LeBron delivers on promise, leads Cavs to NBA title

admin   •   June 20, 2016   •   2477

Monday, June 20, 2016 June 19, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) speaks to media with his children Lebron James Jr. and Zhuri James present following the 93-89 victory against the Golden State Warriors in game seven of the NBA Finals at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Monday, June 20, 2016
June 19, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) speaks to media with his children Lebron James Jr. and Zhuri James present following the 93-89 victory against the Golden State Warriors in game seven of the NBA Finals at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

LeBron James powered the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 93-89 victory over the Golden State Warriors on Sunday in an electrifying Game Seven to complete an improbable comeback unlike any seen before and capture their first NBA championship.

With the win over the top-seeded Warriors, who celebrated a championship on Cleveland’s home court last year, the Cavaliers became the first team to rally from a 3-1 series deficit in the best-of-seven NBA Finals and win the title.

“I’ve had the goal for two years since I came back to bring a championship to the city,” said an emotional James, who returned to the Cavaliers in 2014 after a four-year stint with Miami that included a pair of NBA championships.

“I gave it everything that I had. I poured my heart, my blood, my sweat and my tears into this game.”

When the final buzzer sounded to end what was the closest game of the Finals, an emotional James dropped to the floor before he was mobbed by his teammates.

James led Cleveland in the championship-clinching win with a triple-double as he recorded 27 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists en route to being named the Most Valuable Player of the NBA Finals for a third time.

The win ends decades of heartbreak for the city of Cleveland, which had not won a professional sports championship since the 1964 Cleveland Browns of the National Football League.

For James, the win not only marks his third NBA title, but it will go down as the single greatest achievement of his storied career as it fulfills his promise to deliver a title to his home state of Ohio.

“I came back for a reason. I came back to bring a championship to our city,” said James, who was in tears as he wrapped his arms around the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy.

“I knew what I was capable of doing. I knew what I learned in the last couple years that I was gone, and I knew I had the right ingredients and the right blueprint to help this franchise get back to a place that we’ve never been.”

The back-and-forth game lived up to its billing as it was tight throughout and included 20 lead changes while no team was able to pull ahead by more than eight points.

Facing elimination in each of their previous two games, James carried the Cavs back from the brink as they became only the third team to force a Game Seven after falling behind 3-1 in the championship round.

For the Warriors, who had a record 73 wins during the 82-game regular season, Sunday’s defeat marked the first time since November 2013 that they have lost three consecutive games.

“It wasn’t easy what we accomplished, and it’s not an easy pill to swallow what we didn’t accomplish,” said two-time league MVP Stephen Curry, who had 17 points in the loss. “So got to just take the good with the bad.”

After a record smashing regular season the Warriors could not cap off the campaign with a second successive title, unable to deliver the knockout punch after going up 3-1 in the best-of-season series.

The Warriors were ultimately undone in the series by the disappearance of their high-octane offense, a suspension to defensive stalwart Draymond Green, a season-ending injury to rim-protecting center Andrew Bogut and defensive specialist Andre Iguodala dealing with a balky back.

“Just an incredible run that obviously didn’t end the way we wanted it to,” said Warriors head coach Steve Kerr. “It’s been an incredible two-year run. We’re disappointed that it didn’t go our way at the end, but that’s life.”

When the Warriors raced out to a 3-1 series lead the Cavs were left for dead by many impartial observers who expected the Golden State to run away with the series.

But with their backs against the wall, a Cavaliers team that once seem overmatched never gave up in their quest for a maiden NBA title.

“I knew what we were capable of, even being down 3-1 versus the greatest regular season team ever,” said James.

“Everybody counted us out and that’s when we strived the most and that’s definitely when I strived the most when everybody counted me out.”

(Reporting by Rory Carroll; Writing by Frank Pingue; Editing by Steve Keating)

Vince Carter retires after NBA record 22-season career

UNTV News   •   June 26, 2020

Atlanta Hawks guard Vince Carter officially announced his retirement from professional basketball on Thursday (June 25) after an NBA record 22-season career during which his high-flying dunks made him one of the game’s top players in his prime.

Carter, widely regarded as one of the greatest dunkers of all time, had previously said the 2019-20 NBA campaign would be his last but had not addressed his playing status since the NBA suspended its season in mid-March due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

“I am officially done playing basketball professionally,” Carter, 43, told the “Winging It” podcast.

Carter, the first NBA player to feature in four different decades, signed a one-year deal with the Hawks last August.

However, their season is over as they did not qualify for the NBA’s 22-team format for restarting action in late July at Disney World amid the novel coronavirus.

Carter played for eight teams during his career but will be most remembered for his time with the Toronto Raptors, where he put the Canadian city on the basketball map and earned the nickname “Air Canada” for his feats above the rim.

After his first season in Toronto, Carter was named the NBA’s rookie of the year in 1999. He was then named an All-Star for each of the following eight seasons.

In his second season, Carter won the Slam Dunk Contest during All-Star Weekend with a dazzling display that further increased his stardom and helped ignite basketball’s popularity in what had otherwise been an ice hockey-mad country.

Carter, who ranks 22nd on the NBA’s all-time scoring list, averaged 16.7 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game during a career that also included stops in New Jersey, Orlando, Phoenix, Dallas, Memphis, Sacramento and Atlanta.

He also helped USA Basketball win gold medals at the 2000 Sydney Olympics and 2003 FIBA Americas tournament. (Reuters)

(Production; David Grip)

League approves plan to resume NBA season in July at Disney World

UNTV News   •   June 5, 2020

REUTERS – The National Basketball Association (NBA) Board of Governors have approved a plan to restart the suspended season with a tentative July 31 start at Disney World, Florida amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, the league said on Thursday (June 4).

The plan would see 22 of the NBA’s 30 teams play eight games to determine a 16-team playoff field that would follow the traditional post-season format with four best-of-seven series that would crown a champion no later than October 12.

The league said approval from its Board of Governors, which came on the day originally scheduled for the start of the NBA Finals, is the first formal step among the many required to resume the season.

According to ESPN, the vote on the format was 29-1, with the Portland Trail Blazes voting against the proposal.

All games, practices and housing would be at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex which is inside the Orlando resort and has multiple hotels and arenas, and would allow the league to limit outside exposure.

The NBA was the first North American sports league to suspend its season due to the COVID-19 pandemic after one of its players tested positive for the new coronavirus in mid-March.

The 22 returning teams would be comprised of the eight teams from each of the two conferences currently in playoff positions plus the six clubs that are six games or fewer behind the eighth seed in their respective conferences.

If everything goes according to plan, the NBA said the 2020-21 season would begin on Dec. 1.

The league also said it plans to hold its 2020 NBA Draft Lottery to determine the order of the first 14 selections on Aug. 25. Lottery teams would be comprised of the eight clubs that do not participate in the restart and the six that go to Florida but do not qualify for the playoffs.

The actual NBA Draft, typically held in June, is now scheduled for Oct. 15.

(Production: Kurt Michael Hall)

Jordan’s autographed game-worn sneakers from his rookie season sold for record $560,000

UNTV News   •   May 18, 2020

NBA great Michael Jordan’s autographed game-worn sneakers from his rookie season fetched a record $560,000 (463,380 pounds) in an online auction, Sotheby’s said on Sunday (May 17).

The Air Jordan 1s, designed for Jordan in 1985 and the first ever signature sneakers, were expected to sell for between $100,000 and $150,000 in the auction.

Known for selling multimillion-dollar art, Sotheby’s held its first auction dedicated entirely to sneakers last year and had then set a world record of $437,500 for a pair of 1972 Nike running shoes known as the “Moon Shoe.”

“We saw tremendous bidding up until the moment the sale closed, with the value more than doubling in the final hour alone,” said Brahm Wachter, Sotheby’s director of eCommerce development.

“That coupled with strong international bidding from six countries on four continents shows not only the incredible appeal of Michael Jordan… but also that sneaker collecting is truly a global and growing market.”

Like most of Jordan’s basketball shoes, they are a mismatched pair in a size 13 (left) and size 13.5 (right).

The auction coincided with the 35th anniversary of the Air Jordan brand and the screening of the 10-part ESPN documentary “The Last Dance” about the Chicago Bulls and Jordan. The final two episodes of the show are set to air later on Sunday.

The shoes were sold by collector Jordan Geller, the founder of the sneaker museum Shoezeum in Las Vegas. (Reuters)

(Production: David Grip)

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