Basketball legend Wes Unseld has died

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The Washington Wizards mourn the passing of franchise and NBA legend Wes Unseld. Universally considered the greatest player in franchise history, Unseld led the then-Bullets to the NBA Championship in 1978. He was 74 years old.

“On behalf of the Wizards organization and the entire MSE Family, I would like to extend our deepest sympathies and condolences to the Unseld family, including his wife Connie, daughter Kimberly, son Wes Jr. and his two grandchildren as well as his large number of extended family and friends,” said Chairman & CEO of Monumental Sports & Entertainment Ted Leonsis. “We all admired Wes as the pillar of this franchise for so long, but it was his work off the court that will truly leave an impactful legacy and live on through the many people he touched and influenced throughout his life of basketball and beyond.”

Unseld was drafted by the Baltimore Bullets with the second overall pick in 1968 out of Louisville, where he finished his senior season as a consensus All-American selection. In his first season in Baltimore in 1968-69, Unseld turned the Bullets around by leading them to 21 more victories than the year prior and the team’s first ever playoff appearance. His 13.8 point, 18.2 rebound per game averages in his first season earned him Rookie of the Year and MVP Honors, making him just one of two players in league history (along with Wilt Chamberlain) to win both awards in the same season.

“Those of us who were fortunate enough to spend time with Wes knew him as a generous and thoughtful man whose strong will was matched only by his passion and drive for uplifting others,” said Wizards General Manager Tommy Sheppard. “His physical prowess, undeniable talent and on-court demeanor may have struck fear in opponents throughout the NBA but he will be remembered best as a mentor, leader and friend.”

The 6-7 center was the rock of the Bullets’ success in the 70’s, spending his entire 13-year career with the team. Unseld helped lead Baltimore to five consecutive playoff appearances and continued the streak when the team moved to Washington in 1973. In all, the Bullets would make 12 straight playoff appearances during his career, including four Finals trips and the franchise’s championship run in 1978, when they defeated the Seattle Supersonics in seven games to take the ring. Unseld was voted Finals MVP, averaging 9.0 points, 11.7 rebounds and 3.9 assists during the championship series.

“Wes was truly a gentle giant,” said Phil Chenier. “His scowl could be intimidating but really he was a kind, thoughtful and protective comrade. Wes is the epitome of a great teammate, team leader and friend.”

A five-time All-Star selection, Unseld appeared in a franchise-record 984 games, averaging 10.8 points, 14.0 rebounds and 3.9 assists over his career. Despite being undersized at the center position, Unseld was known for his relentlessness in the paint and bruising nature, as well as his outlet passing and screening ability. He was inducted into The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as a player in 1988 and was voted as a top 50 player in league history in 1996. Unseld’s number 41 jersey was retired in 1981 and is currently one of five jerseys hanging in the rafters at Capital One Arena.

“I lost a great friend and teammate this morning who went 十大玩彩信誉平台 to Christ,” said Elvin Hayes. “Know we all had great love for both you and your family always my friend.”

Following his retirement in 1981, Unseld immediately moved into a front office role with the Bullets, first serving as vice president of the team from 1981-87. In 1988, Unseld took over as head coach, leading an 8-19 team to a 30-25 finish and trip to the playoffs. Unseld coached until 1994, winning 202 games – the second-most by a coach in franchise history. Unseld returned to a front office position in 1996, serving as General Manager until 2003 (excluding a brief one-year stint as Michael Jordan took over the duties).

“Wes was a true champion whose contributions in the Baltimore and Washington communities will affect generations,” said Executive Director of the Bullets & Wizards Alumni Association Bobby Dandridge.

Unseld’s career and accomplishments span off the court as well, as he and his wife, Connie, opened the Unselds’ School in Baltimore in 1978. The school is one of the few fully-accredited, black-owned, non-church-affiliated elementary schools in Maryland, with Connie serving as the principal, his daughter, Kim, serving as one of the primary teachers at the school, and Wes occasionally serving as the bus driver. Unseld’s son, Wes Unseld Jr., currently serves as the lead assistant coach with the Denver Nuggets.

“Robert, Jim and I are heartbroken,” said Irene Pollin. “Since 1968, Wes was the broad shoulders upon which our team was built, and his Hall of Fame career and the championship that he helped bring our city speaks for itself. But for us, the loss of Wes is more than that. He and the Unselds are family to us, and when you lose a family member – especially a beloved figure like Wes – the sorrow is unfathomable. We extend our prayers to Connie, Kim, Wes, Jr. and the entire Unseld family. We love you and we loved Wes with all of our hearts.”

STATEMENT FROM THE UNSELD FAMILY

It is with profound sadness that we share that our adored husband, father and grandfather Wes Unseld passed away peacefully this morning surrounded by family following lengthy health battles, most recently with pneumonia. He was the rock of our family – an extremely devoted patriarch who reveled in being with his wife, children, friends and teammates. He was our hero and loved playing and working around the game of basketball for the cities of Baltimore and Washington D.C., cities he proudly wore on his chest for so many years.

His legacy lives on in the family he treasured – his daughter Kim, son Wes, daughter-in-law Evelyn, grandchildren Layla and Wes and the love of his life for 50 years, his wife Connie – and in the community through the Unselds’ School, where the entire family contributed to enriching the lives of Baltimore’s youth.

We would like to thank everyone who knew and loved him, personally and professionally, for their support during this loss. We will share information in the near future about how we will celebrate Wes’ incredible life.

At this time, the family would appreciate privacy as we navigate this difficult loss. In lieu of flowers, we ask that donations be made to the Unselds’ School using the following link: http://monumentalsports.formstack.com/forms/wesunseldschool.

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With Neil Funk soon to retire, Bulls hire Adam Amin as new TV play-by-play broadcaster

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In Chicago Bulls news, the team has hired Adam Amin as their new primary TV play-by-play broadcaster.

Amin will succeed Neil Funk, who is retiring his headset when the 2019-20 NBA regular season ends.

Alongside Amin will be Bulls TV analyst Stacey King on the exclusive 十大玩彩信誉平台 of Bulls basketball, NBC Sports Chicago, starting in the 购彩信誉平台-21 season.

“We knew replacing Neil would not be an easy task, but as we got to know Adam over the last two seasons and became even more familiar with his work, he rose to become our top choice,” said team President and COO Michael Reinsdorf. “Adam knows our fans because he grew up a Bulls fan. That was important to us. We wanted to find someone who not only had the talent, but who also understood our history and the role the Bulls play in the lives of our city and our fans. When he and Stacey worked together, we received so much positive feedback that I know our fans are going to really enjoy the work of this new broadcast duo. Adam brings strong credentials to this role, as well as an energy, charisma and innate storytelling ability that help him immediately connect with his audience whether he’s behind a microphone, at an event or on social media. He’s a perfect fit as our new TV play-by-play announcer to call the next generation of Bulls games, and we’re thrilled that he’s joining the Bulls family.”

“Adam is a rising star in the sports broadcasting industry and, even though he will have big shoes to fill in replacing a legend like Neil, he will be an excellent addition to our Bulls telecasts beginning next season,” added Kevin Cross, Senior Vice President/General Manager, NBC Sports Chicago. “Adam is a proud Chicagoan who has a deep understanding of the team’s history and the enormous impact they have on their local, national and global fan base. We look forward to having Adam on our team.”

“The experience of filling in for Mr. Funk gave me a glimpse of what it’s like to work with such an exceptional group of professionals inside the Bulls organization and NBC Sports Chicago,” said Amin. “To have the privilege of joining the Chicago Bulls broadcast team is way beyond a dream coming true. The little kid sitting on the floor of his parents’ basement watching Bulls games could never have imagined this. I am absolutely ecstatic and truly grateful to the organization for trusting me with this opportunity.”

Amin is starting his first season as a play-by-play announcer for FOX Sports’ NFL and MLB coverage, and he will continue in this role while serving as the lead TV voice for the Bulls. For Bulls games that Amin is absent, a substitute Bulls play-by-play announcer will be assigned.

Before joining FOX, Amin spent nine years at ESPN where he covered a multitude of high-profile sports and events across multiple mediums.

Dallas Mavericks practice facility will open May 28

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The Dallas Mavericks, in compliance with NBA guidance and working closely with team medical professionals, will open their practice facility for voluntary player workouts beginning Thursday, May 28.

Mavericks players may choose to access the practice facility as per protocols established by the NBA and local health officials.

All Mavericks facilities remain closed to non-essential staff, media and the public until further notice.

Knicks hire Brock Aller, Walt Perrin and Frank Zanin; sign Scott Perry to extension

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The New York Knicks made following hirings today: Brock Aller as vice president, basketball and strategic planning, Walt Perrin as assistant general manager in college scouting, and Frank Zanin as assistant general manager in pro scouting.

The Knicks also signed general manager Scott Perry to extension, through the 购彩信誉平台-21 season.

“We have assembled a diverse front office comprised of highly regarded and experienced basketball executives who have influenced some of the most successful players and organizations in the league,” Knicks President Leon Rose said. “These additions will complement the structure we already have in place and assist us in acquiring talent and developing strategies to build a team our fans can be proud of.”

Per the New York Post, “the hirings of Aller, Perrin and Zanin puts the futures of current basketball operations staffers Gerald Madkins, Harold Ellis and capologist Michael Arcieri in serious doubt. Their contracts expire in August and all were hired by Perry — with Ellis known as a key hard-working facilitator in trade talks. It is all but assured player developmental chief Craig Robinson is on the way out too. Robinson was added by former president Steve Mills as they are both former Princeton teammates.”

Aller joins the Knicks after spending seven seasons with the Cleveland Cavaliers in various roles. After four seasons as the team’s senior director, strategic planning, he was named senior director of basketball operations for the Cavaliers in July 2017. Aller played a key front office role in the Cavaliers 2016 NBA Championship run, which ended Cleveland’s major league championship drought after 52 years. Prior to his time in Cleveland, Aller spent nine years (2005-14) in Detroit working directly with Dan Gilbert and Cavaliers ownership as a liaison and advisor on business and basketball operations.

Perrin joins the Knicks after spending 19 seasons with the Utah Jazz, the last 12 years as vice president of player personnel. Perrin’s responsibilities included evaluating players on all levels and assisting the general manager with potential player acquisitions. Perrin assisted the Jazz in drafting All-Stars such as Gordon Hayward, Paul Millsap and Deron Williams. He also acquired All-Stars Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell in separate draft day trades with the Denver Nuggets. During Perrin’s tenure, Utah won three divisional titles and qualified for the playoffs nine times, including a trip to the Western Conference Finals in 2006-07. Prior to joining the Jazz, Perrin spent time with the Detroit Pistons (1993-02) and Minnesota Timberwolves (1991-93) in various roles including assistant coach and director of scouting.

Zanin joins the Knicks after three years as a pro scout with the Oklahoma City Thunder. He previously served as the assistant general manager for the Brooklyn Nets (2013-16), where he began his tenure with the team as a pro personnel scout (2010-12) and then director of player procurement (2012-13). In his four seasons with Brooklyn/New Jersey the Nets qualified for the playoffs three times. Prior to joining the Nets, he spent nine seasons with the Philadelphia 76ers in a variety of roles including video intern (1999-00), video coordinator (2000-03), advance scout/assistant coach (2003-06) and pro personnel scout (2006-08). During his tenure with Philadelphia the 76ers made the playoffs six times including advancing to the NBA Finals in 2001.

Pro sports teams in New York now allowed to hold training camps

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Normal life in and out of sports has been largely put on hold during the coronavirus pandemic. Here’s the reporting some New York state-wide news:

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s push to get professional sports going again in New York took another step forward Sunday.

Cuomo said during a press conference at Jones Beach Theater in Wantagh that as of Sunday, professional sports leagues can begin holding training camps in New York, as leagues work on their plans to resume play amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“Starting today, all the New York professional sports leagues will be able to begin training camps,” Cuomo said.

Such re-openings need to be done carefully and methodically. Of course, pro sports teams know this, and have been preparing and planning for a while now.

Former NBA All-Star and legendary Jazz coach Jerry Sloan has died

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The Utah Jazz have issued the following statement and background information in response to the passing of NBA and Jazz legend Jerry Sloan earlier this morning due to complications from Parkinson’s disease and Lewy body dementia at the age of 78:

From the Utah Jazz:

“Jerry Sloan will always be synonymous with the Utah Jazz. He will forever be a part of the Utah Jazz organization and we join his family, friends and fans in mourning his loss. We are so thankful for what he accomplished here in Utah and the decades of dedication, loyalty and tenacity he brought to our franchise.

“Our Hall of Fame coach for 23 years, Jerry had a tremendous impact on the Jazz franchise as expressed by his banner hanging in the arena rafters. His 1,223 Jazz coaching wins, 20 trips to the NBA Playoffs and two NBA Finals appearances are remarkable achievements. His hard-nosed approach only made him more beloved. Even after his retirement, his presence at Jazz games always brought a roaring response from the crowd.

“Like Stockton and Malone as players, Jerry Sloan epitomized the organization. He will be greatly missed. We extend our heartfelt condolences to his wife, Tammy, the entire Sloan family and all who knew and loved him.”

From the Miller Family:

“It was an honor and a privilege to have one of the greatest and most respected coaches in NBA history coaching our team. We have appreciated our relationship with Jerry and acknowledge his dedication to and passion for the Utah Jazz. He has left an enduring legacy with this franchise and our family. The far-reaching impact of his life has touched our city, state and the world as well as countless players, staff and fans. We pray his family will find solace and comfort in Jerry’s life. The Miller family and Jazz organization will be proud to honor him with a permanent tribute.”

Background:

A 2009 inductee into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, Sloan spent 23 seasons as the head coach of the Jazz (1988-2011), finishing his career with the third most wins in NBA history (1,221-803), sixth best winning percentage (.603) all-time (min. 500 wins), two NBA Finals appearances (1997 and 1998) and seven division titles. He also guided the Jazz to 16 consecutive winning seasons and thirteen 50-win seasons. Sloan’s teams made 20 trips to the NBA Playoffs (19 with Utah: 1989-2003, ’07-10) and his 98 playoff wins are the sixth most in NBA history.

Sloan ranks second on the NBA’s all-time list for consecutive games coached with one franchise (1,809), and also owns the second most wins with one team (1,127). Sloan is one of just seven coaches in league history to win at least 50 games in 10 different seasons (Rick Adelman, Don Nelson, Pat Riley, Phil Jackson, Gregg Popovich and George Karl). Sloan’s 16 consecutive winning seasons (1988-2004) are fourth-most all-time (Popovich-22, Jackson-20, Riley-19) and he joined Popovich (22), Jackson (11) and Red Auerbach (11) as the only four coaches in NBA history to have 10 straight winning seasons with one team. Sloan was the first coach to ever win 1,000 games with one franchise and was the fifth coach in NBA history to record 1,000 career wins.

After leading the Jazz to a 42-40 record in 2003-04 in the first season following the departures of John Stockton and Karl Malone, Sloan was selected by The Sporting News as the NBA Coach of the Year as voted on by his NBA peers, and was runner-up for the Red Auerbach NBA Coach of the Year as voted by a panel of national media that covers the NBA. He also finished second in NBA Coach of the Year balloting in 2006-07. He was named NBA Western Conference Coach of the Month 10 times during his career. In 2016, Sloan was honored at halftime of that night’s NBA Finals Game 3 in Cleveland as the co-recipient of the Chuck Daly Lifetime Achievement Award by the National Basketball Coaches Association (along with former Celtics coach K.C. Jones).

Sloan worked for the Jazz organization for 34 years as either head coach, assistant, scout or senior basketball adviser. Sloan started with the Jazz as a scout (1983-84), became an assistant coach to Frank Layden on Nov. 19, 1984, and was named the sixth head coach in franchise history on December 9, 1988, when Layden resigned. Twenty-three seasons and 1,809 games later, Sloan finished his career as the Jazz’s winningest coach based on both wins and winning percentage (1,127-682, .623). The longest tenured coach with one franchise in all of major professional sports at the time of his retirement, there were 245 NBA head coaching changes during his Jazz coaching career. Sloan coached 133 different players during his tenure as head coach of the Jazz.

Sloan’s banner at Vivint Smart 信誉彩 arena hangs next to five of his former players whose numbers are retired: Mark Eaton (53), Darrell Griffith (35), Jeff Hornacek (14), Karl Malone (32) and John Stockton (12); his former head coach and general manager Frank Layden (1); longtime Jazz owner Larry H. Miller (9), legendary broadcaster “Hot” Rod Hundley (3051) and former Jazz players Adrian Dantley (4) and Pete Maravich (7).

A veteran of the NBA as a player and coach for more than 45 years, prior to joining the Jazz, Sloan coached the Chicago Bulls for three seasons (1979-82) and was a two-time NBA All-Star as a player (1967, 1969) over 11 NBA seasons with Chicago and Baltimore (1965-76). Sloan became the first player in Bulls’ history to have his number retired when the franchise retired his No. 4 jersey on Feb. 17, 1978.

Chicago Bulls Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf released the following statement after the passing of Jerry Sloan:

“Jerry Sloan was ‘The Original Bull’ whose tenacious defense and nightly hustle on the court represented the franchise and epitomized the city of Chicago. Jerry was the face of the Bulls organization from its inception through the mid-1970s, and very appropriately, his uniform No. 4 was the first jersey retired by the team. A great player and a Hall-of-Fame NBA coach, most importantly, Jerry was a great person. Our sympathies go out to the Sloan family and all his many fans.”

Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich issued the following statement regarding the passing of Jerry Sloan:

“It’s a sad day for all of us who knew Jerry Sloan. Not only on the basketball court but, more importantly, as a human being. He was genuine and true. And that is rare. He was a mentor for me from afar until I got to know him. A man who suffered no fools, he possessed a humor, often disguised, and had a heart as big as the prairie.”

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Bulls reportedly keeping assistant coach Nate Loenser in 购彩信誉平台-21

NBA play may be on pause, but certain organizational decisions can still be made. Per the Chicago , the Bulls will retain the services of assistant coach Nate Loenser for the 购彩信誉平台-21 season:

New executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas has been very aggressive in the revamping of the Bulls, already firing former general manager Gar Forman and head trainer Jeff Tanaka, while allowing current head coach Jim Boylen to mutually agree to part ways with assistant coach Shawn Respert.

Many are hopeful that sometime soon, perhaps in very early June, the NBA may make a decision regarding the remainder of the 2019-20 season and of course, the playoffs.

Former Sacramento columnist and Kings beat writer Marty McNeal has passed away

Tragic news in the sports media world today, as a writer every Kings fan should know has passed away after battling a brutal disease. Here’s the reporting:

Marty McNeal has passed away? Those words just don’t seem plausible because anyone who knew the former Kings beat writer for The Sacramento Bee would agree that Martin McNeal was timeless.

He was a life force. He was pure New York swagger. He was not tall but had the intellect and bravado to cut NBA players down to size with his hilariously profane style of “conversating” that was so funny, you couldn’t get mad at him even when you were his target.

McNeal died Thursday in a hospital in Dallas, where he and his family had moved recently after nearly 30 years in Sacramento. His wife Beverly and his son Phillip were at his side. McNeal was 64 and had been battling leukemia.

Kings General Manager Vlade Divac issued the following statement on the passing of McNeal, the team’s beat writer for Bee from 1992 to 2005:

“I am deeply saddened to learn about the passing of my friend Marty Mac. I’ll never forget his incredible sense of humor and he will be forever remembered as a truly iconic figure in both the Sacramento and national media landscape.

“Marty possessed a unique storytelling ability unlike any other, as he tirelessly covered our team and this franchise during countless memorable moments, including some of the best years of my career. He had a magnetic personality, fiercely loved the game and was a legendary writer that inspired and entertained readers of all ages. He was also a beloved mentor and loyal friend to many, as well as a loving husband and father who will be greatly missed.

“On behalf of the entire Kings organization, I want to express our deepest condolences to his wife Beverly, son Phillip, and the entire McNeal family as we keep them all in our hearts, thoughts and prayers during this most difficult time.”

Knicks reportedly hiring Frank Zanin as assistant GM

Here’s the New York with some Knicks news:

Leon Rose’s latest addition likely would have earned Kobe Bryant’s approval.

One day after the new Knicks president brought aboard longtime Jazz executive Walt Perrin as the assistant general manager in charge of college scouting, Rose continued his front office makeover by adding former Nets assistant general manager Frank Zanin, who will have the same title with the Knicks, focusing on pro personnel.

Zanin, who has spent the past four seasons as an advance scout for the Thunder, was endorsed by Bryant for the Nets’ GM job in 2016. Zanin and Bryant first became acquainted playing basketball in the Philadelphia-area, where Zanin’s career began as a scout for the 76ers.

And here’s New York :

Zanin most recently served as a scout for the Thunder, a role he held the last four years. Prior to that, he served a variety of roles for the Nets, joining Billy King, who he had worked for with the 76ers, as a pro personnel scout and then earning promotions to director of player procurement and then assistant general manager…

During his time with the Nets, Zanin was credited with playing a role in signing Mirza Teletovic and re-signing Deron Williams, who coincidentally was drafted by the Jazz when Perrin pushed for the Jazz to trade up to get him.

Adam Sandler will reportedly star in a basketball movie produced by LeBron James

Here’s with some basketball entertainment news:

Adam Sandler is set to star in the Netflix film Hustle, with We the Animals director Jeremiah Zagar on board to helm and NBA superstar LeBron James set to produce.

In the drama, Sandler will play an American basketball scout who is unjustly fired after discovering a once-in-a-lifetime player abroad. He then decides to bring the player to the U.S. to prove that they both have what it takes to make it in the NBA.

Taylor Materne and Will Fetters penned the script. Happy Madison, Roth/Kirschenbaum Films and James and Maverick Carter’s SpringHill Entertainment will produce the pic.

The latest collaboration between Netflix and Sandler follows the streaming giant extending its partnership with the actor and his Happy Madison Productions by committing to produce four more films that will be distributed exclusively on the platform.