November 22, 2012

Sentinel News Service

 

Councilmembers Bernard C. Parks and Jan Perry declared November 14, 2012 Dwight Howard Day in the city of Los Angeles.  Parks and Perry hosted a special event at City Hall where they presented Dwight Howard an official 6' 10" city resolution (Dwight's height) with the help of surprise guest, Snoop Lion (formerly Snoop Dogg). The Cren­shaw Choir sang and city staff members looked on as Parks and Perry welcomed Howard to the city of Los Angeles.

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November 22, 2012

The legendary Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (center) was roasted in a celebrity roast hosted by George Lopez on Saturday, November 17 at LA Live. The roast benefited the Skyhook Foundation and was attended by a who's who of celebrities including legendary basketball friends, Dr. J. Julius Irving, Magic Johnson, Bill Watson, Norm Nixon, Kurt Rambis. Jamaal Wilkes and AC Green. Here, Kareem ends the night with a group shot of some of those who spent time on stage roasting the icon for a sold-out crowd. For more information go to www.kareemabduljabbar.com.

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November 22, 2012

By TOM COYNE 

Associated Press

 

Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly believes Everett Golson is ready for what awaits him at Southern California.

He believes the 6-0, 185-pound sophomore quarterback who did not play as a freshman is ready. Ready for the pressure of leading the Fighting Irish (11-0) on the field ranked No. 1 for the first time in 19 years. Ready for a rivalry game that has been dominated over the past decade by USC (7-4). Ready to help Notre Dame advance to the BCS title game with a win.

Kelly said he bases that opinion by the maturity Golson has shown as he’s improved throughout the season, playing in tough venues such as Michigan State and Oklahoma and rallying the Irish from a two-touchdown deficit in the fourth quarter against Pittsburgh to a triple-overtime victory.

“All of those things go into Saturday and all of those will be positives for him going into the USC game,” Kelly said.

Golson said he is feeling more comfortable because of all he’s learned and he has learned to manage the clock better so he doesn’t have to rush each play.

“I think I’ve progressed a lot,” he said.

Golson keeps doing a lot more of the little things right and it's leading to more big plays for the Irish. He waited until the last second to pitch the ball to set up Cierre Wood’s 68-yard touchdown run on the fourth play against Wake Forest. He had TD passes of 50 and 34 yards against Wake Forest, and the second came after a nice pump fake.

Slowly, Golson has turned what had been an at-best average offense into one that opponents are increasingly having trouble slowing down.

“He’s a guy that makes explosive plays,” Kelly said. “He’s got the ability to throw it. He can run the football. He’s elusive. I think we’re seeing a guy that’s growing each and every week.”

Through Notre Dame’s first five games, Golson was 67-of-111 passing for 827 yards with three touchdown passes and three interceptions, with a pass efficiency rating of 126.46. He also had run for 40 yards on 27 carries.

In the last five games, after sitting out against BYU with a concussion, Golson is 84-of-145 passing for 1,091 yards with eight touchdowns and two interceptions, a pass efficiency rating completion rate of 136.58. He’s also run for 202 yards on 53 carries — and that includes just one carry in the win over Wake Forest.

The Irish have improved during that span from 71st in the nation in total offense, averaging 398.4 yards a game, to 50th, averaging 419.7.

“He’s definitely on the right path to providing us the offense that we need,” Kelly said.

The coach admitted he hasn’t run Golson as much as he'd like because he still needs to get stronger.

“He still needs another coat of armor on him. He needs another year in the weight room and he needs to get thicker. We want to be judicious when we run him,” Kelly said. “We’ve got to run him. He’s better when he runs, physically and mentally. He loves to run.”

Golson is the fourth quarterback in Notre Dame history to start his career with nine straight victories. He would have 10 straight if he hadn't been benched the first three plays against Miami. The school record is 11 wins by Bob Williams during the national championship season of 1949.

Last week, the focus was working on footwork and communicating with teammates, calling plays and then checking into different plays. Kelly had Golson watching film of Peyton Manning and other quarterbacks.

“Manning is probably one of the great communicators, his ability to get into plays and check and do it efficiently,” Kelly said. “We try to use some of the greats to show some things that could be helpful.”

As for the pressure of playing at USC with Notre Dame eager to win its first national championship since 1988, Golson said he’s taking the same attitude he’s taken all year of focusing on the opponent and not worrying about the big picture.

“As far as I’m concerned, my head is down, my foot’s on the gas, I’m never going to look up and lose focus,” he said. “My thing is just keep your head down and keep pushing it.”

 

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November 22, 2012

Associated Press

 

Memphis Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph has been fined $25,000 by the NBA for confronting Oklahoma City's Kendrick Perkins following both their ejections in a game last week.

The fine was announced Monday by Stu Jackson, the league’s executive vice president of basketball operations.

Randolph and Perkins were each ejected for an altercation with 2:05 remaining in the fourth quarter of Memphis’ 107-97 win in Oklahoma City on November 14. Perkins and Randolph confronted each other between Russell Westbrook’s free throw attempts and were both tossed.

The two tried to approach each other while being restrained by teammates before finally heading out tunnels at opposite ends of Chesapeake Energy Arena. Randolph then talked to Perkins near the locker room, drawing the fine.

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November 15, 2012

By LARRY LAGE 

Associated Press

Hall of Fame trainer Emanuel Steward was celebrated by boxing royalty and the Queen of Soul at a star-studded memorial service Tuesday November 13 in the Motor City.

Steward, the man who made the Kronk Gym famous, died of colon cancer last month at the age of 68.

His family took its time to plan a memorial befitting a beloved public figure — and it was a hit.

Champions he trained — including Thomas Hearns, Lennox Lewis, Wladimir Klitschko and Evander Holyfield — one he worked out only briefly — Sugar Ray Leonard — and another he didn’t train at all — Roy Jones Jr. — all paid their respects.

“What a spectacular turnout of support,” HBO Sports commentator Jim Lampley said. “Over here, you have a section that I would call the Hall of Fame section. You would have to go to Canastota (N.Y.) in midsummer to the Hall of Fame to see anything even remotely approaching this group.

“There are five legitimate heavyweight champions sitting in the first two rows and the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world.”

And if that wasn’t impressive enough, Aretha Franklin sang a stirring rendition of “I’ll Fly Away” in front of a few thousand witnesses at Greater Grace Temple. Franklin, a friend of Steward’s in Detroit for decades, said she wouldn’t have missed the memorial for anything.

“He had a million-dollar smile you couldn’t deny,” Franklin told The Associated Press from her front-row seat. “I’m so glad he made the Kronk Gym what it was, helping countless young boys become men and many amateurs become champions.”

The city closed the original Kronk Recreation Center — a hot, sweaty basement gym — after vandals stole its copper piping in 2006. It was allowed to remain open, but it put Steward in a difficult financial situation and he later rented space at a gym in Dearborn so his young fighters could train.

Now, there isn’t a Kronk Gym anywhere — and his family is hoping to change that.

“We closed it after he passed, but we’re going to restructure it and we want it done correctly,” Sylvia Steward-Williams told The AP, sitting in her father’s second-floor office at his brick home on Detroit’s west side. “We want to get a good foundation, like it was in the beginning, and build it back up.”

Steward, who was born in West Virginia in 1944 and moved 11 years later to the Motor City, trained boxers born and raised in Detroit such as Hearns. He was hired by boxers from all over the globe.

Lewis was trained by Steward from 1994 to 2004, a period that included victories over Holyfield and Mike Tyson.

“I’ve been interviewed by a lot of TV stations around the world, they have put Emanuel Steward a league of great trainers,” Lewis said. “And I say he is the greatest trainer that ever lived.”

Steward was an accomplished amateur boxer who chose to become a coach in the ring, starting in 1971 with a part-time position at Kronk for $35 per week.

Hearns put the gym — and the trainer affectionately called Manny — on the map. Hearns was the first man to win titles in four divisions and he won five overall.

The boxer known as Hitman lost some of his most famous bouts. Hearns was knocked out in the 14th round by Leonard in 1981 — a fight that Steward later said was the most painful experience of his life — and was on the short end of a three-round fight with Marvin Hagler in 1985 that is considered one of the best bouts in history.

On an emotional day, which started in the morning with family, close friends and former fighters gathering at two homes Steward owned, Hearns was so overcome with emotion when he stepped up to the pulpit that he had to step back, wipe tears off his cheeks and gather himself.

“If it wasn’t for Emanuel Steward, it would be very difficult to be where I am today,” Hearns said. "He wasn’t just a trainer to me, he was like a dad."

Jones was trained by his father, and he told the AP he wished his mother hadn't talked him out of hiring Steward to be his trainer when he turned pro.

When Jones got behind the microphone at the memorial, he compared Steward to Michael Jordan and Barry Sanders — one-of-a-kind talents that can’t be replaced — and said he has always carried a red-and-yellow Kronk Gym bag to every fight.

“There was no other gym on the planet that produced that much talent,” he said. “I may not be a Kronk fighter by contact, but by heart I am.”

Steward suffered cardiac arrest while he was hospitalized near Chicago last month, and it proved too much to overcome as he also fought cancer. Just three days after retaining his three heavyweight titles in Germany, Klitschko traveled to Detroit with fresh bruises and cuts on his face to honor Steward, his trainer and friend.

“Emanuel Steward lives in the hearts of each of us,” he said. "Not just the people present in this room — the people around the world.”

Klits­chko’s new trainer is fellow heavyweight Johnathon Banks, a Detroit native who was trained by Steward. When Banks arrived at Steward’s house on Tuesday, Sylvia Steward-Williams hugged him and shared four words that left him in awe.

“It’s your time now,” the trainer’s eldest daughter whispered in his ear.

“I never expected that to come out of her mouth, especially to me,” he said softly. “But those are shoes that will never be filled. There’s no replacement for Emanuel. I’m just pouring water on the seed he already planted.”

A private dinner and party in Detroit followed the service.

 

 

 

 

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AP Photo/Carlos Osorio

A poster honoring boxing trainer Emanuel Steward and the boxers he trained is seen in the trainer’s office in Detroit.

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