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Atlanta Hawks

    Atlanta Hawks guard Jaylen Adams, originally signed to a two-way contract in the offseason, has agreed to a new full NBA deal. Adams signed the multi-year contract, announced by the team Wednesday, after averaging 1.3 points in 10 games with the Hawks. He is moving into a more prominent role after Atlanta waived veteran Jeremy Lin on Feb. 11. Lin signed with Toronto. The 6-foot-2 Adams, from St. Bonaventure, averaged 15.8 points and 6.3 assists in 19 starts with Erie in the G League. ___ More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
  • The Latest on NBA All-Star Weekend (all times local): 10:30 p.m. Oklahoma City's Hamidou Diallo is the NBA's slam dunk champion. Going over Shaquille O'Neal in the first round, then getting a boost from rapper Quavo in the finale, Diallo soared to the crown by topping New York's Dennis Smith Jr. Diallo topped Smith 88-85 in the finale. Charlotte's Miles Bridges and Atlanta's John Collins went out in the first round. Smith leapfrogged Miami's Dwyane Wade and took a lob from Stephen Curry to give himself a chance with his last dunk, getting a perfect score from the judges — and a round of boos from the crowd, many of whom weren't that impressed. That left Diallo as the night's final participant. Diallo pulled off a dunk that will be talked about for years in the first round — dunking over O'Neal, hanging on the rim by his elbow, then tearing open his jersey to reveal a 'Superman' shirt underneath. And then he plucked the ball from Quavo as he went airborne for the dunk that sealed the title. ___ 9:35 p.m. Brooklyn's Joe Harris held off Golden State's Stephen Curry to win the 3-point contest at All-Star Saturday night. Harris made 12 consecutive shots at one point in the final round on his way to a score of 26 points. Curry was second with 24 in the finals, and Sacramento's Buddy Hield was third with 19 points. The Warriors' star made his first nine shots of the final round, then missed three of five shots from the top of the key. Stephen Curry won the first round with 27 points out of a possible of 34. Hield was second with 26 points, and Harris finished with 25 to grab the last spot in the finals. There were 10 players in the event, and seven went out in the first round. Defending champion Devin Booker made his final seven shots but was eliminated in a tie for fourth with Danny Green with 23 points. The other competitors who did not advance: Dirk Nowitzki and Damian Lillard (17), Seth Curry (16), Kemba Walker (15) and Khris Middleton (11) __ 8:40 p.m. Boston's Jayson Tatum hit a 3-pointer from just beyond midcourt to beat Atlanta's Trae Young in the final round of the skills competition at All-Star Saturday night. Tatum defeated Memphis' Mike Conley in the first round, then topped Denver's Nikola Jokic in the semifinals. Tatum was slightly behind Young going into the 3-pointer, the final shot of the event, and decided he needed to try the long shot to get one in before Young could shoot for the title. Tatum says the trophy will go to his mother's home. He says he was 'just out here trying to have fun. I threw one up and it went in.' Jokic defeated Orlando's Nikola Vucevic, Young beat Sacramento's De'Aaron Fox and Dallas' Luka Doncic topped the Los Angeles Lakers' Kyle Kuzma in other first-round matchups. Young beat Doncic in the semifinals. ___ 7:30 p.m. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver says he's pleased with the level of competitive balance that currently exists within the league, though cautioned there are still many ways to improve on that front. Silver's annual All-Star weekend address was Saturday night. It comes with Milwaukee holding the NBA's best record, a surprise of sorts in Denver contending for the top record in the Western Conference and Sacramento in position to end the league's longest current playoff drought at 13 years. Silver says there are still teams who choose, for whatever reason, to not be as competitive as others. But he says the league is striving to continue creating a fair and balanced playing field for all 30 teams. ___ 12:50 p.m. The NBA is bringing a pro league to Africa. The Basketball Africa League, a collaboration between the NBA and the sport's global governing body FIBA, was announced Saturday. The initial plan is for the 12-team league to begin play in January. It's yet to be determined which existing club teams will be part of the league. Qualification tournaments will be held later this year to determine those clubs, with teams from Angola, Egypt, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa and Tunisia expected to be among those taking part. No nation will have more than two teams in the league. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver says the league is 'an important next step in our continued development of the game of basketball in Africa.' ___ 12:35 p.m. Boston's Kyrie Irving and New Orleans' Anthony Davis say they both plan to play in Sunday's All-Star game. Both have been dealing with injuries lately. Irving has been dealing with a strained right knee for about a week, and Davis left New Orleans' last game before the All-Star break with a bruised muscle in his left shoulder. Irving is a starter on Team LeBron, and Davis is one of the reserves on that team. Irving was definitive, saying he is fine and ready to go. Davis' tempered his prediction on playing, saying he expects to play but suggesting that it depends on how he feels Sunday. ___ 12:10 p.m. LeBron James says he has kept a close eye on what freshman sensation Zion Williamson is doing at Duke and believes 'it's great for the game.' Williamson, a 6-foot-7, 285-pounder, has become a national sensation with his size and leaping ability. James said Saturday at practice for the All-Star game that the biggest thing he's impressed with is Williamson's athleticism, saying 'we all see it,' adding that his ability to jump well behind the 10-foot rim is 'beyond incredible.' But James, who will play in his 15th All-Star game on Sunday, says he also sees what some others don't: Williamson's humility and love of the game. James says Williamson is 'humble about the fact that he gets to play the game he loves every single day. I love everything about him from the outside looking in.' James says Williamson will only get better as the season progresses being around Mike Krzyzewski, who he considers to be the 'greatest coach of all time.' ___ 11:35 a.m. The Curry brothers have levied a wager for their head-to-head competition in Saturday night's NBA 3-point contest: Whoever loses must buy tickets for the entire Curry family anytime they play against each other for the remainder of their NBA careers. Stephen said Saturday before practice for the All-Star game that 'the stakes are pretty high considering how many people show up for our games.' It's unclear if the group will include a new sister-in-law. There are reports that Seth has proposed to Callie Rivers, the daughter of NBA coach Doc Rivers. When asked about it Saturday, Seth declined to talk about their relationship. Stephen, who won the 3-point competition in 2015, says he is motivated to win it again because he's 'knows for a fact' that everybody else in the Curry family —including his parents— are pulling for Seth. Stephen says with a laugh, 'so I hope to pull the upset.' Both players are hoping to do better than their father Dell Curry, who participated in the 3-point contest twice but never made it out of the first round. Seth, making his first appearance, says Dell advised them to 'do a whole lot better than I did.' ___ 10:50 a.m. Milwaukee star Giannis Antetokounmpo says he'll play in the FIBA world championships this summer. Greece has already qualified for the 32-team tournament, which starts in China on Aug. 31. Antetokounmpo said Saturday before practice for the All-Star game that the only way he wouldn't play is if he had any injury concerns. Many NBA stars are expected to participate, even though the finals in mid-September will be held a week or so before the start of training camps for the 2019-20 season. ___ 10:10 a.m. John Collins has a favorite dunker. Not surprisingly, it's his Atlanta teammate Vince Carter. Collins will represent the Hawks in the dunk contest, one of the events during All-Star Saturday Night. The 3-point contest and skills competition are also on the evening docket. Collins had perhaps the best dunk of the Rising Stars game Friday night, going with a pass off the backboard to himself for a slam over Dallas' Luka Doncic. He says he's got three or four dunks ready to go for Saturday night. He won't reveal what to expect: 'No hints,' he said Saturday morning. ___ More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
  • John Collins has a favorite dunker. Not surprisingly, it's his Atlanta teammate Vince Carter. Collins will represent the Hawks in the dunk contest, one of the events during All-Star Saturday Night. The 3-point contest and skills competition are also on the evening docket. Collins had perhaps the best dunk of the Rising Stars game Friday night, going with a pass off the backboard to himself for a slam over Dallas' Luka Doncic. He says he's got three or four dunks ready to go for Saturday night. He won't reveal what to expect: 'No hints,' he said Saturday morning. ___ More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
  • When the likes of the Los Angeles Lakers' Kyle Kuzma, Philadelphia's Ben Simmons and Boston's Jayson Tatum get to the NBA All-Star Game and partake in what's become the preferred run-and-fun style where defense is discouraged at virtually all costs, this much is clear. They'll be ready. Dunks, layups, 3-pointers and little else. That was the playsheet for the Rising Stars game Friday night, one where Kuzma led all scorers with 35 points on the way to MVP honors and the U.S. team defeated the World squad 161-144 on the floor that the All-Stars will be using on Sunday night. Tatum added 30 points for the U.S. The teams combined for 37 3-pointers, 55 dunks and shot a combined 12 free throws. 'Last year, the World team kicked our butts,' Kuzma said. 'They came in here and beat us by 30. A lot of us kind of remembered that.' It was 31, actually — 155-124, not that it matters. Tatum added 30 points in the game for first- and second-year players that was known for years as the Rookie Game. Atlanta's Trae Young finished with 25 points and 10 assists, Sacramento's De'Aaron Fox had 15 assists and Utah's Donovan Mitchell added 20 points, nine assists and seven rebounds. Everyone looked happy afterward. The U.S. squad had a bit more reason to look that way. 'There's a $25,000 bonus for winning the game,' Kuzma said. 'So that's good.' Philadelphia's Ben Simmons led the World team with 28 points on 14 for 17s hooting. Chicago's Lauri Markkanen had 21 points for the World squad, and Dallas' Luka Doncic had 13 points and nine assists. Both teams shot 55 percent. The difference was on 3s — the U.S. was 21 for 51, while the World was 16 for 52. The mood from the outset was predictably light, even including the pregame speeches from U.S. coach Kyrie Irving of the Boston Celtics and World coach Dirk Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavericks. 'I want us to share the ball and not one guy dribble it 20 times and hoist something up — like Luka does with the Mavs,' Nowitzki said, laughing a bit at his own joke. Irving's message was succinct. 'Just have some fun,' Irving said. 'It's OK to compete.' Doncic talked Phoenix's DeAndre Ayton out of taking the opening tap for the World team, with the young Mavs star jumping against Fox instead of having either center handle the honors. Young was throwing an alley-oop lob to Atlanta teammate John Collins for a 360-degree dunk in one possession, then crossing over Josh Okogie in almost comical fashion on the next. 'We gotta play some defense,' Mitchell implored teammates at one point. It was unclear if anyone ever actually listened to his plea. There was one foul called in the entire first half, Markkanen getting whistled for it with 4:13 remaining until halftime. The first half saw 25 dunks and 20 3-pointers in 20 minutes — the sides played 10-minute quarters. Late in the half, Collins flashed a crossover dribble, then underhand-tossed a pass off the backboard to himself for a dunk that had players on both sides reacting in mock disbelief. FORMAT This was the fifth year of the U.S. vs. World format; the World now leads the all-time series, 3-2. All 10 players on the World team hailed from a different nation, and four different continents were represented. And eight of the players in this year's game were also in last year's event — Mitchell, Collins, Tatum, Kuzma and Fox for the U.S.; Markkanen, Simmons and 2018 game MVP Bogdan Bogdanovic were repeaters for the World side. NBA FEEL Nowitzki and the World coaching staff from the Denver Nuggets largely stayed seated the whole game, while Irving worked the sideline like an actual NBA coach would — even running time-outs, working alongside the Milwaukee Bucks' staff. Brooklyn's D'Angelo Russell, Phoenix's Devin Booker and San Antonio's Danny Green were at the game, and Minnesota's Karl-Anthony Towns was courtside in a World jersey to represent for his Okogie, his Timberwolves teammate. SOMBER MOMENT A pregame moment of silence was held immediately before the Canadian and U.S. national anthems in honor of the victims of the shooting in the Chicago suburb of Aurora, Illinois earlier Friday. ___ More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
  • This weekend, NBA superstars LeBron James, Stephen Curry and Russell Westbrook will all be taking a quick breather from the regular season to have a little fun. Friday night marks the start of the 2019 NBA All-Star Weekend from Charlotte, North Carolina, which will feature a medley of events to showcase the league’s best talents in a three-day-long extravaganza. Starting at 7 p.m. ET Friday on ESPN, the All-Star Celebrity Game will kick off the weekend’s activities and will see former NBA players, WNBA stars and pop culture icons duking it out on the court. As PEOPLE exclusively revealed, the home team will include Luke Cage‘s Mike Colter, Chris Daughtry, Dr. Oz, Terrence J, ESPN analyst Jay Williams and comedian JB Smoove. Rapper Rapsody, comedian Famous Los and WNBA player A’ja Wilson are also on the team. The away team consists of celebs such as reigning MVP Quavo, Bad Bunny, CSI: New York‘s AJ Buckley, Brad Williams, Hasan Minhaj and comedian Amanda Seales. Rounding out the team are Ronnie 2K, WNBA’s Stefanie Dolson and Milwaukee Bucks owner Marc Lasry. This year, both rosters feature their first-ever “hometown hero,” meant to honor “exemplary citizens” by giving them the chance to play in the Celebrity All-Star Game. Jason Weinmann, 47, a Marine who rescued North Carolina flood victims during Hurricane Florence, will play on the home team, while 29-year-old James Shaw Jr., who disarmed a gunman in a Tennessee Waffle House, will join the away team. The Rising Stars Challenge will start at 9 p.m. ET Friday on TNT, and will feature a matchup between 10 first-year players from the United States and 10 second-year players for around the globe. The game will showcase up-and-coming players like Luka Doncic of the Dallas Mavericks, Ben Simmons of the Philadelphia 76ers, Kyle Kuzma of the Los Angeles Lakers and Jayson Tatum of the Boston Celtics. The Skills Contest is the first event of All-Star Saturday Night and will be followed by the 3-Point Contest and the Slam Dunk Contest. The Skills Contest begins at 8 p.m. ET on TNT and will see a slew of young players compete in timed events that will test their ball-handling and shooting talents. After that will be the 3-point contest, which will see Stephen Curry face off against his brother Seth Curry of the Portland Trailblazers, Dirk Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavericks, Devin Booker of the Phoenix Suns and six other shooters in a two-round competition. RELATED: Kyle Kuzma on LeBron James Joining the Lakers and Working Out With Kobe Bryant Each player will just have a minute to make as many baskets as they can while only being given 25 balls. Regular NBA balls will be worth a single point, while custom-colored “money” balls will be worth two points. The main event of Saturday night will be the Slam Dunk Contest, which will feature Miles Bridges of the Charlotte Hornets, John Collins of the Atlanta Hawks, Hamidou Diallo of the Oklahoma City Thunder and Dennis Smith Jr. of the New York Knicks face off to see who can come up with the most creative and difficult dunks of the night. RELATED: J. Cole, Meek Mill, Carly Rae Jepsen and More to Perform at 2019 NBA All-Star Game The main event of the weekend will be the NBA All-Star Game on Sunday at 9 p.m. ET on TNT, which will see a group of players drafted by LeBron James (Team LeBron) goes against a set of stars picked by Milwaukee Bucks player Giannis Antetokounmpo (Team Giannis). Team LeBron’s starters include Kevin Durant of the Golden State Warriors, Kyrie Irving of the Boston Celtics, Kawhi Leonard of the Toronto Raptors, Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Pelicans and Klay Thompson of the Warriors, while Team Giannis will feature Stephen Curry of the Warriors, Joel Embiid of Philadelphia, Paul George of the Oklahoma City Thunder, Kemba Walker of the Charlotte Hornets, Blake Griffin of the Detroit Pistons and Kyle Lowry of Toronto. Last year, Team LeBron defeated Team Stephen 148-145 during the All-Star Game.
  • The New Orleans Pelicans have decided to fire ninth-year general manager Dell Demps and start the process of finding someone to deal with the fallout of All-Star Anthony Davis' recent trade demand. Demps' dismissal comes after Davis said in late January that he would not sign an extension with New Orleans and wants to be traded to a contending team. 'As difficult as these decisions are, my responsibility is to provide the leadership and resources necessary to deliver a winning team to our fans and community,' Pelicans owner Gayle Benson said Friday in a written statement. 'I take that responsibility seriously and would like to assure our fans that I am prepared to provide any, and all, resources required to compete for championships.' Davis has another season remaining on his contract after this one and this season's trade deadline has passed, meaning no trade will happen until summer under the new front office regime. Davis, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 NBA draft out of Kentucky, has been named an All-Star six times in his first seven seasons, so the return on a trade for him should be considerable and could set course for the Pelicans for seasons to come. If hired soon enough, the new general manager also would oversee the upcoming draft and decide the future of coach Alvin Gentry, who for now is being retained. Benson said she will hire outside consultants to help her begin the process of restructuring the Pelicans' front office, noting that the new leader of the basketball operations department will report directly to her. Since the Benson family bought the team in 2012, Demps had been reporting to executive vice president Mickey Loomis, who also serves as Saints general manager. Former Atlanta Hawks general manager Danny Ferry, who has spent the past three seasons in a consulting role with New Orleans, has been appointed interim general manager. 'While we still have many more critical decisions to make when this season comes to an end, I am focused on making sure we are properly positioned to succeed and that we are headed in the right direction,' Benson said. Demps' last game in charge was Thursday night, a 131-122 victory over Oklahoma City that was overshadowed by Davis leaving with a left shoulder injury at halftime. Davis could be seen leaving the arena during the second half with his agent, Rich Paul, to get an MRI exam that a person familiar with the situation says revealed a muscle bruise. The injury makes his availability unclear for this weekend's All-Star game and related events. Demps received his only general manager position with New Orleans in the summer of 2010 and the Pelicans have made the playoffs three times during his tenure, advancing to the second round once. The Pelicans enter this season's All-Star break at 26-33 and unlikely to make the Western Conference playoff field this season. New Orleans hired Demps in large part because of his front office and scouting experience with San Antonio, widely seen as the model for contending in a small market. He arrived during uncertain times for the franchise. Star point guard Chris Paul, a 2005 New Orleans first-round draft choice, was already determined to leave the club because of ownership uncertainty. After Demps was hired, the NBA bought the club from then-owner George Shinn, who was having cash flow problems. When Demps tried to trade Paul to the Los Angeles Lakers, the NBA rejected the deal, and Demps ultimately settled on a trade with the Clippers that brought in Eric Gordon, Chris Kaman and Al-Farouq Aminu — none of whom remain with the club. Gordon tried to leave as a restricted free agent in 2012, signing an offer sheet from the Phoenix Suns. But Demps said at the time that the Pelicans could not afford to lose Gordon and matched the four-year, $58 million offer. The purchase by Tom Benson gave the Pelicans stability and deeper pockets to build around Davis, but the fact that Benson was then in his 80s increased pressure to win quickly. Benson died last March, and his third wife, Gayle, a New Orleans native with a background in the interior design business, inherited sole ownership of the Saints and Pelicans. Demps traded most of the Pelicans' draft picks away for more proven players during his tenure, but those moves did not always pan out on the anticipated timeline, or at all. Demps traded two first-round picks for Jrue Holiday. But he missed most of his first two seasons in New Orleans because of recurring setbacks with a lower leg injury before emerging more recently as the Pelicans' second-best player. Demps also gambled on DeMarcus Cousins and lost. He traded 2016 first-round pick Buddy Hield along with a 2017 first-round pick for Cousins — a move that fizzled when Cousins tore his Achilles during his first full season with the club and then decided to leave last summer in free agency. New Orleans traded away its 2018 first-rounder last season to acquire Nikola Mirotic, who was traded to Milwaukee at this season's trade deadline, shortly after the Davis fallout forced the Pelicans to start planning for a future without their marquee player. Meanwhile, the Pelicans have been saddled by salary cap burdens resulting from expensive free-agent signings of players who subsequently struggled, such as center Omer Asik and forward Solomon Hill. ___ More AP NBA: www.apnews.com/NBA and www.twitter.com/AP_Sports
  • The Latest on NBA All-Star Weekend (all times local): 10:55 p.m. Kyle Kuzma of the Los Angeles Lakers scored 35 points, Jayson Tatum of the Boston Celtics added 30 and the U.S. beat the World team 161-144 in the Rising Stars game for first- and second-year players at All-Star Weekend. Trae Young of the Atlanta Hawks finished with 25 points and 10 assists, and De'Aaron Fox of the Sacramento Kings had 15 assists for the U.S. Utah's Donovan Mitchell added 20 points, nine assists and seven rebounds. Philadelphia's Ben Simmons led the World team with 28 points. Chicago's Lauri Markkanen had 21 points for the World squad, and Dallas' Luka Doncic had 13 points and nine assists. Both teams shot 55 percent. It was the fifth time the U.S. vs. the World format was used for what was once known as the rookie game. The World now leads the all-time series 3-2, after its two-game winning streak was snapped. ___ 9:05 p.m. Famous Los scored 22 points to win MVP honors, and the Home team held on to beat the Away team 82-80 in the All-Star Celebrity Game on Friday night. Jay Williams scored 18 points for Home. Quavo scored 27 for Away and Hall of Famer Ray Allen scored 24 — though the NBA's all-time leader in 3-pointers made went 0 for 8 from beyond the arc. ___ 8:35 p.m. NBA executive Monty McCutchen has a less-than-surprising confession. Travels get missed. McCutchen, the former referee who moved to the league office last season and now helps oversee the officiating program, said Friday that about two traveling violations get called per game on average. He says the league believes that the real number of travels that should be called is closer to five per game. The NBA is no different than any other basketball league — if every letter-of-the-law travel was called, games could last for days. But McCutchen says the league is continuing to work with its referees on making that (and every) call consistently, and remains in constant contact with teams about concerns and interpretations. But don't expect a change to a four-ref system anytime soon. The NBA has tinkered with it at the G League level, and McCutchen says 'when we looked into it, accuracy did not go up.' ___ 6:45 p.m. Basketball Hall of Famer and activist Kareem Abdul-Jabbar says Colin Kaepernick's settlement of a collusion case against the NFL is a victory for the quarterback. Abdul-Jabbar says he believes that Kaepernick still wants to play in the NFL. At a Hall of Fame event Friday at All-Star weekend in Charlotte, North Carolina, Abdul-Jabbar said Kaepernick 'had a statement that he had to make through his demonstrations, but he's a quarterback and I think he should be working.' Abdul-Jabbar, a winner of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, was criticized when he changed his name from Lew Alcindor as a statement of his Muslim faith, and heard Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speak in the mid-1960s. Kaepernick and Eric Reid filed collusion grievances against the league, saying they were blacklisted because they kneeled during the national anthem to raise awareness to police brutality, racial inequality and other social issues. Reid's case was also settled Friday. Abdul-Jabbar says Kaepernick is 'a lot better than a number of the quarterbacks I see that have jobs now. So something's wrong here.' ___ 6:05 p.m. So, the best shooter in the Curry family is.... Sonya Curry? The mother of Stephen and Seth Curry sank a one-handed, half-court shot — that she took underhanded — to help her three-person team beat teams led by her NBA sons and one by her daughter to win a family shootout at a newly refurbished at a community center in Charlotte, North Carolina. It's a shot the Currys will be talking about for a long time. After sinking the shot, Sonya raced around the court as fans in the crowded center went wild. She then did a celebration dance as her sons looked on in amazement and husband Dell applauded. Seth Curry couldn't hold back laughter knowing he just got beat by his mom, a former volleyball player. The Portland guard said afterward 'that was a lucky shot, but she knocked it down on the big stage. That was good to see.' Seth joked getting beat by his mom was better than losing to his brother. He said, laughing, 'Hey, anybody but Steph winning was good.' The three-person teams included the Curry children and their families. Each team had to make a layup, a foul shot, two 3-pointers from the corner and the top of the key and, finally a half-court shot in the timed event. The shootout was part of the dedication of the refurbished Carole Hoefener Center, donated by the Stephen and Ayesha Curry Family Foundation, Under Armour and Chase. ___ 5:35 p.m. Chris Webber, Bill Fitch, Marques Johnson, Sidney Moncrief, Bobby Jones, Jack Sikma, Eddie Sutton, Ben Wallace and Teresa Weatherspoon are among the 13 finalists for enshrinement later this year into the Basketball Hall of Fame. Webber, part of Michigan's Fab Five and a five-time NBA All-Star, was a finalist for the third consecutive season. Fitch is a two-time NBA coach of the year who led Boston to the 1981 NBA championship. Johnson was a five-time NBA All-Star and an NCAA champion under John Wooden at UCLA. Jones was a four-time NBA All-Star, a huge part of Philadelphia's 1983 NBA-title-winning team and the league's sixth man award winner that season. Moncrief was a two-time defensive player of the year and a prolific scorer. Sikma was an All-Star in seven consecutive seasons, had a brilliant shooting touch and helped Seattle win the 1979 NBA title. Sutton is a College Basketball Hall of Fame inductee and was the first coach to take four schools to the NCAA Tournament. Wallace was a massive part of the Detroit Pistons' run to the 2004 NBA title and a four-time defensive player of the year. Weatherspoon was one of the first true stars of the WNBA, and a five-time All-Star. Westphal was a stellar player and coach, and won a title with the Celtics as a player in 1974. Also selected as finalists were Leta Andrews, who won 1,416 games in more than 50 years on the sidelines; Hugh Evans, a referee in the NBA for 28 years; Barbara Stevens, the longtime coach at perennial Division II power Bentley and a winner of more than 1,000 games. The Curt Gowdy Award winners for media contributions went to Marc Stein of The New York Times and retiring Los Angeles Clippers announcer Ralph Lawler. The full Hall of Fame class will be selected at the NCAA men's Final Four at Minneapolis in April. ___ 4:35 p.m. Warriors guard Steph Curry says it's been 'really weird' staying in a downtown hotel in his hometown for the All-Star Weekend. It's leaving him a 'little out of sorts.' When Curry usually visits Charlotte, North Carolina, he and his family stay at a home they once owned, located about 30 minutes from downtown. Or they stay at his parents' place about 15 minutes away. But with traffic and so much going on this weekend he decided to stay downtown, close to the Spectrum Center. Curry says family is starting to trickle in and 'the real fun starts in a little while.' He's hosting a community service event Friday afternoon before making a 30-minute drive north to watch his alma mater, Davidson College, play against St. Joseph's. He's excited that the Wildcats will wear alternate black and yellow neon Under Armour jerseys and the same Curry 6 Coy Fish neon shoes that he'll wear at Sunday night's All-Star game, which he says 'is going to be pretty cool.' He did find time to stop at one of his local favorites for lunch — Bojangles chicken and biscuits. He jokingly says, 'Probably got some crumbs in my teeth right now' while poking at his mouth. __ 1:35 p.m. Seth Curry has a bold prediction as to who will win the NBA 3-point contest on Saturday night. 'Me, me, I will,' Curry confidently told The Associated Press on Friday at the NBA's Day of Service at the Charlotte Convention Center. Curry will be competing in his first NBA 3-point contest against a solid field that includes older brother Stephen Curry, who won the event in 2015 and is third all-time in NBA history with 2,365 3-pointers made. Seth Curry says, 'I want to win it for myself and my family' saying it has been a goal of his to win the event since he watched his father Dell Curry compete in it at the 1992 All-Star game. Stephen Curry sees the outcome a little differently. When he was asked who's going to win, he responded, 'Oh I am.' Game on. ___ 11:10 a.m. Dallas rookie Luka Doncic said if he had to pick any five current international players to beat an American team of All-Stars the list would include Milwaukee's Giannis Antetokounmpo, Dallas' Kristaps Porzingis, Denver's Nikola Jokic, Miami's Goran Dragic and — he added with a smile — himself. Doncic got his first look at All-Star life Friday, when he was part of the Rising Stars practice and media session in the morning. He'll play on the World Team against the U.S. in the Rising Stars game on Friday night. Doncic says his adjustment to the NBA has gone better than expected after a very successful start to his career in which he is averaging 20.7 points, 7.2 rebounds and 5.6 assists per game Doncic said that 'it went great from the beginning' and that having the trust of his teammates made the transition easier. He said didn't expect to have as much success as he's had this season, adding 'I'm surprised a little bit, too.' ___ 9:25 a.m. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has opened the annual All-Star Technology Summit by touting the 'smart jersey of the future.' Silver used an app on a phone to change the number and name on the back of a jersey that was displayed on the side of the stage where he spoke, flipping it from a Kemba Walker model to a Stephen Curry model to a Michael Jordan model. Silver laid out what a fully customizable fan experience may look like in the NBA in 2038, right down to changing the name on the jersey those fans wear to games. Silver's address opened the summit, a platform for discussions about basketball's future and the role of evolving technology. The tech summit is in 20th year and draws hundreds of top league executives. Panels are scheduled on sports betting, disruptive technology, the relationship between athletes and technology, and ways to attract fans of the so-called Gen Z — the 2.5 billion people worldwide born between 1997 and 2010. ___ More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
  • There’s never been any question about who former President Jimmy Carter’s valentine is. >> Read more trending news  The 94-year-old Carter and his wife Rosalynn smooched again during the “kiss cam” promotion at the Hawks-Knicks game on Valentine’s Day Thursday at State Farm Arena. The Carters have been married since 1946. The couple also kissed for the camera at Braves games in 2015 and 2016.  See video of the kiss here: Carter, a Plains, Ga., native, was the 39th President of the United States, serving from 1977 to 1981. He also was governor of Georgia from 1971 to 1975. Carter received a Nobel Peace Prize in 2002.  >> Trending: Chris Cornell documentary planned by Brad Pitt, Peter Berg The Carters were honored by the Hawks for their humanitarian efforts Thursday night. The team also hosted its first Pride Night.
  • Knicks coach David Fizdale gives his team credit for not giving up during a losing streak that lasted nearly six weeks. 'I keep talking about this team's character,' Fizdale said. 'It would've been very easy for us to check out and get on to wherever we're going to go, but we were desperate men. Those guys wanted this game really badly, and they came out and showed it.' Dennis Smith Jr. scored 19 points and New York snapped a franchise-worst, 18-game losing streak with a 106-91 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Thursday night. The Knicks ended their longest skid within a single season with their first victory since Jan. 4 at the Los Angeles Lakers. New York, with the Eastern Conference's worst record and second-worst overall, had dropped 26 of 27. Kadeem Allen and John Jenkins each added 14 points. Damyean Dotson finished with 13 points and DeAndre Jordan had 13 rebounds for New York, which never trailed and only was tied twice, in the second quarter. 'I think we did a great job of guarding the pick-and-rolls tonight,' Smith said. 'Our bigs did a good job of calling out the screens and switching and not giving them too many second chances.' The Hawks, coming off an exciting victory over the Lakers two nights earlier, were flat throughout. They never pulled within single digits after John Collins' hook shot made it 87-78 with 9:39 remaining. Dewayne Dedmon led Atlanta with 21 points. Trae Young had 16 points and 11 assists. The Knicks were up 14-0 before ending the first with a 28-13 lead. Mitchell Robinson closed the period by blocking DeAndre' Bembry's 3-point attempt. Atlanta missed its first 11 shots as its starters combined for two points. 'We can't start the game like we did and expect to get a win,' Young said. 'We've just got to learn from it and get better and regroup after the All-Star Game.' The Hawks, who trailed 54-51 at halftime, have lost four of five. 'I like where we're headed,' Atlanta coach Lloyd Pierce said of his team's overall play this season. 'As a first-time coach, I didn't know if I'd be fighting players every day or disgruntled guys or guys not buying into it, but I think the guys buy into it and they enjoy each other. They enjoy my staff, which is very important.' TIP-INS Knicks: Mario Hezonja missed the game with a left leg contusion. Fizdale said Hezonja was kicked in Wednesday's home loss to Philadelphia. ... Luke Kornet made his 11th start and finished with 11 points. Hawks: Young began the game averaging 16.9 points and 7.6 assists. Since 1997-98, only Chris Paul in 2005-06 and John Wall in 2010-11 averaged at least 16 points and seven assists over a full rookie season. STAY IN SHAPE Fizdale wants the Knicks to use the upcoming All-Star break to rest and maintain their conditioning. 'I'm not letting my foot off the gas,' he said with a smile. HAIL TO THE CHIEF Former President Jimmy Carter, 94, and his wife Rosalynn, 91, attended the game and were introduced to a standing ovation during a timeout early in the first. The Hawks did a video presentation of Carter's career in humanitarian causes, politics and philanthropy. Carter, the Nobel Peace Prize winner in 2002, just won his third Grammy for best spoken word album on 'Faith: A Journey for All.' PRIDE TIME The Hawks held a Love Wins Pride Night promotion that featured the Atlanta Gay Men's Chorus singing the national anthem and the team calling attention throughout the night to the LGBT community. The outside 'Atlanta' facade of State Farm Arena was lit in rainbow colors. The Hawks dressed their mascot Harry in a rainbow Mohawk and had him waving a large rainbow flag with their logo in the center. UP NEXT Knicks: Host Minnesota on Feb. 22. Hawks: Host Detroit on Feb. 22. ___ More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
  • There’s never been any question about who former President Jimmy Carter’s valentine is. The 94-year-old Carter and his wife Rosalynn smooched again during the “kiss cam” promotion at the Hawks-Knicks game on Valentine’s Day Thursday at State Farm Arena. The Carters have been married since 1946. The couple also kissed for the camera at Braves games in 2015 and 2016.  See video of the kiss here: A Presidential Kiss Cam featuring President Jimmy Carter 😍#TrueToAtlanta pic.twitter.com/fehHljid4C — Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) February 15, 2019 Carter, a Plains, Ga., native, was the 39th President of the United States, serving from 1977 to 1981. He also was governor of Georgia from 1971 to 1975. Carter received a Nobel Peace Prize in 2002.   The Carters were honored by the Hawks for their humanitarian efforts Thursday night. The team also hosted its first Pride Night.   TRENDING STORIES: 5 injured as Delta flight forced to make emergency landing Sheriff warns 'lock your doors, load your guns' as he suspends services Rapper on 'Murder on my Mind' song accused of killing 2 friends  

News

  • A Texas man was arrested for allegedly slapping a 12-year-old Deer Park boy accused of bullying his stepdaughter in an incident that was caught on surveillance tape, according to news reports. >> Read more trending news  James Olander Peace is facing a felony injury to a child charge, but his wife told KTRK-TV that the court records don’t tell the whole story.  She wanted to remain anonymous but said her daughter was being bullied by two classmates and that her husband was just sticking up for the girl.  They said “that her body was ugly, said that she was a transvestite, started throwing ice cream at her and then they picked up the rocks,' the woman said, according to KTRK. The girl called her parents for a ride, and after Peace picked her up, they saw the two boys, authorities said. 'On the drive home, they happened to see the suspect juvenile walking and that's when the stepdad decided to stop and confront the kid,' Deer Park police Lt. Chris Brown said. The confrontation was caught on a surveillance camera, and Peace was seen shouting and hitting the boy, Brown said. 'He was slapped across the face with an open hand, had red marks and swelling to his cheek and upper jaw,' Brown said. >> Trending: School bus driver on heroin revived with Narcan after crash, police say The news station also reported that court records indicate Peace told the boy not to tell police or he’d beat him up. The boy did tell a teacher about the incident the next day, and Peace was arrested. He’s free on a $15,000 bond.
  • Police continue to investigate the reported attack against “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett, who told authorities he was assaulted in the predawn hours Jan. 29 by a pair of men who yelled racial and homophobic slurs at him. >> Read more trending news Update 8:50 p.m. EST Feb. 20: Smollett’s Chicago attorneys, Todd Pugh and Victor Henderson, released a statement following the indictment: “Like any other citizen, Mr. Smollett enjoys the presumption of innocence, particularly when there has been an investigation like this one where information, both true and false, has been repeatedly leaked. Given these circumstances, we intend to conduct a thorough investigation and to mount an aggressive defense.” Update 7:44 p.m. EST Feb. 20: The Chicago Tribune is reporting that Jussie Smollett has been charged with felony disorderly conduct for allegedly filing a false report on Jan.29. The charge is a Class 4 felony that carries a possible prison sentence of 1-3 years, but he could also receive probation. The bond hearing has been set for 1:30pm Thursday according to WLS-TV. Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi tweeted that detectives will make contact with his attorneys and negotiate a surrender for his arrest. Update 5:30 p.m. EST Feb. 20:  “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett is now considered a suspect and detectives are presenting case to grand jury according to the Chief Communications Officer for Chicago Police Department. Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi tweeted the news on Wednesday after Smollett’s attorneys met with prosecutors and detectives. Update 4:30 p.m. EST Feb. 20: A police official said lawyers for Jussie Smollett are meeting with prosecutors and police investigators about the reported attack on the “Empire” actor.  Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi told the Associated Press the meeting was taking place Wednesday afternoon. He declined to confirm reports that subpoenas had been issued for Smollett’s phone and bank records. Update 2:20 p.m. EST Feb. 20: Officials with 20th Century Fox Television and Fox Entertainment on Wednesday denied reports Smollett was being written out of “Empire” in a statement released to WBBM-TV. “Jussie Smollett continues to be a consummate professional on set and as we have previously stated, he is not being written out of the show,” the statement said. The comment followed reports that Smollett's role on the show was being slashed amid investigations into the actor's report that he was attacked in Chicago last month. Authorities continue to investigate. Update 9:30 a.m. EST Feb. 20: Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx recused herself Monday from the investigation into the reported attack against Smollett, according to WMAQ-TV. In a statement emailed to the station, a spokesperson for Foxx’s office said First Assistant State’s Attorney Joseph Magats would instead serve as acting state’s attorney in the case. “Out of an abundance of caution, the decision to recuse herself was made to address potential questions of impartiality based upon familiarity with potential witnesses in the case,” the statement said, according to WMAQ-TV. No further information was provided on the reason behind for the recusal. Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said Tuesday that authorities determined a tip they were investigating about a possible sighting of Smollett and the brothers who were previously suspected in the attack were unfounded. “It was not supported by video evidence obtained by detectives,” Guglielmi said. Original report: Authorities are investigating a tip that Smollett was seen in an elevator in his apartment building with two men who have since been arrested on suspicion of carrying out the attack in downtown Chicago, and were subsequently released without charges, police told The Associated Press. The men, who were identified by attorney Gloria Schmidt as brothers Olabinjo Osundairo and Abimbola Osundairo, were released without charges Friday after police said new evidence surfaced in the case, according to CNN and police.  >> 'I will only stand for love': 'Empire' actor Jussie Smollett performs in California after attack Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi told The Associated Press a person who lives in the building or who was visiting someone there reported seeing the Osundairo brothers with Smollett on the night he was attacked. Guglielmi told the AP that as of Tuesday, officers had yet to confirm the account. Smollett told officers he was attacked around 2 a.m. Jan. 29, as he was walking downtown near the Chicago River. He said two men yelled that he was in “MAGA country” -- an apparent reference to President Donald Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make American Great Again” -- and that they hit him in the face, poured an “unknown substance” on him and wrapped a rope around his neck, The Associated Press reported. >> Jussie Smollett's attorneys say he will not meet with investigators, despite reports Guglielmi told the AP that Smollett still had a rope around his neck when officers first made contact with him after the alleged attack. Last week, police announced that the 'investigation had shifted' following interviews with the brothers and their release from custody without charges. Police have requested another interview with Smollett. They have declined to comment on reports that the attack was a hoax, a claim Smollett’s attorneys have denied. 'Nothing is further from the truth and anyone claiming otherwise is lying,' Smollett’s attorneys said in a statement late Saturday. Authorities continue to investigate. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • The Food and Drug Administration issued a warning Tuesday about new businesses offering blood transfusions from young donors. >> Read more trending news  Some companies, according to Yahoo News, “charge thousands of dollars to inject older patients with infusions of blood plasma from young donors.” In December, the Huffington Post detailed how one such company claimed these transfusions could reverse aging and provide something “pretty close” to immortality. None of those claims had any proof. “Simply put, we’re concerned that some patients are being preyed upon by unscrupulous actors touting treatments of plasma from young donors as cures and remedies,” the FDA said. “Such treatments have no proven clinical benefits for the uses for which these clinics are advertising them and are potentially harmful.”  >> Related: Nearly half of US adults have heart or blood vessel disease The FDA statement, which is credited to Commissioner Scott Gottlieb and FDA director Peter Marks, warns consumers these treatments have not been tested to show they actually help patients. In fact, the FDA says, the transfusions may hurt the recipient. “Plasma administration is not without risks,” the men wrote. “The more common risks are allergic reactions and transfusion-associated circulatory overload.” Less common risks include acute lung injury, infectious disease transmission or circulatory overload, the FDA warned. Plasma is the liquid part of blood, containing blood-clotting proteins. The FDA said there are a few instances where a plasma transfer has proved to be safe and useful. For example, patients whose blood is unable to clot because of illness or medication might receive a plasma transfer. In such a case, the benefits (helps the patient’s blood to clot) outweigh the risks (allergic reactions, etc.). However, even then, the patient still faces the same risks inherent to transfusions. >> Related: Feeling stressed? Thinking of your romantic partner can help lower blood pressure, study says “As a general matter, we will consider taking regulatory and enforcement actions against companies that abuse the trust of patients and endanger their health with uncontrolled manufacturing conditions or by promoting so-called ‘treatments’ that haven’t been proven safe or effective for any use,” the FDA said.
  • Some 3,000 outdoor turkey fryers are under recall over a potential oil leak that could cause a fire. >> Read more trending news  The voluntarily recall involves the Academy Sports + Outdoor Gourmet Turkey Keg fryer, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, described as a stainless steel fryer powered by propane. The spout can leak oil and pose a fire hazard, the CPSC said. The fryer’s item number, 157826, is located on one of the legs. The safety organization is urging owners to return the fryers as soon as possible to any Academy Sports + Outdoor stores for a full refund plus a $50 Academy gift card.  
  • Roosevelt Warm Springs Rehabilitation Hospital may have a grand history, and it may have disabled patients it helps to regain function. But it’s also just another rural Georgia hospital in danger of closing. The facility established by Franklin Delano Roosevelt has filed an emergency request for a federal judge to rein in the agency that runs Medicare, saying the federal government’s actions put it close to financial ruin. Lawyers for the hospital said the bureaucracy surrounding a disputed $585,000 in bills has cut off ongoing Medicare payments to the institution, payments that are the hospital’s lifeblood. Moreover, the hospital says, the government will likely take years to process the hospital’s appeal. By then, it will be too late. A judge will hear arguments March 5. “I would be heartbroken if it were to close,” said Beth Hadley, a County Commission member for Meriwether County, where the facility is located. She had not heard about the dispute. “Just the work they do is phenomenal,” Hadley said. “Lots of folks use their services. And the number of jobs they provide – good jobs.” Warm Springs is a tiny town located between Columbus and Atlanta. But it is known nationwide for the “Little White House” that FDR built there. The retreat, where he died, is now run as a historic site by the state. Roosevelt, unusual in catching polio as an adult, came to the Warm Springs area initially because he had been told the mineral spring waters there had healing powers. They didn’t heal him, and for the rest of his life he could stand and walk only with braces and support. But he came to feel benefits from swimming in Warm Springs. In 1927, five years before he was elected president, Roosevelt bought the resort property and established a polio treatment facility. That facility evolved and was resold. Now that vaccination has eliminated polio in the United States, the hospital, run by Augusta University Health, rehabilitates about 400 patients a year with a range of problems, including strokes and neurological and orthopedic conditions. The hospital has its own debt, running at a $637,000 loss last year, it said. Managers attribute its struggle partly to rural Georgia’s health care voids. It’s located far from regular hospitals that typically are a source of patient referrals to rehab centers, and it treats a high number of patients who are on Medicaid and Medicare, which don’t pay much. But, its lawyers said, the desperate situation now stems from cases the hospital billed to Medicare. The agency that runs Medicare, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, or CMS, said the hospital billed the CMS for too much care in about 16 cases. The CMS says it shouldn’t have paid the improper bills, and now it wants the money back. It’s started withholding the hospital’s regular Medicare reimbursements until the “debt” is repaid, a process known as “recoupment.” But what actually happened won’t be clear for years. That’s because CMS-hired auditors who identify overpayments are found to be wrong more than half the time when someone appeals. That problem causes a domino effect. The audits are so problematic that appeals have skyrocketed, jamming the waiting list. The law guarantees hospitals an appeal to an impartial administrative law judge within 90 days, but the backlog stretches years. The federal government has investigated the backlog and made the CMS report on its progress, and yet the wait still takes years. In the meantime, hospitals and treatment facilities cut down services or close down while waiting for their appeals. “It’s an especially draconian measure in that if the facility is challenging the audit, they often complete recoupment before they exhaust their appeals,” said Anna Grizzle, a lawyer in Tennessee who represents facilities dealing with the federal process. After the appeals finally make their way through, when a facility gets the CMS auditor overturned, the government writes a check with interest. “That interest payment is frankly little comfort if the provider’s been put out of business,” she said. Warm Springs hired its own auditor, who told it that the CMS auditor was wrong and that the hospital hardly owed anything. The hospital did get two chances at appeals within the CMS before the federal agency began keeping the money. The CMS said it hadn’t made a mistake. That CMS decision is where the recoupment begins. But the appeal at the next level, before an independent administrative law judge, is one where hospitals really have a chance, experts said. Yet recoupment isn’t put on hold for that. The hospital and lawyers who deal with such cases also point out that the CMS contractors have incentive to decide that the agency overpaid. In some cases the contractors are rehired on the basis that they’ve shown they can do a good job recognizing overpayments. In others, they’re paid a commission on whatever they said was overpaid. Jimmy Lewis, whose business Hometown Health is a consultant to rural Georgia hospitals, said he hears from clients about Medicare recoupment clawbacks “on a regular basis.” “Usually there’s not a lot of room for them to have any recovery,” he said. “The way those things work, you basically get a letter, it’s kind of their way or the highway.” And since many of the facilities often just have a few days’ cash flow in the bank, he added, “That can be a killer, there’s no question about it.” Both Augusta University Health, which runs the Warm Springs hospital, and the CMS declined to comment, citing ongoing litigation. A lawyer who researched Medicare recoupments for the Emory Law Journal, Maleaka Guice, said regulation surrounding recoupment has to be changed. In bankruptcies Medicare keeps taking money in spite of ongoing appeals even though all other creditors are put on hold, said Guice, who works with Grizzle. But even if the rules are finally changed to put recoupment on hold through all levels of appeals, “they have got to get that backlog down,” Guice said. “It’s a lack of due process to wait three to five years to go in front of a neutral judge,” she said. Stay on top of what’s happening in Georgia government and politics at ajc.com/news/georgia-government/.
  • Twitter descended into a furor after discovering an emoji that supposedly showed a rainbow flag with a crossed-out circle over it. >> Read more trending news However, this emoji does not exist. The talk began yesterday when one user tweeted the image, according to Fast Company. On iPhones, the tweet showed the crossed-out circle on the LGBT flag emoji. » New emojis are coming for 2019, include service dogs, inclusivity, sloth This is a bit of text trickery. The crossed-out circle is a special character that covers the previous letter or emoji. If you copy and paste it, the circle covers any previous character, not just the rainbow flag emoji. Jeremy Burge, who lists his title on Twitter as “chief emoji officer” for Emojipedia, set the record straight, saying, “It's literally how that character works in combo with any emoji or character.” Burge pointed out that in situations like this, it can be hard to differentiate which Twitter users have been genuinely fooled and which ones are pretending to be fooled as a joke. See for yourself: The special character is part of Unicode, which is a standard set of characters computers use to handle text. The latest version contains more than 137,000 characters to handle languages from English to Arabic as well as emojis and symbols.