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Lakers – Denver Nuggets: how to watch, start time and odds



What you need to know: The Lakers and Denver Nuggets open the NBA Western Conference Finals Tuesday night at the Ball Arena in Denver. The series is a 2020 Western Conference Finals rematch that the Lakers won in five games.

The Lakers advanced to the Western Conference Finals this season, eliminating the Golden State Warriors in six games. The Nuggets swept the Phoenix Suns in the Western Conference semi-finals, that is, in six games.

The Lakers and Nuggets met four times during the regular season, and each club won twice. The Lakers recruited 18 different players in these competitions, eight of whom are no longer on the team.

Patrick Beverley was the only Lakers to play in all four games and was traded to Orlando and then signed with Chicago.

The two teams last met more than four months ago on Jan. 9, and in that game Russell Westbrook, who was traded to the Clippers, became the Los Angeles’ top scorer.

The Lakers, who are trying to reach the NBA Finals for the 33rd time in franchise history, are 18-6 in their last 24 games, the best record in the league so far. The Nuggets came out on top in the conference standings in December. and remained at the top until the end of the season.

The main game of the series is set to take place between center Nikola Jokic, a two-time Nuggets MVP and triple-double threat, and Lakers forward Anthony Davis, one of the league’s top defensemen.

The Nuggets are 40-7 on their home court and are on track to set the NBA’s best home record since the 2016-17 season, when Golden State went 45-5.


Former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou signs with PFL



Former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou signed an extensive, multi-fight contract with the Professional Fighters League, he and the organization announced on Tuesday.

Ngannou (17-3) is expected to make his PFL debut at the 2024 pay-per-view against an opponent to be announced. The 36-year-old also enjoys professional boxing, which allows his new contract with the PFL. Ngannou defended his UFC contract in 2022 and became one of the biggest free agents in MMA history.

“The PFL is pleased to announce its groundbreaking strategic partnership with Francis Ngannou, the world’s greatest heavyweight fighter,” PFL CEO Peter Murray said in a statement. “Ngannou will lead the PFL’s All-Star PPV Super Fight Division, serve on the PFL’s Global Athlete Advisory Council, and serve as Chairman and Shareholder of PFL Africa.”

Born in Cameroon and now fighting in Las Vegas, Ngannou has long been interested in developing African talent in combat sports and athletics in general. The PFL intends to launch multiple leagues on different continents in the coming years, with PFL Africa expected as early as 2025. Earlier this year, she launched PFL Europe.

In January, UFC president Dana White announced that the promotion was moving away from Ngannou as heavyweight champion and would not be in any further contract negotiations after over a year of unsuccessful negotiations. White said the UFC offered Ngannou a deal that would have made him the highest paid heavyweight in the company’s history.

During this time, Ngannou made it clear in numerous interviews that negotiations with the UFC broke down mainly due to non-financial issues, including the length of the contract and universal medical coverage for athletes. If Ngannou re-signed with the UFC, he would have to face arguably the greatest fighter of all time, Jon Jones. Jones captured Ngannou’s vacant title in March by defeating Cyril Gein at UFC 285.

Ngannou has not fought since defending his heavyweight title against Gein in January 2022. He was expected to miss the remainder of 2022 regardless of his contract situation due to a knee injury.

“You have to give Francis credit,” said Markel Martin, Ngannou’s former manager, who is still a consultant and runs a brand management company. “Most fighters couldn’t go through what he went through last year. He understands his worth and has been extremely patient to get to this point. Now, not only is he the best heavyweight in the world, but he has struck a deal that is unmatched and will set him up for life.”

Despite Jones’ victory at UFC 285, Ngannou is almost universally recognized as the tournament’s number one. 1 heavyweight in the world. He has notable knockout victories over Stipe Miocic, Jairzinho Rozenstruik, Junior dos Santos, Cain Velasquez, Curtis Blaydes and Alistair Overeem.

Born into extreme poverty in Cameroon, Ngannou eventually emigrated to Paris where he began his career in combat sports. He fought professionally for only two years before signing with the UFC in 2015.

Over the past two years, Ngannou has shown interest and been linked with potential boxing matches against the likes of Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder. But nothing concrete materialized.

Among the current PFL heavyweights, Ngannou’s most likely opponents will be names like former PFL champion Bruno Cappelozza. The PFL could also bring in another free agent before mid-2024.

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Ja Morant, masculinity and the false path of weapons | Memphis Grizzlies



I soon we will get to the intricate history of Ja Morant. But first, a personal story. I grew up in South Dallas. Our house has been broken into several times. Passages were commonplace. I was often jumped when I walked to and from school. Escaping this level of purgatory for the earthly goods of mid-American capitalism was no small feat. Many of my friends were involved in gangs. I never joined them – I was too scared. My father did his best to keep me off the streets, protecting himself and his family from the horrors outside our door. He had several pistols. The Glock rested in his bedside dresser. The shotgun lay on top of a stack of Maxim magazines at the top of the cabinet.

Most of the people in my neighborhood had firearms: many leftists act as if the only supporters of firearms in the US are rednecks preparing for a race war. But the black and brown communities also have many gun rights advocates. They are not NRA members and don’t march in magician hats to defend gun laws after school shootings, but they exist. As an adult still living on a Texas block, albeit gentrified, I still keep a shotgun in my closet. Growing up in poverty is a disease that can never be fully cured. I only touched my weapon once, when I was returning home. I hope it stays that way. I don’t take out a gun. And if I did, it wouldn’t be on Instagram Live, which Morant, an incredibly talented young NBA player, has done…twice.

The latest incident – and there have been many disturbing stories surrounding Morant – occurred on Sunday, when a video surfaced of him driving with friends and rapping along with NBA YoungBoy. So far so innocent. But at some point, Morant is seen holding a gun. Shortly thereafter, the Memphis Grizzlies announced that they had suspended Morant from any basketball-related activity. His lucrative sponsorship deals, including a deal with Nike, could be in jeopardy, and his previous suspension from another gun-related incident in March. could well have cost him a salary of $40 million. He may have violated the NBA’s CBA, which prohibits players from owning firearms “of any type” in many situations. It also states that players must notify their teams of firearms and provide proof of registration, which gives NBA Commissioner Adam Silver the power to fine and suspend players for “behavior that is detrimental to the Association.”

But since Tennessee is an open carry state, Morant did nothing illegal under state law. And many have correctly pointed out the hypocrisy of the right-wing media that criticizes Moran but fails to condemn white Republicans displaying their firearms in public (sometimes with children in tow). Clearly, the idea of ​​a black man owning or brandishing a gun, regardless of setting or state, is a frightening idea for anyone, regardless of political affiliation.

There are other reasons to give Morant a break. Some reports of his behavior mentioned alcohol abuse. In an interview with ESPN in March with Jalen Rose now looking like a PR stunt, he said he was coping with anxiety and stress. In fact, he attributed his recent behavior to these mental and emotional issues. I felt sympathy for Morant as I also struggle with extreme anxiety and depression. Luckily, I take medication, as mental problems are genetically linked to both sides of my family history. Next month will be a year of sobriety. I had to cut alcohol out of my life in order to regain control over my vices and addictions. It would be understandable if Morant also struggled with anxiety. Sure, he’s got millions of dollars, but he’s also under heavy media scrutiny as arguably the best young American player in a league where many of the biggest stars are now out of the States (only one player on the All-NBA first team in this year from the United States.).

I also know where Morant came from. He grew up in a stable home with two parents in Sumter, South Carolina: his father, a former basketball player, taught his son the game. It is a great honor for him that his father cheers for him from the courts at every home game. I know how meaningful this can be because my dad watches every episode of the show. I am the co-host of the Knicks podcast.. He also reads every NBA article I write. But Sumter, like South Dallas, isn’t exactly Bel Air. twice as high as the national averageAnd average household income is less than two-thirds of the US median. Thankfully, Morant stayed away from the violence and the legal system as he grew up, and was eventually selected by the Grizzlies with the 3rd overall pick in the 2019 draft.

Having said all that, it’s obvious that Morant is acting out. You can even say that at 23 he behaves like his age. He had already been suspended by the NBA for displaying a gun on Instagram Live, and he soon decided to do it again. But there are many, many NBA players who grew up under tougher conditions than Morant, including LeBron James, and got away with nothing.

Like many young people in the US, Morant associates guns with toughness. Especially if you haven’t seen the consequences of what a weapon can do personally to friends and even enemies: it becomes just a symbol, not a weapon. If someone attacked Morant, he would surely have an army of friends and hangers-on to protect him. He wouldn’t even have to pull the trigger if it came down to it. It’s a “luxury” to have people drive for you. But Morant endangers himself and those around him. Some of the friends I grew up with died from gang violence. Others are still living the lifestyle they started at 17 and rotting in cyclical violence 20 years later. Many got addicted to drugs and went bankrupt. Some survived, but not many. I count my blessings as one of them.

The image that Morant demonstrates to his followers and fans is that of a man on the verge of violence. It’s an image that doesn’t come from the scars of past self-defense. He does not continue the legacy of gang warfare. It’s not illegal to spend an evening with friends at a strip club or go for a drive with friends in a car with an open gun. But in the context of his behavior in recent months, it’s not about what’s legal and what’s not. It’s about optics. Especially the optics that Morant promotes masculinity, resilience and the use of weapons. And what do those who watch, especially the youngest and most vulnerable among them, see.

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Dan Snyder and Josh Harris reach agreement to sell Washington Commanders



Washington Commanders is one step closer to new owners.

On Friday afternoon, the organization and a group of potential buyers, led by Josh Harris, announced a sale agreement. The potential new ownership group is led by Harris, owner and founder of Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment (HBSE), which currently owns and operates two other professional sports franchises: New Jersey DevilsAnd Philadelphia 76ers.

Other members of the new potential owner group are Mitch Rales, David Blitzer and Magic Johnson.

Interested parties released joint statement on Friday.

“On behalf of our entire ownership group, including Mitch Rales, my longtime sports business partner David Blitzer and Ervin Magic Johnson, I want to express how excited we are that the NFL considers us the next owners of the Washington Commanders and how committed we are to providing this city with and his fans a championship-level franchise,” Harris said.

“Growing up in Chevy Chase, I’ve experienced first hand the excitement around the team, including its three Super Bowl wins and years of winning culture,” he added. “We look forward to the official approval of our NFL ownership in the coming months and the opportunity to serve as responsible and accountable stewards of the Commanders franchise going forward.”

Current co-owners Dan and Tanya Snyder said the following:

“We are thrilled to have reached an agreement to sell the Commanders franchise with Josh Harris, a local native, and his impressive group of partners. We look forward to completing this transaction as soon as possible and will support Josh and the team in the coming years.”

Dan Snyder bought the franchise in 1999 for $800 million. The reported price of commanders is $6.05 billion, record. This exceeds the previous record of $4.65 billion set by the Rob Walton Group. Denver Broncos a year ago.

The deal must be approved by a vote of the current owners of the league, 24 votes are required for approval. spring league appointment at the end of the month.

According to an update from Jan Rapoport from NFL network owners will receive an update on the potential sale at the May meeting late Friday afternoon. If the sale is not ready for a final vote, the owners will meet later:

Snyder maintained for a long time that he would not sell the team, but ongoing investigations by both the league and Congress into the working environment within the organization led him to sell the franchise. A congressional investigation found that Snyder was responsible for creating a toxic work environment, and many investigations into the work environment of commanders and litigation against season ticket holders led some owners, most notably Jim Irsay, to suggest it. maybe it’s time to take out snyder.

Following this offer by Irsay, it was announced that the Sniders were looking into a possible sale of the Commanders.

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