Former NBA Commissioner Stern dies
NEW YORK (AP) — It’s not a tremendous stretch to say that David Stern took the NBA from the brink of extinction and turned it into one of the world’s most popular leagues.
The former NBA commissioner has died at age 77, less than three weeks after undergoing emergency surgery for a brain hemorrhage. Stern had been involved with the NBA for nearly two decades before he became its fourth commissioner on Feb. 1, 1984. By the time he left his position exactly 30 years later, the league had grown to a more than $5 billion a year industry and made NBA basketball perhaps the world's most popular sport after soccer.
Before Stern, there was labor strife that threatened to mar the NBA. Some weeknight NBA Finals games were often broadcast after the 11pm news rather than live in prime time.
Stern was in charge while the league turned countless ballplayers into celebrities who were known around the globe by one name: Magic, Michael, Kobe, LeBron, just to name a few. Stern oversaw the birth of seven new franchises and the creation of the WNBA and NBA Development League.
Under Stern, the NBA would play nearly 150 international games and be televised in more than 200 countries and territories, and in more than 40 languages.
Knicks spoil Melo’s return to Garden
UNDATED (AP) — Carmelo Anthony received a warm reception in his return to Madison Square Garden, but the New York Knicks spoiled his homecoming.
Anthony scored a season-high 26 points and was cheered before and during the game at the arena where he played 6 1/2 seasons. However, he was on the bench as the Knicks began a 14-0 run in the fourth quarter of a 117-93 rout of the Trail Blazers.
Mitchell Robinson made all 11 shots and had 22 points in New York’s season-high third straight win. Julius Randle added 22 points and 13 rebounds for the Knicks, who held Damian Lillard to 11 points on 5 of 20 shooting.
Checking out Wednesday’s other NBA action:
— Orlando ended a four-game road losing streak as D.J. Augustin scored a season-high 25 points and Nicola Vucevic (VOO’-she-vihch) added 20 with 12 rebounds in the Magic’s 122-101 trouncing of the Wizards. Evan Fournier had 18 points and Markelle Fultz provided 16 for a team that entered the game with the league’s worst offense. Wizards guard Bradley Beal had 27 points in his first game since missing two straight with a sore right leg.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL-SCHEDULE-BOWL GAMES
Tide, Gophers get bowl wins
UNDATED (AP) — Alabama was among the favorites to reach the CFP semifinals when the college football season began, but a pair of late-season losses and an injury to quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (TOO’-ah tuhng-ah-vy-LOH’-ah) dropped them out of contention. The disappointment didn’t cause the Crimson Tide from suffering a letdown before their bowl game on Wednesday.
Mac Jones threw for three touchdowns and ninth-ranked Alabama capped an 11-2 season by blasting No. 17 Michigan, 35-16 in the Citrus Bowl. Jerry Jeudy (JOO’-dee) became the first Alabama player to top 200 receiving yards in a bowl game as he accounted for six receptions for 204 yards and a TD.
DeVonta Smith and Miller Forristall added touchdown grabs while the Crimson Tide outscored the Wolverines, 21-0 in the second half.
In other New Year’s Day bowl finals:
— Justin Herbert scored his third rushing touchdown of the day on a thrilling 30-yard run with 7:41 to play, pushing seventh-ranked Oregon to a 28-27 victory over No. 11 Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl. Brady Breeze returned the first of his two fumble recoveries 31 yards for an early touchdown and used the second to set up Herbert’s go-ahead TD and help the Ducks finish 12-2. Jonathan Taylor rushed for 94 yards and Quintez Cephus caught seven passes for 59 yards and a score. But the Badgers lost despite controlling the ball for over 38 minutes and outgaining the Ducks, 322-204.
— No. 16 Minnesota earned a 31-24 victory over ninth-ranked Auburn in the Outback Bowl as Tyler Johnson had 12 receptions for 204 yards and two touchdowns. Johnson became the Golden Gophers’ career leader in receiving yards while Tanner Morgan completed 19 of 29 passes for 278 yards, two scores and one interception. Receiver Seth Green tossed a 1-yard touchdown pass to Bryce Witham on fourth-and-inches midway through the second quarter.
Jones to forego final years at Notre Dame for NFL draft
UNDATED (AP) — Running back Tony Jones Jr. has become the second player for No. 14 Notre Dame to forego his final year of eligibility to enter the NFL draft.
Jones ran for 135 yards on 11 carries as the Irish cruised to victory in the Camping World Bowl on Saturday. He finished with a team-leading 857 yards with six touchdowns in 12 games despite missing the Virginia Tech game with a rib injury.
In other college football news:
— Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (TOO’-ah tuhng-ah-vy-LOH’-ah) said on Twitter that he will announce Jan. 6 whether he will enter the NFL draft or return to college for another season. Tagovailoa is recovering from season-ending hip surgery and has not played since being injured at Mississippi State on Nov. 16. He seemed a likely top-five NFL draft pick before the injury made his value more uncertain, though doctors who have treated him have said a full recovery is expected.
Perfect game hurler Larsen dies
NEW YORK (AP) — The only man to throw a perfect game in the World Series has died.
Don Larsen was in Idaho when he died of esophageal cancer Wednesday at age 90. He was 81-91 during a pitching career that spanned seven major league clubs from 1953-67. His major league record made him an unlikely choice to throw a perfect game in the 1956 World Series against the Brooklyn Dodgers. The 97-pitch gem came after he was pulled by manager Casey Stengel in the second inning of Game 2 days earlier.
Stars rally to beat Preds 4-2 in Winter Classic at Cotton
DALLAS (AP) — The gametime temperature was a balmy 55 degrees for the NHL’s annual New Year’s outdoor scrum, but it took the Dallas Stars almost two full periods to warm up.
The Stars scored four times in a 7:43 span bridging the second and third periods to turn a 2-0 deficit into a 4-2 victory over the Nashville Predators in the Winter Classic at the Cotton Bowl. Blake Comeau (KOH’-moh) began the rally late in the second before Mattias Janmark and Alexander Radulov (RAD’-yoo-lahv) provided power-play goals during the first 5:06 of the third. Janmark also assisted on Andrej Sekera’s (AHN’-dray she-KEHR’-uhz) insurance goal and Ben Bishop finished with 31 saves, blanking the Predators over the final 52 minutes.
Roman Josi (YOH’-see) assisted on power-play goals by Matt Duchene (doo-SHAYN’) and Dante Fabbro early in the contest. Those goals followed an elbowing penalty on Corey Perry, who was ejected.
The Stars earned their third straight win and sent the Predators to their third consecutive loss.
The game drew the second-largest crowd for an NHL game at 85,630 fans in the historic college football stadium.
Redskins hire Rivera as coach
UNDATED (AP) — The Washington Redskins have hired Ron Rivera as their coach in owner Dan Snyder's latest step to try to turn around the wayward franchise.
The former Carolina Panthers coach quickly emerged as the Redskins' top candidate and inherits a team that went 3-13 this season and hasn't made the playoffs since 2015. Rivera’s hiring comes just three days after Washington completed its schedule and two days after Snyder fired team president Bruce Allen following a decade of futility.
Rivera spent eight-plus seasons with the Panthers and was fired with the team sitting 5-7 this season. He went 76-63-1 with Carolina, making the playoffs four times and reaching the Super Bowl after the 2015 season.
In other NFL news:
— The Eagles have placed three-time Pro Bowl right guard Brandon Brooks and defensive end Daeshon Hall on injured reserve and signed wide receiver Shelton Gibson and running back Elijah Holyfield. The moves come as the NFC East champions prepare to host the Seahawks in Sunday’s NFC wild-card round.
Aztecs, Shockers win
UNDATED (AP) — San Diego State and Wichita State were the only top-25 teams in action on New Year’s Day, and both came away victorious.
The 13th-ranked Aztecs got past Fresno State, 61-52 as Malachi Flynn scored 16 points and Matt Mitchell had 15. Mitchell had three big baskets in the second half in his first start of the season. Flynn scored his 1,000th career point as SDSU improved to 14-0 overall and 3-0 in the Mountain West.
Erik Stevenson scored 10 of his 17 points in the second half to help the 24th-ranked Shockers pull out a 75-69 victory against East Carolina. Jamarius Burton had 15 points for Wichita State while Tyson Etienne and Trey Wade added 11 each.
The Shockers improved to 12-1 despite Jayden Gardner, who torched them for 20 of his 29 points after halftime for the Pirates.