in all statistical categories in the 1999–2000 season. This included leading the team in assists per game and steals per game. The duo of O’Neal and Bryant backed with a strong bench led to the Lakers winning 67 games, tied for fifth-most in NBA history. This followed with O’Neal winning the MVP and Bryant being named to the All-NBA Team Second Team and All-NBA Defensive Team for the first time in his career (the youngest player ever to receive defensive honors).  While playing second fiddle to O’Neal in the playoffs, Bryant had some clutch performances including a 25 point, 11 rebound, 7 assist, 4 block game in game 7 of the Western Conference finals against the Portland Trail Blazers.  He also threw an alley-oop pass to O’Neal to clinch the game and the series. In the 2000 NBA Finals against the Indiana Pacers, Bryant injured his ankle in the second quarter of Game 2 after landing on the Pacers’ Jalen Rose‘s foot. Rose later admitted he placed his foot under Bryant intentionally.  Bryant did not return to the game, and he also missed Game 3 due to the injury. In Game 4, Bryant scored 22 points in the second half, and led the team to an OT victory as O’Neal fouled out of the game. Bryant scored the winning shot to put the Lakers ahead 120–118. With a 116–111 Game 6 victory, the Lakers won their first championship since 1988.

Statistically, the 2000–01 season saw Bryant perform similarly to the previous year, but he averaged 6 more points a game (28.5). It was also the year when disagreements between Bryant and O’Neal began to surface.  Once again he led the team in assists with 5 per game. The Lakers however, only won 56 games, an 11-game drop off from last year. The Lakers would respond by going 15–1 in the playoffs. They easily swept the Portland Trail Blazers, Sacramento Kings, and San Antonio Spurs, before losing their first game against the Philadelphia 76ers in OT. They would go on to win the next 4 games and bring their second championship to Los Angeles in as many seasons. During the playoffs, Bryant played heavy minutes which brought his stats up to 29.4 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 6.1 assists per game. In the playoffs, teammate O’Neal declared Bryant the best player in the league.  Bryant ended up making the All NBA Second team and All NBA Defensive Team for the second year in a row. In addition, he was also voted to start in the NBA All-Star Game for the 3rd year in a row (no game in 1999).

In the 2001–02 season, Bryant played 80 games for the first time in his career. He continued his all-round play by averaging 25.2 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 5.5 assists per game. He also had a career high 46.9% shooting and once again led his team in assists. While making the All-Star team and All-NBA Defensive team again, he was also promoted to the All-NBA First Team for the first time in his career. The Lakers won 58 games that year and finished second place in the Pacific Division behind in-state rival Sacramento Kings. Bryant was suspended one game after he punched Reggie Miller of the Indiana Pacers after the Lakers’ March 1, 2002 victory over the Pacers.[59][60]

The road to the Finals would prove a lot tougher than the record run the Lakers had the previous year. While the Lakers swept the Blazers and defeated the Spurs 4–1, the Lakers did not have home court advantage against the Sacramento Kings. The series would stretch to 7 games, the first time this happened to the Lakers since the 2000 Western Conference Finals. However, the Lakers were able to beat their division rivals and make their third consecutive NBA Finals appearance. In the 2002 Finals, Bryant averaged 26.8 points, 51.4% shooting, 5.8 rebounds, 5.3 assists per game, which included scoring a quarter of the teams points.  At age 23, Bryant became the youngest player to win three championships. Bryant’s play was notable and praised for his performance in the 4th quarter of games, specifically the last 2 rounds of the playoffs. This cemented Bryant’s reputation as a “clutch player”.

In the 2002–03 season, Bryant averaged 30 points per game and embarked on a historic run, posting 40 or more points in nine consecutive games while averaging 40.6 in the entire month of February. In addition, he averaged 6.9 rebounds, 5.9 assists, and 2.2 steals per game, all career highs to that point. Bryant was once again voted to both the All-NBA and All-Defensive 1st teams,  and came in third place in voting for the MVP award. After finishing 50–32 in the regular season, the Lakers foundered in the playoffs and lost in the Western Conference semi-finals to the eventual NBA champions San Antonio Spurs in six games.[63]

In the following 2003–04 season, the Lakers were able to acquire NBA All-Stars Karl Malone, and Gary Payton to make another push at the NBA Championship.[64] Before the season began, Bryant was arrested for sexual assault. This caused Bryant to miss some games due to court appearances or attend court earlier in the day and travel to play games later in same day.  In the final game of the regular season, the Lakers played the Portland Trail Blazers. Bryant made two buzzer beaters to win the game and the Pacific Division title. At the end of the fourth quarter, Bryant made a 3-pointer with 1.1 seconds left to send it into overtime. The game eventually went to a second overtime, in which Bryant made another 3-pointer as time expired to lift the Lakers past the Blazers, 105–104.

With a starting lineup of O’Neal, Malone, Payton, and Bryant, the Lakers were able to reach the NBA Finals.  However, they were upset in five games by the Detroit Pistons, who won their first championship since 1990.  In that series, Bryant averaged 22.6 points per game and 4.4 assists. He shot 35.1% from the field.  Phil Jackson’s contract as coach was not renewed, and Rudy Tomjanovich took over. Shaquille O’Neal was traded to the Miami Heat for Lamar Odom, Caron Butler, and Brian Grant.  The following day, Bryant declined an offer to sign with the Los Angeles Clippers and re-signed with the Lakers on a seven-year contract.

Bryant was closely scrutinized and criticized during the 2004–05 season with his reputation badly damaged from all that had happened over the previous year. A particularly damaging salvo came when Phil Jackson wrote The Last Season: A Team in Search of Its Soul. The book detailed the events of the Lakers’ tumultuous 2003–04 season and has a number of criticisms of Bryant. In the book Jackson called Bryant “uncoachable”.  Midway through the season, Rudy Tomjanovich suddenly resigned as Lakers coach, citing the recurrence of health problems and exhaustion.  Without Tomjanovich, stewardship of the remainder of the Lakers’ season fell to career assistant coach Frank Hamblen. Bryant was the league’s second-leading scorer at 27.6 points per game, but he was surrounded by a subpar supporting cast, and the Lakers went 34–48 and missed the playoffs for the first time in over a decade. The year signified a drop in Bryant’s overall status in the NBA, as he did not make the NBA All-Defensive Team and was also demoted to the All-NBA Third Team.  During the season, Bryant also engaged in public feuds with Ray Allen and Karl Malone.

The 2005–06 NBA season would mark a crossroads in Bryant’s basketball career. Despite past differences with Bryant, Phil Jackson returned to coach the Lakers.  Bryant endorsed the move, and by all appearances, the two men worked together well the second time around, leading the Lakers back into the playoffs. Bryant’s individual scoring accomplishments posted resulted in the finest statistical season of his career. On December 20, 2005, Bryant scored 62 points in three quarters against the Dallas Mavericks. Entering the fourth quarter, Bryant outscored the entire Mavericks team 62–61, the only time a player has done this through three quarters since the introduction of the shot clock.  When the Lakers faced the Miami Heat on January 16, 2006, Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal made headlines by engaging in handshakes and hugs before the game, signifying a change in the feud that had festered between them.  A month later, at the 2006 NBA All-Star Game, the two were seen laughing together.

On January 22, 2006, Bryant scored a career-high 81 points in a victory against the Toronto Raptors  In addition to breaking the previous franchise record of 71 set by Elgin Baylor, Bryant’s 81-point game was the second-highest point total in NBA history, surpassed only by Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-point game in 1962.  In that same month, Bryant also became the first player since 1964 to score 45 points or more in four consecutive games, joining Chamberlain and Baylor as the only players ever to do so.  For the month of January, Bryant averaged 43.4 points per game,  the eighth highest single month scoring average in NBA history and highest for any player other than Chamberlain. By the end of the 2005–06 season, Bryant set Lakers single-season franchise records for most 40-point games (27) and most points scored (2,832). He won the league’s scoring title for the first time by averaging 35.4 points per game. Bryant finished in fourth place in the voting for the 2006 NBA Most Valuable Player Award, but received 22 first place votes—second only to winner Steve Nash.  The Los Angeles Lakers posted a 45–37 record, an eleven-game improvement over the previous season, and the entire squad seemed to be clicking.

Later in the season, it was reported that Bryant would change his jersey number from 8 to 24 at the start of the 2006–07 NBA season. Bryant’s first high school number was 24 before he switched to 33. After the Lakers’ season ended, Bryant said on TNT that he wanted 24 as a rookie, but it was unavailable, as was 33, retired with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Bryant wore 143 at the Adidas ABCD camp, and chose 8 by adding those numbers.[94] In the first round of the playoffs, the Lakers played well enough to reach a 3–1 series lead over the Phoenix Suns, culminating with Bryant’s OT-forcing and game-winning shots in Game 4. They came within six seconds of eliminating the second-seeded Suns in Game 6, however, they lost that game 126–118 in overtime.  Despite Bryant’s 27.9 points per game in the series, the Lakers broke down, and ultimately fell to the Suns in seven games.  Bryant received criticism for only taking three shots in the second half of the 121–90 Game 7 loss to Phoenix. In the 2006 off-season, Bryant had knee surgery, preventing him from participating in the 2006 FIBA World Championship tournament.[97]

During the 2006–07 season, Bryant was selected to his 9th All-Star Game appearance, and on February 18, he logged 31 points, 6 assists, and 6 steals, earning his second career All-Star Game MVP trophy Over the course of the season, Bryant became involved in a number of on court incidents. On January 28 while attempting to draw contact on a potential game winning jumpshot, he flailed his arm, striking San Antonio Spurs guard Manu Ginóbili in the face with his elbow.  Following a league review, Bryant was suspended for the subsequent game at Madison Square Garden against the New York Knicks. The basis given for the suspension was that Bryant had performed an “unnatural motion” in swinging his arm backwards. Later, on March 6, he seemed to repeat the motion, this time striking Minnesota Timberwolves guard Marko Jarić.  On March 7, the NBA handed Bryant his second one-game suspension.[101] In his first game back on March 9, he elbowed Kyle Korver in the face which was retroactively re-classified as a Type 1 flagrant foul.

On March 16, Bryant scored a season-high 65 points in a home game against the Portland Trail Blazers, which helped end the Lakers 7-game losing streak. This was the second-best scoring performance of his 11-year career. The following game, Bryant recorded 50 points against the Minnesota Timberwolves,  after which he scored 60 points in a road win against the Memphis Grizzlies—becoming the second Laker to score three straight 50-plus point games, a feat not seen since Michael Jordan last did it in 1987.  The only other Laker to do so was Elgin Baylor, who also scored 50+ in three consecutive contests in December 1962.  In the following day, in a game against the New Orleans Hornets, Bryant scored 50 points, making him the second player in NBA history to have 4 straight 50 point games behind Wilt Chamberlain, who is the all-time leader with seven consecutive 50 point games twice.  Bryant finished the year with a total of ten 50-plus point games,  becoming the only player beside Wilt Chamberlain in 1961–62 and 1962–63 to do so in one season. He also won his second straight scoring title that season. Throughout the 2006–07 season, Bryant’s jersey became the top selling NBA jersey in the United States and China.  A number of journalists have attributed the improved sales to Bryant’s new number, as well as his continuing All-Star performance on the court.  In the 2007 NBA Playoffs, the Lakers were once again eliminated in the first round by the Phoenix Suns, 4–1.

 

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Kobe Bean Bryant is an American professional basketball player for the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He entered the NBA directly from high school, and has played for the Lakers his entire career, winning five NBA championships. Bryant is a 16-time All-Star, 15-time member of the All-NBA Team, and 12-time member of the All-Defensive team. As of November 2014, he ranks third and fourth on the league’s all-time postseason scoring and all-time regular season scoring lists, respectively. He is the son of former NBA player, Joe Bryant.

Bryant enjoyed a successful high school basketball career at Lower Merion High School in Pennsylvania, where he was recognized as the top high school basketball player in the country. He declared his eligibility for the NBA Draft upon graduation, and was selected with the 13th overall pick in the 1996 NBA Draft by the Charlotte Hornets, then traded to the Los Angeles Lakers. As a rookie, Bryant earned himself a reputation as a high-flyer and a fan favorite by winning the 1997 Slam Dunk Contest.

Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal led the Lakers to three consecutive championships from 2000 to 2002. A feud between the duo and a loss in the 2004 NBA Finals resulted in O’Neal’s trade from the Lakers to the Miami Heat. Following O’Neal’s departure, Bryant became the cornerstone of the franchise. He led the NBA in scoring during the 2005–06 and 2006–07 seasons, setting numerous scoring records in the process. In 2006, Bryant scored a career-high 81 points against the Toronto Raptors, the second most points scored in a single game in NBA history, second only to Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-point game in 1962. He was awarded the regular season’s Most Valuable Player Award (MVP) in 2008. After losing in the 2008 NBA Finals, Bryant led the Lakers to two consecutive championships in 2009 and 2010, earning the NBA Finals MVP Award on both occasions.

At 34 years and 104 days of age, Bryant became the youngest player in league history to reach 30,000 career points. He is also the all-time leading scorer in Lakers franchise history. Since his second year in the league, Bryant has been selected to start every All-Star Game. He has won the All-Star MVP Award four times (2002, 2007, 2009, and 2011), tying him for the most All Star MVP Awards in NBA history. At the 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympics, he won gold medals as a member of the U.S. national team. Sporting News and TNT named Bryant the top NBA player of the 2000s.

 

THE GREATEST SINCE MICHAEL JORDAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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