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Kobe Bryant Unveiled as Cover Athlete for NBA 2K21
07/03/2020 9:12am

Mamba forever. Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant was named the finalcover athlete on Thursday for the basketball video game NBA 2K21.The late Bryant was tragically killed in a helicopter crash in January along with eight others, including his 13-year-old daughter Gianna. NBA2K21 released two different versions of the cover on their Twitter account including a video of the artist painting them that was posted by Bryants widow Vanessa on Instagram.The first cover is a painting of Bryant after he scored 60points against the Utah Jazz in his final NBA game on April 13, 2016. The second cover features a painting of Bryant flying in for a one-handed slam early in his career as he donned the No. 8 jersey. Both covers have the title: Mamba Forever Edition.Earlier in the week, NBA2K21 announced that New OrleansPelicans rookie Zion Williamson and Portland Trail Blazers point guard DamianLillard would also be featured on covers of the game. Each of our cover athletes represent different eras of the game of basketballDamian Lillard dominates the court today, Zion Williamson is a standard-bearer for the next generation of NBA superstar and what more could be said about Kobe said Alfie Brody, VP of global marketing at NBA 2K in an interview with Bleacher Report.Three athletes representing the current, future and storied history of the game. Todays exciting announcement is just the first of many for NBA 2K21 its going to be a huge year for basketball fans and NBA 2K gamers.The game will launch worldwide on Sept. 4.This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.

USC Advises Virtual Classes for Fall Semester Putting College Football Season in Doubt
07/03/2020 8:50am

If youre a student at the University of Southern Californiayou might have to continue to get used to Zoom. As COVID-19 continues to torment most of the state of California, colleges across the state are preparing for virtual classes this fall. Recently, USC pivoted from their prior stance of expecting students on campus this fall, to now advising them to take their courses online. USC provost Charles F. Zukowski and senior vice president David Wright released a letter on Wednesday stating as much:Given the continuing safety restrictions and limited densitiespermissible on campus, our undergraduate students primarily or exclusively willbe taking their courses online in the fall term, and on-campus housing andactivities will be limited. While not what we hoped, we are now recommendingall undergraduates take their courses online, and reconsider living on or closeto campus this semester. We are continuing with limited in-person, on-campusactivity because we believe we can keep students, researchers, staff, andfaculty safe with our low-density plan.The decision to go virtual for the fall semester could very well affect the Trojans college football season. The Trojans are currently ranked No. 19 in the NCAAs preseason rankings and were expected to compete for the Pac 12 title this year. Although the letter does not say definitively say that there will be nostudents on campus without exceptions, it would make the process of playingcollege football difficult if the rest of the student body was not allowed tobe on campus. Recently, USC started allowing student-athletes to return to campusprior to the release of the letter on Wednesday. Voluntary football workoutsbegan last week even though the prospect of a college football season in 2020seems bleak as of July 1. The first two days of July saw record-breaking coronavirus cases surpassing over 50,000 positive cases on back-to-back days. Prior to July 1, the United States had never had more than 50,000 cases recorded in a single day. However, despite the surging cases in California and Los Angeles County specifically, the USC Trojans athletic program has seemed stay clear of the virus so far. As of Wednesday, only one student-athlete had tested positive per the L.A. Times. That number is significantly less than the 37 positive cases on the reigning national champion Clemson Tigers football program, and the handful of positive cases in the Alabama and Oklahoma football programs. Pac 12 Commissioner Larry Scott said on Thursday that there were still multiple options on the table, including moving the college football season to spring, but with the coronavirus surging across the country, it seems highly unlikely the college football season will begin in August as originally planned. I still want to be cautiously optimistic, but if theres no change in societys response and behavior, which results in a quick flattening of the curve and a decrease in the spread of the virus, that would lead to a much more pessimistic view about our campuses being able to open and our ability to play college sports.This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.

Anthony Davis: Lakers' Title Chances Improved After Break
07/03/2020 1:24am

The sudden suspension of the NBA season was a double disappointment for Anthony Davis.It happened on my birthday, which is kind of a bummer because I couldnt do anything, the Los Angeles Lakers seven-time All-Star big man said with a laugh.Davis turned 27 on March 11 when the NBA shut down amid the coronavirus pandemic. After a few homebound months spent largely improving his video game skills, Davis is back at work as the Lakers attempt to achieve their interrupted goals.Davis, LeBron James and the Lakers are gathered for individual workouts this week in preparation for their trip to Orlando, where theyre among the favorites to win it all in this extraordinary NBA season. The Lakers 49-14 were leading the Western Conference and preparing for their first playoff run together when everything stopped.Davis still loves the Lakers chances of contending for the franchises 17th championship.Actually, I think our chances are higher, just because were all rested and were all ready to go, Davis said Thursday in his first extensive public comment since March. If anything, our chances got higher, and its going to be about just who wants it more.The time off was a particular benefit for Davis, who mostly played through his usual assortment of nagging injuries during his first season after engineering a trade from New Orleans to the Lakers so he could improve his chances of winning a ring. Davis had problems with his elbow, tailbone and shoulder at various points of this season, but theyre all memories now.Its been good for me to let some of the lingering injuries I had toward the time when the NBA stopped kind of recover and heal, Davis said. I can get back into the best version of myself. I feel 100 healthy. Well, I dont feel, I am 100 healthy. I feel like Im ready to go.Davis has played splendidly when healthy for the Lakers, averaging 26.7 points, 9.4 rebounds and 3.1 assists with 27 double-doubles in 55 games. He also averaged 2.4 blocks while playing stellar defense for one of the NBAs top defensive teams.Hopefully the best is yet to come, said Lakers coach Frank Vogel, who praised Davis ability to play through injury. Any time Anthony Davis takes the floor, you have a chance to see something special. He continues to get better, and he works extremely hard.While Davis respects the decision of Lakers starting guard Avery Bradley to skip the NBAs restart, Davis says he never considered that option with so much to gain from the return.Were in a position to win a championship, but also, I think were stronger together, Davis said. Everyone in Orlando, were going to obviously be talking about everything thats going on from a social injustice standpoint. And the NBA, I think at that time were going to be the only ones on TV. So I think were able to have more people in the room from other teams, and receive other ideas and figure out how we can change the world.The Lakers still dont know whether Dwight Howard will join them in Orlando, but Vogel believes its unlikely Davis will have to play extensively at center even if Howard doesnt play. Thats undoubtedly good news for Davis, who prefers to play power forward.Davis said he has spent his time off with family. He has been eating well and logging plenty of hours with a controller in his hands.Ive gotten really great at Call of Duty, he said. Ive gotten really great at NBA 2K.

NFL to Play Black Anthem Before National Anthem: AP Source
07/03/2020 12:06am

Lift Evry Voice and Sing will be performed live or played before The Star-Spangled Banner prior to each NFL game during Week 1 and the league is considering putting names of victims of police brutality on helmet decals or jersey patches, a person familiar with the discussions told The Associated Press.The person said the league is working collaboratively with players to recognize victims of systemic racism throughout the season in a variety of ways. The person spoke to the AP on Thursday on condition of anonymity because discussions between the league and the NFL Players Association are ongoing.Additional plans include the use of educational programs and storytelling about the victims and their families similar to the leagues PSA on Botham Jean released in January and the Super Bowl commercial on Corey Jones featuring his cousin, former NFL star Anquan Boldin. Lift Evry Voice and Sing is traditionally known as the Black anthem. Itll be played first when the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs host the Houston Texans to kick off the NFL regular season on Sept. 10. FedEx11 hours agoFedEx Asks Washington Redskins to Change NameespysJun 22The ESPYS Focus on Honors, Pandemic and Racial JusticeIts uncertain whether fans will be in attendance Week 1 or at all this season because of the coronavirus pandemic. The league is considering asking fans to sign a waiver and wear masks, according to a person familiar with those conversations. The NFL announced last month it is committing $250 million over 10 years to social justice initiatives, targeting what it calls systemic racism and supporting the battle against the ongoing and historic injustices faced by African Americans.Following the nationwide protests sparked by the death of George Floyd, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell denounced racism in a video prompted greatly by a players video seeking NFL action.

FedEx Asks Washington Redskins to Change Name
07/02/2020 10:53pm

FedEx has asked the WashingtonRedskins to change the teams name.We havecommunicated to the team in Washington our request that they change the teamname, FedEx confirmed in a statement.FedEx owns the naming rights to the stadium in Landover, Maryland, where the team plays its home games, through 2025, having signed a deal in 1999 reported at the time as a 27-year deal worth $205 million.20 hours agoTony Dungy Won&039t Say Redskins Team Name on Air: It&039s Not Hard to Change the Name&039Jul 1Report: Investors Send Letters Asking Nike, FedEx, PepsiCo to Terminate Relationships With RedskinsFedEx Chairman and CEO Fred Smith holds an ownership stake in the franchise.John Ourand of Sports Business Journal says if team owner Daniel Snyder chooses not to change the name, he may have trouble finding another company willing to put its name on the stadium.What possibly has happened here is FedEx has poisoned the well, he said. I mean, who is going to come in to support the Redskins and sponsor the Redskins when so many companies, FedEx and other companies included, have come out and said its a name they want to have changed.Investment firms and shareholders worth a collective $620 billion asked Nike, FedEx and Pepsi to terminate their relationships with the Washington franchise unless the team agrees to change its controversial name. Washingtons NFL team appears to have disappeared from Nikes website. A search for Redskins results in the message, We could not anything for redskins.Critics have asked Snyder to change the name for years, saying its offensive to Native Americans.Snyder has said hellnever change the name.Renewed calls forchange have increased during the current fight for racial justice.Last month, D.C. MayorMuriel Bowser revived her call for the name to be changed.Ithink its past time for the team to deal with what offends so many people,she said on the Doc & Galdi radio show on The Team 980. This is a great franchise with a great history, thatsbeloved in Washington, and it deserves a name that reflects the affection thatwe feel for the team.Earlier in June, CongresswomanAlexandria Ocasio-Cortez called out the team for participating in BlackoutTuesday by posting a black square calling for racial equality on Twitter.Ocasio-Cortez commented, Want to really stand for racialjustice Changeyour name.This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.

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