Marcus James Jordan Opened His Shoe Store “Trophy Room” On May 23, 2016. The Chosen Date Pays Reverence To Him And His Father’s Jersey Numbers. The Store Is Located In Orlando, Florida At Disney World In The Disney Springs Retail Location.

160101-marcus-jordan-1521_329fb82d1387c103182664f1614ef77d.nbcnews-fp-1240-520TROPHY ROOM

Is an elevated retail boutique expression, inspired by the trophy room within the Jordan family residence. The room’s central location within the estate attracted family, friends & visitors to congregate within the space. Casual gatherings and holiday celebrations, such as Christmas, routinely took place within the trophy room. The trophy room at the Jordan estate was more than a museum showcasing past victories of an icon. It was a point of inspiration, from a father to his children. An invitation for them to excel, and include their victories among their father’s.eeeeee

TROPHY ROOM

Seeks to replicate the warmth & inspiration the Jordan family trophy room exuded. TROPHY ROOM showcases a unique perspective into vintage Jordan family home videos & photos within the store’s decor. TROPHY ROOM simultaneously pays homage to Michael Jordan’s NBA career via Upper Deck Authenticated memorabilia. Through relationships with Jordan Brand, Nike Inc, & Upper Deck Authenticated; TROPHY ROOM aspires to offer footwear, apparel, & memorabilia that will serve as trophies to its loyal & dedicated consumers.

Marcus James Jordan is an American former college basketball player who played for the UCF Knights men’s basketball team of Conference USA.  He is the son of Hall of Fame NBA player Michael Jordan.

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Jordan was born December 24, 1990, to Hall of Fame National Basketball Association player Michael Jordan and Juanita Vanoy. He has an older brother, Jeffrey. His older brother Jeffrey also attended Loyola Academy (graduated in 2007), and transferred from Illinois to UCF to play his final season of college basketball with Marcus. However, Jeffrey left UCF in January 2012.

Marcus Jordan originally played high school basketball with his older brother Jeffrey Jordan at Loyola Academy in Wilmette, Illinois. In Marcus’ sophomore year, the pair led the school to the conference championships and the best season in school history. Marcus then transferred to Whitney Young High School in Chicago for his junior and senior seasons.

On March 22, 2009, he led the Whitney Young Dolphins to the Illinois State 4A Championship title. Jordan scored a game-high 19 points leading Whitney Young to a 69–66 victory over Waukegan.

Jordan was rated as the 60th-best shooting guard in the country as a high school senior by ESPNU, averaging 10.0 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game, and earning state tournament MVP honors.mj2

Marcus Jordan played college basketball at the University of Central Florida in Orlando, Florida.  During his freshman year, UCF was in the final year of a five-year contract with Adidas, but Jordan insisted on wearing Nike Air Jordan shoes out of loyalty to his father, Michael Jordan. This eventually prompted Adidas to terminate its sponsorship deal with UCF.

Jordan scored 8.0 points per game in his true freshman year in 2009–10, including 10.3 points and 3 assists per game in conference play. On November 12, 2010, the opening game of the 2010–11 season, Jordan led UCF to victory against University of West Florida scoring a career high 28 points on 8–11 field-goal shooting and 5–7 from the 3-point line. He also had a team-high 18 points in upsetting number-16 ranked Florida on December 1, 2010.

In August 2012, Jordan decided to leave the UCF basketball team, but he would continue to take classes at the school.thRF3T4J5Egoidrtiwlicyms4vqouy

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Hakeem Abdul Olajuwon, “THE DREAM”, 2 TIME NBA CHAMPION, AMONG THE 50 GREATEST PLAYERS OF ALL-TIME, HOUSTON ROCKETS LEGEND

220px-Hakeemsigningautocroppedhakeem-olajuwonHakeem Abdul Olajuwon, born January 21, 1963, formerly known as Akeem Olajuwon, is a Nigerian-American former professional basketball player. From 1984 to 2002, he played the center position in the National Basketball Association (NBA) for the Houston Rockets and the Toronto Raptors. He led the Rockets to back-to-back NBA championships in 1994 and 1995. In 2008, he was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame, and in 2016, he was inducted into the FIBA Hall of Fame. Listed at 7 ft 0 in (2.13 m) (but standing closer to 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m) by his own admission), Olajuwon is considered one of the greatest centers ever to play the game.  He was nicknamed “The Dream” during his basketball career after he dunked so effortlessly that his college coach said it “looked like a dream.”

Born in Lagos, Nigeria, Olajuwon traveled from his home country to play for the University of Houston under Coach Guy Lewis. His college career for the Cougars included three trips to the Final Four. Olajuwon was drafted by the Houston Rockets with the first overall selection of the 1984 NBA draft, a draft that included Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, and John Stockton. He combined with the 7 ft 4 in (2.24 m) Ralph Sampson to form a duo dubbed the “Twin Towers”. The two led the Rockets to the 1986 NBA Finals, where they lost in six games to the Boston Celtics. After Sampson was traded to the Warriors in 1988, Olajuwon became the Rockets’ undisputed leader. He led the league in rebounding twice (1989, 1990) and blocks three times (1990, 1991, 1993).

Despite very nearly being traded during a bitter contract dispute before the 1992–93 season, he remained in Houston where in 1993–94, he became the only player in NBA history to win the NBA MVP, Defensive Player of the Year, and Finals MVP awards in the same season. His Rockets won back-to-back championships against the New York Knicks (avenging his college championship loss to Patrick Ewing), and Shaquille O’Neal‘s Orlando Magic. In 1996, Olajuwon was a member of the Olympic gold-medal-winning United States national team, and was selected as one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History. He ended his career as the league’s all-time leader in blocks (3,830) and is one of four NBA players to record a quadruple-double.olajuwon_block

Olajuwon was born to Salim and Abike Olajuwon, working class Yoruba owners of a cement business in Lagos, Nigeria. He was the third of eight children. He credits his parents with instilling virtues of hard work and discipline into him and his siblings; “They taught us to be honest, work hard, respect our elders, and believe in ourselves”. Olajuwon has expressed displeasure at his childhood in Nigeria being characterized as backward. “Lagos is a very cosmopolitan city…There are many ethnic groups. I grew up in an environment at schools where there were all different types of people.”

During his youth, Olajuwon was a soccer goalkeeper, which helped give him the footwork and agility to balance his size and strength in basketball, and also contributed to his shot-blocking ability.  Olajuwon did not play basketball until the age of 17, when he entered a local tournament.

Olajuwon quickly became taken into the game: “Basketball is something that is so unique. That immediately I pick up the game and, you know, realize that this is the life for me. All the other sports just become obsolete.”

Olajuwon emigrated from Nigeria to play basketball at the University of Houston under Cougars coach Guy Lewis. Olajuwon was not highly recruited and was merely offered a visit to the university to work out for the coaching staff, based on a recommendation from a friend of Lewis who had seen Olajuwon play.  He later recalled that when he originally arrived at the airport in 1980 for the visit, no representative of the school was there to greet him. When he called the staff, they told him to take a taxi out to the university.

After redshirting his freshman year in 1980–81 because he could not yet get clearance from the NCAA to play, Olajuwon played sparingly as a redshirt freshman in 1981–82, and the Cougars were eliminated in the Final Four by the eventual NCAA champion, North Carolina Tar Heels. Olajuwon sought advice from the coaching staff about how to increase his playing time, and they advised him to work out with local Houston resident and multiple NBA MVP winner, Moses Malone. Malone, who was then a center on the NBA’s Houston Rockets, played games every off season with several NBA players at the Fonde Recreation Center. Olajuwon joined the workouts and went head to head with Malone in several games throughout the summer. Olajuwon credited this experience with rapidly improving his game: “The way Moses helped me is by being out there playing and allowing me to go against that level of competition. He was the best center in the NBA at the time, so I was trying to improve my game against the best.”hakeem olajuwon

Olajuwon returned from that summer a different player. He and his teammates (including Clyde Drexler) formed what was dubbed “Phi Slama Jama”, the first slam-dunking “fraternity”, so named because of its above-the-rim prowess. In his sophomore and junior years he helped the Cougars advance to consecutive NCAA championship games, where they lost to North Carolina State on a last second tip-in in 1983 and a Patrick Ewing-led Georgetown team in 1984. Olajuwon won the 1983 NCAA Tournament Player of the Year award,  even though he played for the losing team in the final game. He is, to date, the last player from a losing side to be granted this honor. Drexler departed for the NBA in 1983, leaving Olajuwon the lone star on the team.

After the 1983–84 season, Olajuwon debated whether to stay in college or declare early for the NBA draft. At that time (before the NBA Draft Lottery was introduced in 1985), the first pick was awarded by coin flip. Olajuwon recalled: “I really believed that Houston was going to win the coin flip and pick the number 1 draft choice, and I really wanted to play in Houston so I had to make that decision (to leave early).” His intuition proved correct, and a lucky toss placed Houston ahead of the Portland Trail Blazers. Olajuwon was considered the top amateur prospect in the summer of 1984 over fellow collegians and future NBA stars Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, Sam Bowie, and Sam Perkins, and was selected first overall by the Rockets in the 1984 NBA draft.

In his autobiography, Living the Dream, Olajuwon mentions an intriguing draft trade offered to the Rockets that would have sent Clyde Drexler and the number two pick in the 1984 NBA draft from Portland in exchange for Ralph Sampson. Had the Rockets made the deal, Olajuwon states the Rockets could have selected Michael Jordan with the number two pick to play alongside Olajuwon and Drexler, who had established chemistry playing together during their Phi Slama Jama days in college. Sportswriter Sam Smith speculates that such a trade “would have changed league history and maybe the entire Michael Jordan legend”.  From 1991 to 1998, every NBA championship team included either Jordan or Olajuwon; furthermore, at least one of Drexler, Jordan, and Olajuwon was involved in every NBA Finals from 1990 to 1998.

The Rockets had immediate success during Olajuwon’s rookie season, as their win-loss record improved from 29–53 in 1983–84 to 48–34 in 1984–85.  He teamed with the 1984 Rookie of the Year, 7 ft 4 in (2.24 m) Ralph Sampson to form the original NBA “Twin Towers” duo. Olajuwon averaged 20.6 points, 11.9 rebounds and 2.68 blocks in his rookie season.  He finished as runner-up to Michael Jordan in the 1985 Rookie of the Year voting, and was the only other rookie to receive any votes.hakeem-olajuwon 1

Olajuwon averaged 23.5 points, 11.5 rebounds, and 3.4 blocks per game during his second pro season (1985–86).  The Rockets finished 51–31,  and advanced all the way to the Western Conference Finals where they faced the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers. The Rockets won the series fairly easily, four games to one, shocking the sports world and landing Olajuwon on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Olajuwon scored 75 points in victories in games three and four, and after the series Lakers coach Pat Riley remarked “We tried everything. We put four bodies on him. We helped from different angles. He’s just a great player.” The Rockets advanced to the 1986 NBA Finals where they succumbed in six games to the Boston Celtics, whose 1986 team is often considered one of the best teams in NBA history.

During the 1987–88 season, Sampson (who was struggling with knee injuries that would eventually end his career prematurely) was traded to the Golden State Warriors. The 1988–89 season was Olajuwon’s first full season as the Rockets’ undisputed leader. This change also coincided with the hiring of new coach Don Chaney. The Rockets ended the regular season with a record of 45–37,  and Olajuwon finished the season as the league leader in rebounds (13.5 per game) by a full rebound per game over Charles Barkley. This performance was consistent with his averages of 24.8 points and 3.4 blocks.  Olajuwon posted exceptional playoff numbers of 37.5 ppg and 16.8 rpg, plus a record for points in a four-game playoff series (150).  Nevertheless, the Rockets were eliminated by the SuperSonics, 3 games to 1.

The 1989–90 season was a great season for Olajuwon, who put up one of the most productive defensive seasons by an interior player in the history of the NBA. He won the NBA rebounding crown (14.0 per game) again, this time by an even larger margin; a full two rebounds per game over David Robinson, and led the league in blocks by averaging 4.6 per game. He is the only player since the NBA started recording blocked shots in 1973–74 to average 14+ rebounds and 4.5+ blocked shots per game in the same season. In doing so he joined Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Bill Walton as the only players in NBA history (at that point) to lead the league in rebounding and shot-blocking in the same season. Olajuwon also recorded a quadruple-double during the season,  becoming only the third player in NBA history to do so.

The Rockets finished the 1990–91 season with a record of 52–30 under NBA Coach of the Year Chaney. Olajuwon averaged 21.8 points per game in 1990–91, but due to an injury to his eyesocket caused by an elbow from Bill Cartwright,  did not play in enough games (56) to qualify for the rebounding title. Otherwise he would have won it for a third consecutive year, averaging 13.8 a game (league leader Robinson averaged 13.0 rpg). He also averaged a league-leading 3.95 blocks per game.  However, the Rockets were swept in the playoffs by the LA Lakers.

The following season was a low point for the Rockets during Olajuwon’s tenure. They finished 42–40,  and missed the playoffs for the first time in Olajuwon’s career. He missed two weeks early in the season due to an accelerated heart beat.  Despite his usual strong numbers, he could not lift his team out of mediocrity. Since making the Finals in 1986, the Rockets had made the playoffs five times, but their record in those playoff series was 1–5 and they were eliminated in the first round four times. Following the season, Olajuwon requested a trade in part because of his bad contract; his salary was considerably low for a top center, and his contract specifically forbade re-negotiation.  He also expressed displeasure with the organization’s efforts to surround him with quality players. He felt the Rockets had cut corners at every turn, and were more concerned with the bottom line than winning. Management had also infuriated Olajuwon during the season when they accused of him of faking a hamstring injury because of his unhappiness over his contract situation.  His agent cited his differences with the organization as being “irreconcilable”,  and Olajuwon publicly insulted owner Charlie Thomas and the team’s front office.  With the 1992–93 season approaching, a reporter for the Houston Chronicle said that Olajuwon being dealt was “as close to a sure thing as there is.”

HOUSTON - 1994: Hakeem Olajuwon #34 of the Houston Rockets goes for a dunk against the Chicago Bulls during an NBA game at the Compaq Center circa 1994 in Houston, Texas. 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 Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images)

Nonetheless he was not traded and the Rockets began the season with a new coach, Rudy Tomjanovich. Olajuwon improved his passing in 1992–93,  setting a new career high of 3.5 assists per game.  This willingness to pass the ball increased his scoring, making it more difficult for opposing teams to double and triple-team him. Olajuwon set a new career high with 26.1 points per game.  The Rockets set a new franchise record with 55 wins,  and advanced to the second round of the playoffs, pushing the Seattle SuperSonics to a seventh game before losing in overtime, 103–100. He finished second in the MVP race to Charles Barkley with 22 votes to Barkley’s 59.  The team rewarded him with a four-year contract extension toward the end of the regular season.  In stark contrast to the previous year, the Rockets entered the 1993–94 season as a team on the rise. They had a solid core of young players and veterans, with a leader in Olajuwon who was entering his prime.

Olajuwon gained a reputation as a clutch performer and also as one of the top centers in history based on his performances in the 1993–94 and 1994–95 seasons.  He outplayed centers such as Patrick Ewing, David Robinson, Shaquille O’Neal, and Dikembe Mutombo, and other defensive stalwarts such as Dennis Rodman and Karl Malone. Many of his battles were with his fellow Texas-based rival David Robinson of the San Antonio Spurs.   In the 30 head–to–head match-ups during the seven seasons from the 1989 to 1996, when both Olajuwon and Robinson were in their prime, Olajuwon averaged 26.3 points per game, shooting 47.6% from the field, while Robinson averaged 22.1 and 46.8%.

In 1993 Michael Jordan retired from basketball, dealing a blow to the Bulls dynasty that had just won three consecutive championships. In his absence, Olajuwon led the Rockets to a championship in the 1994 NBA Finals in a seven-game series against the New York Knicks, the team of one of Olajuwon’s perennial rivals since his collegiate days, Patrick Ewing. After being down 2–1, the Knicks took a 3–2 lead into Game 6. The Rockets were defending an 86–84 lead when in the last second, Knicks guard John Starks (who had already scored 27 points) went up for what would have been a Finals-winning three. Olajuwon pulled off a clutch play by blocking the shot as time expired.  In Game 7, Olajuwon posted a game–high 25 points and 10 rebounds, which helped defeat the Knicks, bringing the first professional sports championship to Houston since the Houston Oilers won the American Football League championship in 1961. Olajuwon dominated Ewing in their head–to–head match-up, outscoring him in every game of the series and averaging 26.9 points per game on 50% shooting, compared to Ewing’s 18.9 and 36.3%.  For his efforts Olajuwon was named NBA Finals Most Valuable Player.

Olajuwon was at the pinnacle of his career. In 1994 he became the only player in NBA history to win the MVP, Finals MVP and Defensive Player of the Year awards in the same season.  He was also the first foreign-born player to win the league’s MVP award.untitled 1

Despite a slow start by the team, and Olajuwon missing eight games toward the end of the season with anemia,  the Rockets repeated as champions in 1995. They were bolstered in part by the acquisition of Clyde Drexler, Olajuwon’s former University of Houston “Phi Slama Jama” teammate, in a mid-season trade from the Portland Trail Blazers.

Olajuwon averaged 27.8 points, 10.8 rebounds, and 3.4 blocks per game during the regular season.  Olajuwon displayed perhaps the most impressive moments of his career during the playoffs. San Antonio Spurs center David Robinson, recently crowned league MVP, was outplayed by Olajuwon in the Conference Finals: Olajuwon averaged 35.3 points on .560 shooting (Robinson’s numbers were 23.8 and .449) and outscored Robinson 81–41 in the final two games.  When asked later what a team could do to “solve” Olajuwon, Robinson told LIFE magazine: “Hakeem? You don’t solve Hakeem.” The Rockets won every road game that series. In the NBA Finals, the Rockets swept the Orlando Magic, who were led by a young Shaquille O’Neal. Olajuwon outscored O’Neal in every game,  scoring more than 30 points in each and raising his regular-season rate by five while O’Neal’s production dropped by one.  Olajuwon was again named Finals MVP. He averaged 33.0 points on .531 shooting, 10.3 rebounds, and 2.81 blocks in the 1995 Playoffs.  As in 1994, Olajuwon was the only Rockets All-Star.

The Rockets’ two-year championship run ended when they were eliminated in the second round of the 1996 NBA Playoffs by the eventual Western Conference Champion Seattle SuperSonics. Michael Jordan had returned from an 18-month hiatus in March 1995, and his Chicago Bulls dominated the league for the next three years (1996–98). The Bulls and Rockets never met in the NBA Playoffs. The Rockets posted a 57–win season in 1996–97 season when they added Charles Barkley to their roster. They started the season 21–2,  but lost the Western Conference Finals in six games to the Utah Jazz. After averaging 26.9 and 23.2 points in 1995–96 and 1996–97 respectively, Olajuwon’s point production dipped to 16.4 in 1997–98.  After the Rockets lost in the first round in five games to the Jazz in 1998,  Drexler retired. In 1998–99 the Rockets acquired veteran All-Star Scottie Pippen and finished 31–19 in the lockout-shortened regular season. Olajuwon’s scoring production rose to 18.9 points per game,  and he made his twelfth and final All-NBA Team.  However, they lost in the first round again, this time to the Lakers.  After the season, Pippen was traded to the Portland Trail Blazers.

Houston began to rebuild, bringing in young guards Cuttino Mobley and 2000 NBA co-Rookie of the Year Steve Francis. On August 2, 2001,  after refusing a $13 million deal with the Rockets, Olajuwon was traded to the Toronto Raptors for draft picks (the highest of which was used by Houston to draft Boštjan Nachbar at #15 in the 2002 NBA draft), with the player having a three-year contract that would give him $18 million. Olajuwon averaged career lows of 7.1 points and 6.0 rebounds per game in what would be his final season in the NBA, as he decided to retire in the fall of 2002, due to a back injury. Olajuwon retired as the all–time league leader in total blocked shots with 3,830, although shot blocking did not become an official statistic until the 1973–74 NBA season. Shortly after his retirement, his #34 jersey was retired by the Rockets.

In 1980, before arriving in the US, Olajuwon played for a Nigerian junior team in the All-Africa Games. This created some problems when he tried to play for the United States men’s national basketball team initially.  FIBA rules prohibit players from representing more than one country in international competition, and players must go through a three-year waiting period for any nationality change. Olajuwon was ineligible for selection to the “Dream Team” as he hadn’t become a US citizen.

Olajuwon became a naturalized American citizen on April 2, 1993.  For the 1996 Olympics, he received a FIBA exemption and was eligible to play for Dream Team III. The team went on to win the gold medal in Atlanta. During the tournament, he shared his minutes with Shaquille O’Neal and David Robinson. He played 7 out of the 8 games and started 2. He averaged 5 points and 3.1 rebounds and had 8 assists and 6 steals in seven games.

If I had to pick a center [for an all-time best team], I would take Olajuwon. That leaves out Shaq, Patrick Ewing. It leaves out Wilt Chamberlain. It leaves out a lot of people. And the reason I would take Olajuwon is very simple: he is so versatile because of what he can give you from that position. It’s not just his scoring, not just his rebounding or not just his blocked shots. People don’t realize he was in the top seven in steals. He always made great decisions on the court. For all facets of the game, I have to give it to him.

STATEMENT FROM THE GOAT, “ Michael Jordanhakeem-olajuwon-21357663

Olajuwon was highly skilled as both an offensive and defensive player. On defense, his rare combination of quickness and strength allowed him to guard a wide range of players effectively. He was noted for both his outstanding shot-blocking ability and his unique talent (for a frontcourt player) for stealing the ball. Olajuwon is the only player in NBA history to record more than 200 blocks and 200 steals in the same season. He averaged 3.09 blocks and 1.75 steals per game for his career.  He is the only center to rank among the top ten all time in steals.  Olajuwon was also an outstanding rebounder, with a career average of 11.1 rebounds per game.  He led the NBA in rebounding twice, during the 1989 and 1990 seasons. He was twice named the NBA Defensive Player of the Year, and was a five-time NBA All-Defensive First Team selection.

On offense, Olajuwon was famous for his deft shooting touch around the basket and his nimble footwork in the low post. With the ball, Hakeem displayed a vast array of fakes and spin moves, highlighted in his signature “Dream Shake” (see below). He was a prolific scorer, averaging 21.8 points per game for his career,  and an above average offensive rebounder, averaging 3.3 offensive rebounds per game.  Additionally, Olajuwon became a skilled dribbler with an ability to score in “face-up” situations like a perimeter player.  He is 1 of only 4 players to have recorded a quadruple-double in the NBA. It should be noted that quadruple-doubles were not possible before the 1973–74 season, when blocked shots and steals were first kept as statistics in the NBA.

Olajuwon established himself as an unusually skilled offensive player for a big man, perfecting a set of fakes and spin moves that became known as his trademark Dream Shake. Executed with uncanny speed and power, they are still regarded as the pinnacle of “big man” footwork.  Shaquille O’Neal stated: “Hakeem has five moves, then four countermoves – that gives him 20 moves.” Olajuwon himself traced the move back to the soccer-playing days of his youth. “The Dream Shake was actually one of my soccer moves which I translated to basketball. It would accomplish one of three things: one, to misdirect the opponent and make him go the opposite way; two, to freeze the opponent and leave him devastated in his tracks; three, to shake off the opponent and giving him no chance to contest the shot.” The Dream Shake was very difficult to defend, much like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar‘s sky-hook.

One notable Dream Shake happened in Game 2 of the 1995 Western Conference Finals against the Spurs. With David Robinson guarding him, Olajuwon performed a cross-over, drove to the basket and faked a layup. Robinson, an excellent defender, kept up with Olajuwon and remained planted. Olajuwon spun counterclockwise and faked a jump shot. Robinson, who was voted the 1995 NBA MVP, fell for the fake and jumped to block the shot. With Robinson in the air, Olajuwon performed an up-and-under move and made an easy layup.

Olajuwon has referred to basketball as a science, and described his signature move in vivid detail: “When the point guard throws me the ball, I jump to get the ball. But this jump is the set-up for the second move, the baseline move. I call it the ‘touch landing.’ The defender is waiting for me to come down because I jumped but I’m gone before I land. Defenders say ‘Wow, he’s quick,’ but they don’t know that where I’m going is predetermined. He’s basing it on quickness, but the jump is to set him up. Before I come down, I make my move. When you jump, you turn as you land. Boom! The defender can’t react because he’s waiting for you to come down to defend you. Now, the first time when you showed that quickness, he has to react to that quickness, so you can fake baseline and go the other way with your jump hook. All this is part of the Dream Shake. The Dream Shake is you dribble and then you jump; now you don’t have a pivot foot. When I dribble I move it so when I come here, I jump. By jumping, I don’t have a pivot foot now. I dribble so now I can use either foot. I can go this way or this way. So he’s frozen, he doesn’t know which way I’m going to go. That is the shake. You put him in the mix and you jump stop and now you have choice of pivot foot. He doesn’t know where you’re gonna turn and when.”

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - 1991: Hakeem Olajuwon #34 of the Houston Rockets drives to the basket against the New Jersey Nets during an NBA game at the Brendan Byrne Arena circa 1991 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. 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 1991 NBAE (Photo by Lou Capozzola/NBAE via Getty Images)

Olajuwon married his current wife Dalia Asafi on August 8, 1996 in Houston.  They have two daughters, Rahmah and Aisha Olajuwon. Abisola Olajuwon, his daughter with Lita Spencer, whom he met in college, represented the West Girls in the McDonald’s All American Game and played in the WNBA.

In addition to English, Olajuwon is fluent in French, Arabic, and the Nigerian languages of Yoruba and Ekiti. He wrote his autobiography, Living the Dream, with co-author Peter Knobler in 1996. During his 18-year NBA career, Olajuwon earned more than $107,000,000 in salary.

Attending college was also an important priority to Olajuwon. At the University of Houston, Olajuwon was a physical education major.

In Olajuwon’s college career and early years in the NBA, he was often undisciplined, talking back to officials, getting in minor fights with other players and amassing technical fouls. Later, Olajuwon took an active interest in spirituality, becoming a more devout Muslim. On March 9, 1991, he altered his name from Akeem to the more conventional spelling of Hakeem, saying, “I’m not changing the spelling of my name, I’m correcting it”.  He later recalled, “I studied the Qur’an every day. At home, at the mosque…I would read it in airplanes, before games and after them. I was soaking up the faith and learning new meanings each time I turned a page. I didn’t dabble in the faith, I gave myself over to it.” “His religion dominates his life”, Drexler said in 1995.  Olajuwon was still recognized as one of the league’s elite centers despite his strict observance of Ramadan (i.e., abstaining from food and drink during daylight hours for about a month), which occurred during the playing season throughout his career. Olajuwon was noted as sometimes playing better during the month, and in 1995 he was named NBA Player of the Month in February, even though Ramadan began on February 1 of that year.

Olajuwon played for 20 consecutive seasons in Houston, first collegiately for the Cougars and then the Rockets.  He is considered a local icon and one of Houston’s most beloved athletes.  Olajuwon has had great success in the Houston real estate market, with his estimated profits exceeding $100 million. He buys in cash-only purchases, as it is against Islamic law to pay interest.  Olajuwon splits his time between Jordan, where he moved with his family to pursue Islamic studies,  and his ranch near Houston.

In the 2006 NBA offseason, Olajuwon opened his first Big Man Camp, where he teaches young frontcourt players the finer points of playing in the post. While Olajuwon never expressed an interest in coaching a team, he wishes to give back to the game by helping younger players. When asked whether the league was becoming more guard-oriented and big men were being de-emphasized, Olajuwon responded, “For a big man who is just big, maybe. But not if you play with speed, with agility. It will always be a big man’s game if the big man plays the right way. On defense, the big man can rebound and block shots. On offense, he draws double-teams and creates opportunities. He can add so much, make it easier for the entire team.” He runs the camp for free.  Olajuwon has worked with several NBA players, including power forward Emeka Okafor,  and center Yao Ming.  In September, 2009, he also worked with Kobe Bryant on the post moves and the Dream Shake.  More recently he has been working with Dwight Howard, helping him diversify his post moves and encouraging more mental focus.  In the 2011 offseason, LeBron James flew to Houston and spent time working with Olajuwon.  Olajuwon has also worked with Ömer Aşık, Donatas Motiejūnas, Amar’e Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony, JaVale McGee and Kenneth Faried.hakeem-olajuwon-net-worth

Olajuwon was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as a member of the class of 2008. On April 10, 2008 the Rockets unveiled a sculpture in honor of him outside the Toyota Center.

Olajuwon attended the 2013 NBA draft to bid farewell to retiring commissioner David Stern as Stern made his announcement for the final pick of the first round. Olajuwon was the first pick announced by Stern back in 1984.

On August 1, 2015, Olajuwon made a special appearance for Team Africa at the 2015 NBA Africa exhibition game.  He became a member of the FIBA Hall of Fame in 2016.

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CHARLES LEWIS HALEY, ONE OF THE GREATEST DEFENSIVE FOOTBALL MINDS OF THE GAME, “ONE OF THE GOAT’S OF THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE, 5 SUPER BOWL WINS, 2 WITH THE SAN FRANCISCO 49NERS, 3 WITH AMERICA’S TEAM, THE DALLAS COWBOYS

dal_ring_19Charles Lewis Haley (born January 6, 1964) is a retired American football linebacker and defensive end who played in the National Football League (NFL) for the San Francisco 49ers (1986–1991, 1998–1999) and the Dallas Cowboys (1992–1996).

A versatile defensive player, Haley began his career as a specialty outside linebacker, eventually progressing to pass-rusher and finally full-fledged defensive end. He was the first five-time Super Bowl champion. Haley was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2011 and was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2015.

Haley attended William Campbell High School in Naruna, Virginia where he was a three-year starter, while playing linebacker and tight end. As a senior, he received defensive player of the year honors, All-Region III and All-Group AA accolades, while helping the team win the Seminole District championship.  He was also a star basketball player, and was an All-district selection.

He wasn’t highly recruited at the start of his senior season, so he accepted a scholarship from James Madison University, which at the time was the only Division I-A or I-AA school to make an offer. He was named a starter at defensive end / linebacker as a freshman, posting 85 tackles (second on the team), 5 sacks, 6 passes defensed and 4 forced fumbles.

The next year he was moved to inside linebacker, making 143 tackles (led the team) and 4 sacks. As a junior he tallied 147 tackles (led the team), 3 sacks and 2 interceptions. In his final year he was switched to outside linebacker for the last four games, registering 131 tackles (second on the team), 5 quarterback sacks, 3 blocked kicks and one interception.

jay solmonson, staff, 12/12/99 herald news 49er Charles Haley gets ready to sack Falcon QB Chris Chandler during the 3rd quarter.

He was a two-time Division I-AA All-American and finished his career with 506 tackles (school record), 17 sacks and 3 interceptions.  Haley is a member of the Xi Delta chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity at James Madison.

Haley was selected by the San Francisco 49ers in the fourth round (96th overall) of the 1986 NFL Draft, after dropping because he initially was timed at 4.8 seconds in the 40-yard dash, although he was later clocked by a 49ers scout at 4.55 seconds. He played outside linebacker in a 3–4 defense, finished second behind Leslie O’Neal for rookies with 12 sacks and was voted to the NFL All-Rookie team by Pro Football Weekly and the United Press International. The following year he played again in a designated pass rusher role, coming into the game in likely passing situations, while making 25 tackles and 6.5 sacks.

In 1988, he was named the starter at left outside linebacker, registering 69 tackles, 11.5 sacks and would hold that spot through the 1991 season. The next year he tallied 57 tackles and 10.5 sacks.

In 1990, he had 58 tackles, 9 passes defensed, was third in the league with 16 sacks, was voted the UPI NFC Defensive Player of the Year and was a consensus All-Pro.

In 1991, his relationship with the organization began to deteriorate after safety Ronnie Lott was left unprotected—eligible to sign with any team under Plan B free agency. He still recorded 53 tackles, 6 passes defensed, 2 forced fumbles and 7 sacks, tying for the team lead with Larry Roberts. While with the 49ers from 1986 to 1991, he led the team in sacks every season, and played on the Super Bowl XXIII and Super Bowl XXIV championship teams.charles-haley-wont-be-included-in-nfl-hall-of-fame-class-of-2014-the-boys-are-back

On August 26, 1992, his volatile temperament and clashes with head coach George Seifert forced the team to trade him to the Dallas Cowboys in exchange for a 1993 second round selection (#56-Vincent Brisby) and a 1994 third round selection (#99-Alai Kalaniuvalu).

In 1992, he was moved to right defensive end in the Dallas Cowboys 4–3 defense, made 39 tackles, 6 sacks, and 42 quarterback pressures (led the team), and helped the team improve from 17th in total defense in 1991 to first. Haley received the UPI NFC Defensive Player of the Year Award and was a consensus All-Pro once again. He is often mentioned as the final piece that helped propelled the Cowboys into a Super Bowl contender.

In 1993, he made headlines after smashing his helmet through a wall in the locker room following a home loss to the Buffalo Bills, showing his displeasure with the team’s inability to sign holdout running back Emmitt Smith, which contributed to an 0–2 start and put the season in jeopardy.  The Cowboys relented and reached an agreement with Smith the following week, getting them back on track and making them the first team to win a Super Bowl after starting a season 0–2. He registered 41 tackles, 4 sacks, 2 passes defensed, and 3 forced fumbles, but his recurring back problems began to require a series of surgeries.

In 1994, he recovered from off-season surgery (lumbar microdiscectomy) to post 68 tackles, 12.5 sacks and 52 quarterback pressures. He immediately announced his retirement after losing 28–38 to the 49ers in the NFC Championship game, but decided to return after being offered a new contract.

In 1995, he posted 10.5 sacks, 33 quarterback pressures and 35 tackles in the first 10 games, until suffering a ruptured disk against the Washington Redskins, which derailed his season. He started in Super Bowl XXX six weeks after having back surgery, making one sack, 3 quarterback pressures and 5 tackles.  The next year, with the team trying to limit him to 30 plays per game, he appeared in the first three contests, in week 9 and 10, before being deactivated with a back injury. He retired after the season,  because of his back injuries and his youngest daughter Brianna having been diagnosed with leukemia.CH

On January 2, 1999, he was signed by the San Francisco 49ers after being out of football for almost two years, to provide depth for an injury depleted defensive line in the playoffs (2 games).[16] He was re-signed for the 1999 season and tallied 3 sacks.

In his 12 NFL seasons, Haley recorded 100.5 quarterback sacks, two interceptions (nine return yards), and eight fumble recoveries, which he returned for nine yards and a touchdown. He was also selected to play in five Pro Bowls (1988, 1990, 1991, 1994, 1995) and was named NFL All-Pro in 1990 and 1994. In his first four seasons in Dallas he was on three Super Bowl winning teams: in 1992 (XXVII), 1993 (XXVIII), and 1995 (XXX). Haley and Tom Brady are the only players in NFL history to have won five Super Bowl rings.

Haley was inducted into the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame in 2006, the College Football Hall of Fame in 2011, and the Texas Black Sports Hall of Fame in 2012. He was enshrined into the Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor on November 6, 2011.  In 2015 he was inducted into the San Francisco 49ers Hall of Fame. One of 15 finalists for election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2010 and 2011, he was not selected. After being elected on January 31, 2015, Haley felt that his election may have been delayed by his image and behavior: “I thought that what you do on the field would govern whether you get in the Hall”. On August 8, 2015, Haley was inducted at the Enshrinement Ceremony where his bust, sculpted by Scott Myers, was unveiled.

After football he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and began to undergo therapy and to take special medication. Haley was an assistant defensive coach for the Detroit Lions from 2001 to 2002. He is a special advisor mentoring rookies for both the Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers. He also has dedicated his life to help fund several local initiatives with organizations such as The Jubilee Center and Salvation Army.080815-HaleySpeechSider-TB

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PAUL ANTHONY PIERCE, ONE OF THE GREATEST PURE SHOOTERS THE NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION HAS EVER HAD TO PLAY THE GAME, MYBOYSAY SAYS THANKS, FOR ALL OF THE GREAT MEMORIES

Paul+Pierce+Boston+Celtics+v+Charlotte+Bobcats+4xWTAAU4f5blPaul Anthony Pierce spent the first fifteen years of his career with the Boston Celtics, who drafted him with the 10th overall pick in the 1998 NBA draft. In July 2013, Pierce was included in a deal that sent him to the Brooklyn Nets, along with teammates Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry. He signed with the Washington Wizards the following offseason, but after just one season with the Wizards, he moved back home to Los Angeles and reunited with his former Celtics coach Doc Rivers at the Clippers.

During his time with the Celtics, Pierce had been a starter on the team for every season. He is a ten-time All-Star and four-time All-NBA team selection, and also led Boston to the NBA Finals in 2008 and 2010, winning the 2008 NBA Finals. He was named the 2008 NBA Finals MVP in his first trip to the NBA Finals. Pierce is also one of only three players, alongside Larry Bird and John Havlicek, who have scored over 20,000 points in their career with the Celtics alone. He holds the Celtics’ record for most three-point field goals made and also ranks third in team history in games played, second in points scored, seventh in total rebounds, fifth in total assists, and first in total steals. He has also made the fourth most three-point field goals in NBA history, behind only Jason Terry, Reggie Miller and Ray Allen. His nickname, “The Truth”, was given to him by Shaquille O’Neal.

Paul Anthony Pierce (born October 13, 1977) is an American professional basketball player for the Los Angeles Clippers of the National Basketball Association (NBA). Pierce was a high school McDonald’s All-American and earned All-America first team honors in his junior year at Kansas.

Pierce was born and raised in Oakland, California. His family later moved to Inglewood, California, where he attended Inglewood High School. He was cut from Inglewood High’s varsity basketball team his freshman and sophomore years, and seriously thought about transferring before spending extra time in the gym and becoming the star of the team by the end of his junior year. Pierce went on to participate in the 1995 McDonald’s All-American Game alongside future NBA stars Kevin Garnett, Vince Carter, Stephon Marbury, and Antawn Jamison, and was a contestant in the game’s Slam Dunk Contest, which was won by Carter. He grew up a Los Angeles Lakers fan and dreamed of playing with the Lakers.

The Boston Celtics celebrate their 131-92 win over the Los Angeles Lakers to win the NBA basketball Championship in Boston, Tuesday, June 17, 2008. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

On January 31, 2012, Pierce was honored as one of the 35 Greatest McDonald’s All-Americans.

Pierce averaged 16.4 points and 6.3 rebounds per game in his three seasons at the University of Kansas, where he majored in Crime and Delinquency Studies, and earned MVP honors in the Big 12 Conference Tournament in both 1997 and 1998. Pierce played for Hall of Fame coach Roy Williams at Kansas. One of his teammates was future Orlando Magic coach Jacque Vaughn. He entered the NBA draft after his junior year and was selected with the 10th overall pick in the first round of the 1998 NBA draft by the Boston Celtics.

After his NBA debut, Pierce’s ability to score, rebound and play defense, and a healthy dose of late-game heroics led to his emergence as a top player in the Eastern Conference. Along with forward Antoine Walker, Pierce led the Celtics to the playoffs in 2002 for the first time in seven years and on to the Eastern Conference Finals. In the historic Game 3 of that series, he led the Celtics to one of the biggest fourth-quarter comebacks in NBA playoff history. Pierce scored 19 of his 28 points during the fourth quarter as the Celtics recovered from a 21-point fourth-quarter deficit to defeat the New Jersey Nets.

Trade rumors involving Pierce swirled when Danny Ainge returned as the Executive Director of Basketball Operations in May 2003. Ainge laid most of these rumors to rest in the 2006 off-season by signing Pierce to a three-year, $59 million contract extension.

During the 2005–06 NBA season, Pierce had the highest points-per-shot average among the top 30 scorers in the league. On March 8, 2006, Pierce extended his franchise-record streak of 30-point games to eight. On March 7, he scored seven points in overtime to beat the Washington Wizards on a buzzer beater,  and the next night the Celtics eked out a victory against Philadelphia on the strength of two late-game improbable shots by Pierce, one a three-pointer, the other an off-balance buzzer beater for the win. He scored at least 30 points for the 13th time in 14 games (between February 4 and March 12), the best such stretch in Celtics history.

Prior to the 2007–08 season, he expressed great excitement at the Celtics’ acquisitions of fellow All-Stars Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett, and at the chance to contend for a championship. He slimmed down to his college weight of 235 lb (107 kg; 16.8 st) and vowed to pay more attention to defense, as he did not have to carry the offense anymore.

AUBURN HILLS, MI - JANUARY 5: Paul Pierce #34 of the Boston Celtics celebrates against the Detroit Pistons during the game on January 5, 2008 at the Palace at Auburn Hills in Auburn Hills, Michigan. 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 2007 NBAE (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)

On April 28, 2008, Pierce was fined $25,000 by the NBA for an alleged menacing gesture after falling to the ground and being taunted by Al Horford in Game 3 of the first round in the 2008 Playoffs against the Atlanta Hawks on April 26, 2008.  Sources claimed this gesture was a gang-related hand sign, but Danny Ainge, general manager of the Celtics, stated that Pierce has been repeatedly doing it before and that it was not gang-related, but rather a symbol used within the team.  Pierce himself denied it, adding that his foundation was committed to helping urban youth keep away from gangs.

On May 18, 2008, Pierce recorded the second-highest point total in franchise history in a Game 7 with 41 points against the Cleveland Cavaliers, as the Celtics advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals.  On June 5, 2008, in Game 1 of the 2008 NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers, Pierce was injured in the third quarter and was carried off the court in serious pain. However, he came back to the court only a few minutes later to spark the Celtics with 15 points in the third quarter en route to a 98–88 victory. He went on to lead the Celtics to their 17th championship after defeating the Los Angeles Lakers four games to two. Pierce was named the NBA Finals Most Valuable Player after the Celtics’ 131–92 victory in Game 6 on June 17, 2008.

Pierce and the Celtics looked to repeat as world champions during the 2008–09 NBA season. Pierce missed only one game the entire season and led the team in scoring. He was named to the 2009 NBA All-Star Game and for the first time to the All-NBA Team Second Team. Despite Pierce’s success, with Kevin Garnett injured, the Celtics lost in the second round of the 2009 NBA Playoffs.

At the 2010 NBA All-Star Game at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, Pierce became the first Celtic since Larry Bird to win the Three-Point Shootout.Paul-Pierce-Starting-SF-for-the-Washington-Wizards-909x1024

In game 3 of the first round between the Celtics and Miami Heat in the 2010 NBA Playoffs, Pierce hit a 21-foot jumper at the buzzer to beat Miami 100–98, and give the Celtics a 3–0 series lead. The Celtics went on to win that series, and also defeated the heavily favored Cavaliers in the second round. They faced the Orlando Magic in the Eastern Conference Finals, and beat them in 6 games to advance to their second Finals appearance in the Big 3 era. They faced off against the Lakers in a rematch of the 2008 NBA Finals, and took a 3-2 lead heading back to Los Angeles. However, in spite of Rasheed Wallace more than making up for the loss of injured center Kendrick Perkins, the Celtics were blown out in game 6 and lost a 13-point second half lead in game 7, losing the deciding game 83-79.

On June 29, 2010, Pierce opted out of his contract and triggered his early termination contract to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, 2010. However, on July 2, Pierce and the Celtics verbally agreed to a four-year extension keeping him in Boston through the 2013–14 season.

On November 3, 2010, during a game against the Milwaukee Bucks, Pierce scored his 20,000th career point on a free throw, becoming the third player in Celtics history to reach that milestone solely in a Celtics uniform. The Celtics finished the season with the number 3 seed in the Eastern Conference and swept the New York Knicks in the first round of the playoffs. In the second round, the Celtics took on the Miami Heat and their big three of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh. The Celtics lost to Miami, who eventually moved on to the NBA Finals, in five games.

On February 7, 2012, during a game against the Charlotte Bobcats, Pierce scored fifteen points to pass Larry Bird for second place on the Boston Celtics’ all-time scoring list. He was named to his tenth NBA All-Star appearance on February 9, 2012. He then played his 1,000th career game with the Celtics on March 9, 2012 against the Portland Trail Blazers; only Pierce, John Havlicek, and Robert Parish have played in over 1,000 career games for the Celtics. For the 2011–12 season Pierce averaged 19.4 points, 4.5 assists, and 5.2 rebounds per game as the Celtics finished the season 39-27 in the lockout shortened season.

In the playoffs, the Celtics beat the Hawks in six games in the first round, as Pierce averaged 21.2 points per game during the series. In the conference semifinals the Celtics faced the Philadelphia 76ers led by Doug Collins. They pushed the Celtics into a full seven game series, but the Celtics won the final game 85-75. The Celtics then played the Miami Heat in the conference finals. Pierce hit a crucial 3-pointer over LeBron James in game 5 to take a series lead of 3-2, but the Celtics lost the last two games, and the Heat advanced to the NBA Finals. Pierce finished the playoffs averaging 18.9 points per game while shooting only 38.6 percent from the field and 31 percent from three.bradley-beal-paul-pierce-nba-washington-wizards-brooklyn-nets-850x560

The 2012–13 season did not go as planned for Celtics, with All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo out with a torn ACL injury. On January 27, 2013 against the Miami Heat, Pierce recorded his first triple-double of the season with 17 points, 13 rebounds, and 10 assists. On February 10, 2013 against the Denver Nuggets, Pierce recorded his second triple-double of the season with 27 points, 14 rebounds, and 14 assists becoming the oldest player, in a game of any length, to record at least 20 points, 12 rebounds, and 12 assists (previously held by Larry Bird). On March 29, 2013 against the Atlanta Hawks, Pierce recorded his third triple-double of the season with 20 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists. Pierce finished the 2012–13 season with season averages of 18.6 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 4.8 assists per game while the Celtics managed to clinch the 7th seed in the playoffs with a 41-40 season record (with one game not played because of the Boston Marathon bombings). The Celtics lost to the New York Knicks in the 1st round in six games. Pierce averaged 19.2 points per game while shooting a poor 36.8 percent from the field and 26.8 percent from three point range along with 5.7 rebounds and 5.3 assists in the playoff series loss.

On June 28, 2013, the day of the NBA draft, the Boston Celtics and Brooklyn Nets reached a deal to trade Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Jason Terry for future first-round picks in the 2014, 2016, and 2018 drafts and Kris Humphries, Gerald Wallace, Kris Joseph, MarShon Brooks, and Keith Bogans.  The deal was completed on July 12, 2013. Brooklyn also received D. J. White. Pierce convinced Garnett to waive his no-trade clause so that the deal could come to fruition. The Celtics took out a full-page advertisement in the Boston Globe thanking Pierce and Garnett for their contributions to the team. When Pierce left the Celtics, he was the third in franchise history in games played, second in points scored, first in free throws made, and first in 3 point field goals.

Despite the Brooklyn Nets getting off to a disappointing start to the season, Pierce showed Brooklyn why he is known as the “Truth”. After Brook Lopez’s season ending injury, Kidd decided to move Pierce to the power forward position, which subsequently helped the Nets on both offense and defense. By moving him there, he had the advantage and skills to shoot over larger defenders, while also using his speed and ball handling to get by them. In addition, he opened the paint for players like Garnett, Deron Williams and Joe Johnson to thrive. Pierce would go on to finish his 2013–14 campaign averaging 13.5 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 2.4 assist in 75 games (68 starts).

On April 11, 2014, Pierce scored his 25,000 career point, becoming just the fourth active player to reach that milestone. He finished the season with 25,032 points.

The Nets faced the Toronto Raptors in the first round of the 2014 playoffs, as they went on to defeat them in seven games with Pierce blocking what could have been a game winning basket by Kyle Lowry in Game 7 to win the series for the Nets. In the second round against the Miami Heat, the Nets were defeated in five games, as Pierce averaged 13.7 points per game while shooting 46.5 percent from the field and 35.8 percent from three over 12 total playoff games.

On July 17, 2014, Pierce signed a two-year, $11 million contract with the Washington Wizards. With 14 points against the Atlanta Hawks on November 25, 2014, Pierce passed Jerry West for 17th place on the NBA’s career scoring list. Two weeks later, Pierce passed Reggie Miller for 16th place on the NBA’s career scoring list with a season-high 28 points against the Boston Celtics.

On January 14, 2015, Pierce passed Jason Kidd for fourth all-time in three-pointers made in the 105-99 win over the Chicago Bulls.  Eleven days later, he recorded his 2,000th career three-pointer in the 117-115 overtime win over the Denver Nuggets.  On February 2, 2015, he passed Alex English for 15th place on the NBA’s career scoring list with 11 points against the Charlotte Hornets.  Pierce finished the regular season averaging 11.9 points per game, a career low.

On May 9, 2015, Pierce made a two-point shot with three defenders on him at the buzzer to defeat the Atlanta Hawks 103-101 and take a 2-1 series lead in the Eastern Conference semi-finals. He finished the game with 13 points and 7 rebounds.  In Game 6 of the series on May 15, the Wizards were down 94-91 with seconds remaining when Pierce launched a three-pointer, hoping to extend the Wizards’ season by forcing overtime. The shot swished, apparently tying the score at the buzzer, but the play was reviewed, showing the clock expired before Pierce released the basketball. Pierce finished the playoffs averaging 14.6 points and shot 52.4 percent from three in 10 playoff games.Paul-Pierce ppp

On June 27, 2015, Pierce opted out of the second year of his contract with the Wizards to become a free agent.

On July 10, 2015, Pierce signed a three-year, $10 million contract with the Los Angeles Clippers.  He made his debut for the Clippers in the team’s season opener against the Sacramento Kings on October 28, recording 12 points and 7 rebounds off the bench in a 111–104 win.  With Lance Stephenson starting at small forward, Pierce began the season as a role player off the bench for the first time in his career.  He started in three games midway through November, but quickly returned to a bench role with coach Doc Rivers constantly shifting his starting small forwards around. Over his first 20 games of the season, Pierce went scoreless in five of those contests, two more times than in his previous 17 seasons combined.  On December 16, Pierce scored six points against the Milwaukee Bucks. In the game, he hit a buzzer beater to end the first quarter and became the fifth active player and 16th in NBA history to reach 26,000 points.  On December 26, he scored a season-high 20 points against the Utah Jazz, recording 6-of-11 from the field and 5-of-7 from three-point range to help the Clippers win 109–104.  On January 16, 2016, Pierce missed a potential tying three-pointer with 25 seconds left in the game against the Sacramento Kings. He scored 7 points in the 110–103 loss, snapping their 10-game winning streak. In that game, Pierce went over 45,000 minutes for his career, becoming the fifth active player and 17th in NBA history to reach that mark.

On September 26, 2016, Pierce announced that the 2016–17 season would be his last in the NBA.  He did not appear for the Clippers in their first 12 games of the season, as they complied a 10–2 record in that time. On November 18, 2016, he made his season debut, scoring six points in nine minutes off the bench in a 121–115 win over the Sacramento Kings.  He also played the following night against the Chicago Bulls before sitting out the next four games. With the Clippers resting Blake Griffin on November 29 against the Brooklyn Nets, Pierce made his first start of the season and logged 29 minutes.  He shot just 1-of-7 from the field, however, and finished with five points, three rebounds and one steal in a 127–122 double overtime loss.  On December 20, Pierce started in place of the injured Blake Griffin but played just 19 minutes against the Denver Nuggets. It was only his eighth game of the year and second start. He hit two of six field goals to finish with seven points and one rebound.

Pierce was a member of the United States national team for the 2002 FIBA World Championship, starting all nine games and averaging 19.8 points per game. Pierce was also selected for the United States national team for the 2006 FIBA World Championship, but did not compete because of minor off-season surgery.

Dec 3, 2014; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Wizards forward Paul Pierce (34) talks to Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant (24) in the third quarter at Verizon Center. The Wizards won 111-95. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

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Dak Prescott Wins 2016-17 NFL Pepsi Rookie of the Year Award: Comments, Reaction

hi-res-c68667c0777209760d3efa5aa23a1b15_crop_northDak Prescott quarterbacked the Dallas Cowboys to a 13-3 regular season and the NFC’s No. 1 seed, and he was recognized for those efforts on Friday when he was named the 2016-17 NFL Pepsi Rookie of the Year.

Prescott beat out teammate Ezekiel Elliott, Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz, Los Angeles Chargers edge rusher Joey Bosa and Atlanta Falcons linebacker Deion Jones for the honor voted on by fans.

A fourth-round pick out of Mississippi State, Prescott wasn’t expected to take a snap—much less start every game—for the Cowboys as a rookie.

 “I think Prescott, from the day he started, has gotten better and better and better, and I know the one thing that he has done so exceptionally well, he’s protected the football, and his numbers will only get better as more experience comes his way,” Fox Sports analyst and former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Terry Bradshaw said of Prescott, per the Dallas Morning NewsBarry Horn.Dak-Prescott

 And as NFL.com’s Gil Brandt noted, Prescott “played extremely well, putting up some of his best performances in Weeks 15 and 16, just when people were beginning to doubt him.

“The Cowboys’ season ultimately came to a disappointing end when the Green Bay Packers pulled off an upset in the Divisional Round of the playoffs, but Prescott’s poise in the pocket all season long proved he’s the team’s sure-fire signal-caller of the future.

 

“WITH ELLIOT BY HIS SIDE, THE COWBOYS SHOULD CONTINUE TO OPERATE AS A FORCE TO BE RECKONED WITH ATOP THE NFC FOR YEARS TO COME”.dak-prescott-1

Rayne Dakota “Dak” Prescott (born July 29, 1993) is an American football quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football for the Mississippi State Bulldogs and was selected by the Cowboys in the fourth round of the 2016 NFL Draft.

Intended to serve as a backup in his rookie season, Prescott became the Cowboys’ starting quarterback after original starter Tony Romo was injured in the preseason. He earned recognition during the year for his on-field success, which included helping the team clinch the top seed in their conference. Prescott set several rookie quarterback records and was named to the 2017 Pro Bowl.

In Week 6 of the 2016 season, Prescott, with 176 attempts, broke the record for most consecutive pass attempts without an interception to start a career; a record previously held by Tom Brady at 162 attempts in 2000-2001. This is also the record for consecutive attempts without an interception by a rookie, having broken the record set by Carson Wentz at 134 earlier in 2016. Wentz and Prescott had been exchanging the rookie record after having broken the Chad Hutchinson record of 95 set in 2002.dak-prescott-dominates-wk2

Prescott finished his 2016 rookie regular season with a record 11 games with an over 100 NFL passer rating, breaking the rookie record of 9 games set by Russell Wilson in 2012. He tied the Ben Roethlisberger 2004 rookie record of winning 13 games as a starter.  His NFL passer rating of 104.9 broke Robert Griffin III‘s rookie record of 102.4 set in 2012. His 0.87% interception to attempts (459-4) broke the rookie record of 1.27% (393-5) set by Robert Griffin III.  He threw 23 TDs and 4 INTs for a TD to INT ratio of 5.75 breaking the previous rookie record of 4.00 (20 TDs and 5 INTs) set by Robert Griffin III, and for a TD to INT differential of 19 breaking Russell Wilson’s rookie record of 16 (26 TDs and 10 INTs).  His 67.76% pass completion percentage broke the rookie record of 66.44% set by Ben Roethlisberger.  In the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on December 18, 2016, Prescott, with an 88.9% completion percentage, broke the rookie single game record of 87.0% set by Mike Glennon in 2013.

 

 

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THERE IS ONLY ONE…”LEWIS CARL DAVIDSON HAMILTON”, The GOAT OF GLOBAL F1 RACING…………..

Latest / Interview

lewis_hamiltonHe may have lost his number-one status last year, but with Nico Rosberg now out of the picture, the F1 world is keen to know whether anyone can stop Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton regaining his crown in 2017. In the meantime, we ask the three-time champion to focus his mind on answering a few other crucial questions…

If you could pick just one meal to eat for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Lewis Hamilton: Can it be a big meal? Then I would start with pancakes – at least six. Then I have to have some bacon. Then some really good fried chicken, some fried rice. And at least one pack of Haribo and some cheesecake. With that I could live for the rest of my life I guess! (Laughs)

If you could pick just one pizza topping what would it be?

LH: It used to be pepperoni, but I don’t eat red meat anymore so I have really boring pizzas now. Oh wait now, the best pizza is truffle pizza! Oh my God, white truffle pizza – in Bahrain there was a party after the race and I had at least ten. I could not stop eating!

If you could pick just one holiday destination…

LH: I have never been there yet, but I would take Bora Bora – it triggers my dreams.

If you could pick just one track to race on…

LH: Macau. It is amazing. It is Monaco times two.

If you could pick just one road car to drive…

LH: Probably the Mercedes SL 300 Gullwing.

If you could pick just one video game to play…

LH: Call of Duty.

If you could pick just one colour to wear…

LH: White.

If you could pick just one sport to play…

LH: Do you know that I have recently discovered that chess is a sport. I love chess – but is it really a sport? If it is, I take chess. And, of course, snowboarding – depending on the season.

If you could pick just one song to listen to…

LH: Ah! For the rest of your life – that must be a really good one! ‘Superstition’ by Stevie Wonder.

If you could pick just one thing to drink…

LH: Water with grenadine.

If you could pick just one book to read…

LH: ‘The Alchemist’ (by Paulo Coelho). I can read that quite often.

If you could pick just one city to live in…

LH: Los Angeles.

If you could pick just one movie to watch…

LH: ‘Cool Runnings’ I’ve watched probably a thousand times. (Laughs)

If you could pick just one person to live with…

LH: My mum. I can stand my mum all day – every day!

If you could pick just one team mate…

LH: I would go for Ayrton Senna. We maybe wouldn’t get on – (Laughs) I usually don’t get on with team mates – but I would choose Ayrton because he was the best.

If you could pick just one fruit to eat…

LH: Watermelon.

If you could pick just one vegetable to eat…

LH: Sweet potatoes.

If you could pick just one mode of transport to use…

LH: Motorbike.

If you could pick just one gadget to own…

LH: iPhone.

If you could pick just one F1 corner to drive…

LH: I choose the (Nurburgring) Nordschleife’s first banked corner. You get super dizzy on that one. I think it is called Caracciola.

If you could pick just one age to be…

LH: Thirty.

If you could pick just one F1 era to race in…

LH: The late ‘80s.

If you could pick just one band/singer to listen to…

LH: Michael Jackson.

If you could pick just one piece of exercise equipment to train with…

LH: Bicycle – with that I can get around too!

If you could pick just one thing to collect…

LH: Seashells. Not that I collect them now, but I could imagine that I would love it – especially when I’m on Bora Bora! (Laughs)

LH: Trainers.

If you could pick just one type of chocolate or candy to snack on…

LH: Nutella. I have Nutella a lot recently.

If you could pick just one memory from your racing career to keep…

LH: The 2015 season.

If you could pick just one motor race to watch…

LH: Donington 1993 – Ayrton in the wet.

If you could pick just one person to date…

LH: Ha, very tricky. Big question mark. Yet to be discovered! (Laughs)

Lewis Carl Davidson Hamilton,  MBE (born 7 January 1985) is a British Formula One racing driver from England, currently racing for the Mercedes AMG Petronas team. He is a three-time Formula One World Champion. He won his first title with McLaren in 2008 before moving to Mercedes, where he won back-to-back titles in 2014 and 2015.

In his first season in Formula One, Hamilton set numerous records while finishing second in the 2007 Formula One Championship, just one point behind Kimi Räikkönen. He won the World Championship the following season in dramatic fashion, becoming the then-youngest Formula One world champion in history before Sebastian Vettel broke the record two years later.  

Mercedes-AMG's British driver Lewis Hamilton celebrates on the podium at the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi on November 23, 2014 after the Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix. AFP PHOTO / KARIM SAHIB (Photo credit should read KARIM SAHIB/AFP/Getty Images)

Following his second world title in 2014, he was named BBC Sports Personality of the Year. In 2015, he became the first British driver in history to win consecutive F1 titles, and the second Brit to win three titles after Jackie Stewart.

He also became the first English driver to reach that milestone. He is the first driver in the history of F1 to have made the podium after starting 20th place or lower at least 3 times. He is the only driver in the history of the sport to have won at least one race in each season he has competed to date, with McLaren from 2007 until 2012, and with Mercedes since 2013. 15Lewis-Hamilton-2

 

 

 

 

 

 

He has more race victories than any other British driver in the history of Formula One and is currently second with 53 wins on the all-time wins list having passed Alain Prost‘s total of 51 at the 2016 Brazilian Grand Prix. Hamilton also holds the record for most wins in the season without winning the World Championship, after winning 10 times in the 2016 season where he finished runner-up to teammate Nico Rosberg.

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THE LOS ANGELES LAKERS “GOAT”, EARVIN “MAGIC” JOHNSON JR., RETURNS AS A SPECIAL ADVISOR TO THE CEO AND OWNERSHIP, JEANIE BUSS, ON ALL MATTERS, TO INCLUDE ON AND OFF THE COURT BUSINESS IN IT’S TOTALITY.

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According to the release sent out by the team, Johnson’s duties will include, but won’t be limited to, “advising ownership on all business and basketball matters, collaborating with coaches, evaluating and mentoring players, assessing future franchise needs and helping ownership to determine the best path for growth and success.”

“Magic Johnson is one of the NBA’s greatest players and it is terrific to see him returning to the Lakers,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. “He is a truly special person and a natural leader with a relentless passion for basketball and profound knowledge of the game.”

According to the release sent out by the team, Johnson’s duties will include, but won’t be limited to, “advising ownership on all business and basketball matters, collaborating with coaches, evaluating and mentoring players, assessing future franchise needs and helping ownership to determine the best path for growth and success.”

“Everyone knows my love for the Lakers,” Johnson, 57, said. “Over the years, I have considered other management opportunities, however my devotion to the game and Los Angeles make the Lakers my first and only choice. I will do everything in my power to help return the Lakers to their rightful place among the elite teams of the NBA.”

Earvin “Magic” Johnson Jr. (born August 14, 1959) is an American retired professional basketball player who played point guard for the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association (NBA) for 13 seasons. After winning championships in high school and college, Johnson was selected first overall in the 1979 NBA draft by the Lakers. He won a championship and an NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award in his rookie season, and won four more championships with the Lakers during the 1980s. Johnson retired abruptly in 1991 after announcing that he had contracted HIV, but returned to play in the 1992 All-Star Game, winning the All-Star MVP Award. After protests from his fellow players, he retired again for four years, but returned in 1996, at age 36, to play 32 games for the Lakers before retiring for the third and final time.

Denver, CO - August 17, 2016: The City Council's Business, Arts, Workforce and Aeronautical Services Committee are considering initial contracts related to the Great Hall Project at DIA. Magic Johnson, the retired NBA player, helps make the pitch to a City Council committee. (Photo by Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post)

Johnson’s career achievements include three NBA MVP Awards, nine NBA Finals appearances, twelve All-Star games, and ten All-NBA First and Second Team nominations. He led the league in regular-season assists four times, and is the NBA’s all-time leader in average assists per game, at 11.2.  Johnson was a member of the 1992 United States men’s Olympic basketball team (“The Dream Team”), which won the Olympic gold medal in 1992. After leaving the NBA in 1992, Johnson formed the Magic Johnson All-Stars, a barnstorming team that travelled around the world playing exhibition games.  Johnson was honored as one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History in 1996.

Johnson became a two-time inductee into the Basketball Hall of Fame—being enshrined in 2002 for his individual career, and again in 2010 as a member of the “Dream Team”.  He was rated the greatest NBA point guard of all time by ESPN in 2007.  His friendship and rivalry with Boston Celtics star Larry Bird, whom he faced in the 1979 NCAA finals and three NBA championship series, are well documented.

In 905 NBA games, Johnson tallied 17,707 points, 6,559 rebounds, and 10,141 assists, translating to career averages of 19.5 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 11.2 assists per game, the highest assists per game average in NBA history.  Johnson shares the single-game playoff record for assists (24),  holds the Finals record for assists in a game (21),  and has the most playoff assists (2,346).  He is the only player to average 12 assists in an NBA Finals series, achieving it six times.  He holds the All-Star Game single-game record for assists (22), and the All-Star Game record for career assists (127).

Johnson introduced a fast-paced style of basketball called “Showtime“, described as a mix of “no-look passes off the fastbreak, pin-point alley-oops from halfcourt, spinning feeds and overhand bullets under the basket through triple teams.” Fellow Lakers guard Michael Cooper said, “There have been times when [Johnson] has thrown passes and I wasn’t sure where he was going. Then one of our guys catches the ball and scores, and I run back up the floor convinced that he must’ve thrown it through somebody.” Johnson could dominate a game without scoring, running the offense and distributing the ball with flair.  In the 1982 NBA Finals, he was named the Finals MVP averaging just 16.2 points, the lowest average of any Finals MVP award recipient in the three-point shot era.

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Since his retirement, Johnson has been an advocate for HIV/AIDS prevention and safe sex,  as well as an entrepreneur,  philanthropist, broadcaster and motivational speaker.  His public announcement of his HIV-positive status in 1991 helped dispel the stereotype, still widely held at the time, that HIV was a “gay disease” that heterosexuals need not worry about; his bravery in making this announcement was widely commended.  Named by Ebony magazine as one of America’s most influential black businessmen in 2009,  

Johnson has numerous business interests, and was a part-owner of the Lakers for several years. Johnson also is part of a group of investors that purchased the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2012 and the Los Angeles Sparks in 2014.Magic-Johnson-5

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#KAWHI ANTHONY LEONARD, “THE QUIET STORM” OF THE SAN ANTONIO SPURS

450687824Kawhi Anthony Leonard is an American professional basketball player for the San Antonio Spurs of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He played two seasons of college basketball for San Diego State University before being selected with the 15th overall pick in the 2011 NBA draft by the Indiana Pacers. He was then traded to San Antonio on draft night. Leonard won an NBA championship with the Spurs in 2014 and was named the NBA Finals Most Valuable Player. He is a two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year, having won in 2015 and 2016.

Leonard attended Canyon Springs High School before transferring to Martin Luther King High School his junior year. In Leonard’s senior year, he and Tony Snell led the King High Wolves to a 30–3 record. Leonard averaged 22.6 points, 13.1 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 3.0 blocks per game that year and won California Mr. Basketball.

Considered a four-star recruit by Rivals.com, Leonard was listed as the No. 8 small forward and the No. 48 player in the nation in 2009.

As a freshman at San Diego State, Leonard averaged 12.7 points and 9.9 rebounds per game. Leonard helped lead the Aztecs to a 25–9 record and the Mountain West Conference (MWC) tournament title. SDSU received an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament[4] but lost to Tennessee 62–59 in the first round as Leonard recorded 12 points and 10 rebounds. Leonard led the MWC in rebounding and was named MWC freshman of the year, first team All-MWC, and the 2010 MWC Tournament MVP.

In Leonard’s sophomore season, he averaged 15.7 points and 10.4 rebounds as the Aztecs finished with a 34–3 record and won back-to-back conference tournament championships.  Leonard and San Diego State would once again make the NCAA tournament.  This time, SDSU would advance to the Sweet 16 where they lost to eventual national champion UConn.  Leonard was named to the Second Team All-America and would forgo his final two seasons at San Diego State to enter the 2011 NBA draft.

Leonard was selected with the 15th overall pick in the 2011 NBA draft by the Indiana Pacers but was traded that night to the San Antonio Spurs along with the rights to Erazem Lorbek and Davis Bertans in exchange for George Hill. On December 10, 2011, following the conclusion of the NBA lockout, he signed a multi-year deal with the Spurs.Kawhi-Leonard-1

Leonard and teammate Tiago Splitter were selected to play in the 2012 Rising Stars Challenge as members of Team Chuck. Although he suited up for the event, he did not play due to a calf strain.  After starter Richard Jefferson was traded to the Golden State Warriors for Stephen Jackson, Leonard was promoted to the starting small forward position while Jackson served as his backup.

At season’s end, Leonard placed fourth in Rookie of the Year voting and was named to the 2012 NBA All-Rookie First Team.

In the summer of 2012, Leonard was among several NBA up-and-comers chosen to play for the 2012 USA men’s basketball Select Team. They trained with the Olympic team which featured Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Chris Paul, and others.

On October 26, 2012, the Spurs exercised the team option on Leonard, re-signing him through the 2013–14 season.

Leonard was selected to play for the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge where he was once again drafted to Team Chuck. He recorded 20 points and 7 rebounds as Team Chuck defeated Team Shaq for the second straight year 163–135.

The San Antonio Spurs advanced to the NBA Finals where they faced the Miami Heat. Leonard averaged 14.6 points and 11.1 rebounds during the Finals as the Spurs lost the series in seven games.kawhi-leonard-12

On April 6, 2014, Leonard scored a season-high 26 points in the Spurs’ 112–92 win over the Memphis Grizzlies. He finished the season averaging 12.8 points, 6.2 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.7 steals while shooting 52.2% from the field. Leonard helped the Spurs to a 62–20 record – the number one seed in the NBA – and was named to the NBA All-Defensive Second Team for the first time.

The Spurs and the Miami Heat met once again in the NBA Finals. On June 10, 2014, in Game 3 of the series, Leonard scored a then career-high 29 points in a 111–92 victory.  San Antonio went on to win the series 4–1. Leonard averaged 17.8 points on 61% shooting and was named NBA Finals MVP.  He was the third-youngest player to win the award (22 years and 351 days),  behind only Magic Johnson—who won in both 1980 (20 years and 278 days) and 1982 (22 years and 298 days).  Leonard was also only the sixth player, and the first since Chauncey Billups in 2004, to win Finals MVP in a season in which they were not an All-Star.

After missing the final six preseason games and the season opener against the Dallas Mavericks due to an infection in his right eye caused by conjunctivitis, Leonard made his season debut against the Phoenix Suns on October 31 despite still suffering from blurry vision.  He continued to play through the blurred vision and on November 10, 2014, he scored a season-high 26 points in the Spurs’ 89–85 win over the Los Angeles Clippers.  Following a three-game stint on the sidelines between December 17 and December 20, Leonard had an injection in his injured right hand on December 22 and was ruled out indefinitely.  He returned to action on January 16, 2015 after missing 15 games, recording 20 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals to lead the Spurs to a 110–96 win over the Portland Trail Blazers.

On April 5, Leonard recorded 26 points and a career-high 7 steals in a 107–92 win over the Golden State Warriors. On April 23, Leonard was named the NBA Defensive Player of the Year, joining Michael Jordan and Hakeem Olajuwon as the only players to win both NBA Defensive Player of the Year and NBA Finals MVP. The next day, he scored a playoff career-high 32 points in a Game 3 first-round playoff series victory over the Los Angeles Clippers. The Spurs went on to lose the series in seven games.

On July 16, 2015, Leonard re-signed with the Spurs to a five-year, $90 million contract.  On October 28, he scored a then career-high 32 points in a 112–106 season opening loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder. On December 3, he scored 27 points and made a career-high seven three-pointers in a 103–83 win over the Memphis Grizzlies. On January 21, 2016, he was named as a starter to the Western Conference team for the 2016 All-Star Game, earning his first All-Star selection and became the sixth Spurs player in franchise history to be selected as an All-Star starter, joining George Gervin, Larry Kenon, Alvin Robertson, David Robinson and Tim Duncan.051016-NBA-KawhiLeonard2-PI.vresize.1200.675.high.31

On March 23, 2016, Leonard had another 32-point outing in a 112–88 win over the Miami Heat, helping the Spurs extend their franchise-record home winning streak to 45 games (dating to 2014–15 season).  On April 2, he set a new career high with 33 points in a 102–95 win over the Toronto Raptors, helping the Spurs set a franchise record with their 64th victory. The Spurs topped their 63-win season in 2005–06 and extended their NBA-record home winning streak to start the season to 39 games.  Leonard helped the Spurs finish second in the Western Conference with a 67–15 record, and earned Defensive Player of the Year honors for a second straight year, becoming the first non-center to earn the honor in back-to-back seasons since Dennis Rodman in 1989–90 and 1990–91.  Additionally, he finished runner-up in the MVP voting behind Stephen Curry.

In Game 3 of the Spurs’ first-round playoff series with the Memphis Grizzlies, Leonard helped the Spurs go up 3–0 with a 32-point performance, tying his playoff career high.  After sweeping the Grizzlies, the Spurs moved on to face the Oklahoma City Thunder in the second round. In Game 3 of the series against the Thunder, Leonard helped the Spurs go up 2–1 with 31 points and 11 rebounds.  However, the Spurs went on to lose the next three games, bowing out of the playoffs with a 4–2 defeat.kawhi-leonard-051514-ap-ftrjpg_1ftmofnrvgidl1kq3jifyhb14e

In the Spurs’ season opener on October 25, 2016, Leonard recorded a career-high 35 points and five steals in a 129–100 win over the Golden State Warriors.  Two days later, he recorded 30 points and five steals in a 102–94 win over the Sacramento Kings, becoming the first player to have 65 points and 10 steals in the first two games of a season since 1979. On December 6, he scored 31 points to help the Spurs improve to 13–0 on the road with a 105–91 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.  On January 14, 2017, he set a new career high with 38 points in a 108–105 loss to the Phoenix Suns, becoming the first Spur to record three consecutive 30-point games since Tony Parker in 2012. Leonard’s performance registered as his 11th 30-point game of the season, which is the most by a Spurs player through the first 40 games of the season since 1995–96, when David Robinson put together 13 30-point outings.  Three days later, he scored 34 points against the Minnesota Timberwolves for his fourth straight 30-point game. He became the first San Antonio player to score 950 points in the first half of a season since Tim Duncan in 2003.  On January 19, he was named a starter for the Western Conference All-Star team in the 2017 NBA All-Star Game and had 34 points against the Denver Nuggets for his fifth straight 30-point performance.  Two days later, he set a new career with 41 points in a 118–115 overtime win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, becoming the first San Antonio player to score at least 30 in six straight games since Mike Mitchell in 1986.  He subsequently earned Western Conference Player of the Week honors for games played Monday, January 16 through Sunday, January 22.

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#ROGERFEDERER AUSTRALIAN HIGH FIVE, THE GREAT SWISS WINS FIFTH AUSTRALIAN OPEN AND 18TH GRAND SLAM TITLE BY DOWNING RAFAEL NADAL IN FIVE SETS

1484723467-roger-federer-australian-open-second-roundAAmn1GyIn a stunning match befitting of the occasion, Roger Federer defeated long-time rival Rafael Nadal to win Australian Open 2017, his 18th major title.

The 6-4 3-6 6-1 3-6 6-3 victory handed Federer his first major title in four-and-a-half years.

The win also gave Federer his first win over Nadal at a Grand Slam event since Wimbledon 2007, and was his first-ever victory over the Spaniard in Australia.

In one of the most highly-anticipated Grand Slam finals in history, Federer’s victory looked unlikely when Nadal broke serve in the opening game of the fifth set and built a 3-1 lead.

But when Federer’s shotmaking lifted to a new level against an increasingly dispirited Nadal, the Swiss reeled off four games in a row to achieve perhaps the most gratifying title of his storied career.

“I’m out of words,” Federer said after receiving the trophy from the great Rod Laver after his 100th Australian Open match.20170126__2384004_roger-federer-australian-open-final-2017~1

“I’d like to congratulate Rafa on an amazing comeback. I don’t think either of us believed we’d be in the final of the Australian Open when we were at your academy four or five months ago. But here were stand.

“Tennis is a tough sport – there are no draws. But if there was one, I would have been happy to accept a draw with Rafa tonight, really.”

Nadal held to love in the opening game and was strong on serve early; in his first three service games he dropped a collective two points.

But in the seventh game, Federer was decisive. He played an aggressive return and followed it into net, picking off a backhand volley for 0-15. A wrong-footing backhand and a forehand swinging volley winner helped Federer to 15-40, and Nadal’s backhand error handed him the first break of the match.

With the first set in Federer’s hand shortly after, there was an immediate momentum swing. Nadal broke serve in the second game of the second set, pummelling Federer’s weaker one-handed backhand with heavy topspin forehands.

The Swiss held two break points in game three but couldn’t convert. And the missed opportunities seemed to plague him; his game became mired in mistakes, gifting Nadal a 4-0 lead. Although Federer closed the gap somewhat, the set was as good as gone.

The situation looked grim for Federer when, three times in the opening game of the third, he handed Nadal a break point with sloppy errors. Somehow, he served his way out of trouble.

And with that potential crisis navigated, he loosened up and rediscovered his feel and timing. Two running crosscourt forehand winners and a forehand winner down the line helped him break for 2-0, and two games later he threatened to make it 4-0 when he held two break points.roger-federer-australian-open

Although Nadal dug in to get on the board, another forehand winner saw Federer hold for 4-1. He broke serve again in the sixth game to extend his lead. Such was the clarity in Federer’s play that he stopped a rally mid-point to challenge a call via Hawkeye – never his strong suit – and was found to have correctly seen a Nadal ball out.

He closed out the game with a drop-volley winner, and held a two-sets-to-one lead.

Out of nowhere, Federer shanked two forehand errors early in the fourth and Nadal made him pay, belting a forehand winner en route to a break and a 3-1 lead. The Spaniard then made it 4-1 with an incredible get, digging out a sliced forehand on the full stretch off a Federer backhand and floating it crosscourt for a winner.

Four games later, Nadal held comfortably and sent the match to a fifth.

The sense of deja vu was palpable when Nadal broke Federer immediately to open the fifth – he was, after all, 6-2 against Federer in Grand Slam finals. And in Nadal’s two subsequent service games, Federer held break points but failed to convert.

Then, a plot twist. Serving at 3-2, Nadal saved yet another break point with a powerful first serve/forehand winner combination. Yet when a second arrived courtesy of a Federer backhand winner, it was one too many for the Spaniard to save.

Federer broke, held to love in the next game, broke again in the eighth game – requiring five dramatic break points to do so – and found himself serving for the match.Roger+Federer+2017+Australian+Open+Day+14+NzNl4V50HsAl

One match point came and went, but on the second, Federer struck a winning forehand. Nadal challenged the call, but in vain.

One of the greatest Grand Slam finals had come to a thrilling end.

Roger Federer (born 8 August 1981) is a Swiss professional tennis player who is currently ranked world No. 10 by the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP). Many players and analysts have called him the greatest tennis player of all time. Federer turned professional in 1998 and was continuously ranked in the top 10 from October 2002 to November 2016.

Federer has won 18 Grand Slam singles titles, the most in history, and held the No. 1 spot in the ATP rankings for a total of 302 weeks. In majors, Federer has won five Australian Open titles, seven Wimbledon titles, five US Open titles and one French Open title. He is among the eight men to capture a career Grand Slam. Federer shares an Open Era record for most titles at Wimbledon with Pete Sampras and at the US Open with Jimmy Connors and Sampras. He has reached a record 28 men’s singles Grand Slam finals, including 10 in a row from the 2005 Wimbledon Championships to the 2007 US Open.

Federer’s ATP tournament records include winning a record six ATP World Tour Finals and playing in the finals at all nine ATP Masters 1000 tournaments. He also won the Olympic gold medal in doubles with his compatriot Stan Wawrinka at the 2008 Summer Olympic Games and the Olympic silver medal in singles at the 2012 Summer Olympic Games. Representing Switzerland, he was a part of the 2014 winning Davis Cup team. He was named the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year for a record four consecutive years from 2005 to 2008.

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