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Pay for Play

first_imgI have done several articles in the past on the growing trend for college coaches to have their players paid beyond their scholarship.  The latest ruling came from Judge Claudia Wilkens when she ruled in August that college players can make money from any sales that use their name or image on the items being sold.  This means that if this ruling stands, if you place a player on a billboard, he can be paid for appearing as an advertisement for his university.  Also, any merchandise they sell with a specific name or number on it, would meet this same criteria.  This ruling is being contested in the 9th Circuit Court.What the universities hope to get out of this is the fact that they could use a variety of advertising tools that use a player’s popularity to increase their profits from sales.  This would also put more money in the players’ pockets.  Part of this movement is tied to the top 5 conferences receiving permission to govern themselves outside the NCAA.This ruling is now in the 9th Circuit Court and probably will wind up in the Supreme Court before a final decision is made.  With the money involved, neither side is going to back down.last_img read more

Price School meets with legislators

first_imgFormer California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger met with policy makers on Wednesday as part of an initiative with the USC Schwarzenegger Institute for State and Global Policy.Dean of the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy, Jack H. Knott, accompanied Schwarzenegger on the Policy in Action trip to three different meetings with U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.“This is exactly what Arnold envisioned for the USC institute,” USC Schwarzenegger Institute Global Director Bonnie Reiss said. “This is putting policy into action by meeting with congressional leaders and truly influencing policy decisions.”Schwarzenegger and Knott met with lawmakers regarding funding for after-school programs. Approximately 8.4 million students in the United States currently participate in the federal government’s after-school program, but a reallocation of funding might take away the federal grants that fund 1.6 million kids.The Policy in Action trip was planned after Schwarzenegger wanted to explain the reasons these after-school programs are essential.“My goal is to keep the funding for the after-school program by the federal government and not have that money diverted into other areas of education,” Knott said. “A lot of the research coming out of universities shows that after-school programs are very important for academic achievement and keeping students out of crime. So, as a school we are very supportive of these programs and making sure funding is sustained.”The Schwarzenegger Institute also stressed that another achievement of these meetings is bipartisan cooperation.“Especially in light of the government shutdown, the fact that Democrats and Republicans are working together because of our invitation is important,” Reiss said. “This is the other great accomplishment that we are doing.”Participants in the day’s meetings included senators Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) as well as representatives Karen Bass (D-Ca;if.), Susan Brooks (R-Ind.), Charlie Dent (R-Pa.), Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Tom Petri (R-Wis.), Phil Roe (R-Tenn.), Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), Jack Kingston (R-Ga.), Kristi Noem (R-S.D.) and Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.).Reiss joined Schwarzenegger and Knott on the Policy in Action trip, and Executive Director of the Afterschool Alliance Jodi Grant and CEO of After-School All-Stars Ben Paul also participated.After-School All-Stars, one of the country’s leading after-school programs, was founded in 1992 by Schwarzenegger. The program now serves more than 400 schools in 15 major cities. Activities run from Monday through Friday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., and allows students to be supervised during peak crime hours.Many USC students were supportive of after-school programs.“These programs are a good thing to keep,” said Michelle Ngan, a freshman majoring in biological sciences. “It keeps kids entertained and is good for parents who can’t take care of their kids right after school. Especially because a lot of after-school activities can be very expensive.”Ngan added that though she never attended the programs, many of her friends did.ASAS provides enrichment, academic and health and fitness programs. In the Los Angeles area, the program serves 37 schools and 22,536 students.“This is an important issue that affects Los Angeles and also the country,” Knott said. “Especially for the younger students coming into our education system. They need this type of support and it would help the future of our economy.”After their three meetings Wednesday, Schwarzenegger and Knott visited the After-School All-Stars program at Stuart Hobson Middle School in Washington, D.C. Follow us on Twitter @dailytrojanlast_img read more

Public Diplomacy magazine holds first symposium event

first_imgThe Master of Public Diplomacy program at USC, in collaboration with the School of International Relations, coordinated the symposium “On the Right Side of History: Public Diplomacy & LGBT Rights Today.”The one-day event was organized by the Jocelyn Coffin, editor in chief of Public Diplomacy Magazine, Maria Portela, marketing editor of the magazine and Nicholas Cull, professor of public diplomacy and director of the master’s program in public diplomacy. The event was the magazine’s first-ever symposium at USC, centering on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights, and serves as a preamble to the Winter 2015 issue of Public Diplomacy Magazine.The event met the magazine’s mission as stated on its website: to provide a common forum for the views of both scholars and practitioners from around the globe, in order to explore key concepts in the study and practice of public diplomacy.A brainstorming session resulted in the creation of the event.Speeches at the event covered a wide variety of LGBT political concerns, ranging from historical beliefs to a session on a gay diplomat’s experiences abroad. The keynote speaker was David Huebner, former United States Ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa.PD Magazine includes different topics, case studies and interviews in each issue. Though the winter edition of 2014 was on gastrodiplomacy, and the summer 2014 issue on non-state actors, the next issue planned will cover topics surrounding LGBT rights. Focused not only on the momentous progress of the LGBT movement, but also the challenges for public diplomacy efforts in environments that are hostile to LGBT individuals, the goal of this issue is to provide a forum for meaningful discussion of LGBT rights.At the event, Laura Belmonte, department head and professor of history at Oklahoma State University, highlighted LGBT issues in history, and the steps taken to solve them. James Pamment, assistant professor of media and communication studies at Karlstad University, spoke about the need to improve conditions for the LGBT community and consider LGBT as a research topic.Former Consul General of the U.S. Consulate General at Osaka-Japan Patrick Linehan, shared his personal experiences and struggles as a gay man in the diplomatic world. The session was titled ‘The Life of a Gay Diplomat.’ He started his speech by reading an excerpt from a book he and his husband wrote that depicted their life as a gay diplomatic couple abroad, and gave valuable insight into how the LGBT community was treated in Japan in the late ’80s.“Different countries hated my husband and me for several reasons, but we had to fight for our own rights,” Linehan said during at the event.Linehan emphasized that the situation has improved over the years, but there were issues and problems still happening in the early 2000s. He proposed a mantra: “Be visible.”“Be visible, and realize the power of visibility and believing in yourself,” Linehan said.last_img read more

Fate not fitting for departing seniors

first_imgWhen the USC men’s basketball team plays its final home game of the regular season Saturday against Oregon State, it will be the last time that three seniors take the floor at the Galen Center.There will undoubtedly be a pleasant celebration to honor the contributions that the departing players made to the program during their time in Los Angeles. But if the school really wanted to pay tribute to the trio, it would dole out an apology.These players — Mike Gerrity, Marcus Johnson and Dwight Lewis — essentially took the fall for someone else’s mistake. None of them will get a shot to play in the Pac-10 tournament or the NCAA tournament because of self-imposed sanctions stemming from the O.J. Mayo scandal.That’s not to say that USC basketball didn’t need to be reprimanded. If the school found the program committed violations — even if it conveniently won’t specify exactly what those violations were — then the team surely deserves to pay for its transgressions. But with the limited reach of justice in college athletics, it’s unfortunate these three seniors had to pay when some of the guilty parties have skipped town.And it’s hard to think of more innocent people than those who were actually affected.The story of Gerrity’s unlikely path to USC seemed like it might have a fitting end with the possibility of a postseason run, but instead it will end abruptly when the Trojans close out their season next week against Arizona. Can someone at least refund him that semester’s worth of tuition he had to pay before he got his scholarship?Johnson not only gave USC basketball some much-needed highlight moments in the last two seasons, but he also showed remarkable willpower. After initially declaring for the NBA draft and appearing to be the latest part of USC’s basketball exodus, Johnson stuck it out for his senior year and came back to a team in transition. But maybe it was all worth it if Johnson can parlay this year into a better shot at the NBA.And Lewis might be the most well-versed of anyone in the ongoing drama that is USC basketball. The three-year starter has overseen some of the most prosperous — yet tumultuous — stretches in the program’s history. Through it all, he has played the role of good soldier despite having to deal with some animated personalities.In all, the seniors have every right to be upset with the hand they were dealt. But to their credit, it wouldn’t be their style to complain about the circumstances.“When the whole sanction thing came down, I said that the last thing we would do is talk about it,” USC coach Kevin O’Neill said in his weekly conference call. “Our guys have been great in terms of how they’ve carried themselves throughout this.”It feels odd to have a team that is so low on ego must suffer for the sins of its unpunished predecessors. And not having a shot to play in the conference tournament is a pretty big blow.Last year’s unexpected tournament run was like a three-day party at the Staples Center. The Trojans suddenly looked rejuvenated and joyful, a stark difference from the team that ended the regular season so business-like.Of course, there’s no guarantee that the Trojans would even be candidates for an NCAA tournament berth with their current record. Trying to determine how the season would have played out differently would be a fruitless task, and the team’s current record doesn’t ensure anything. But last year’s team looked dead in the water before it secured its space via automatic bid.And it sure would have been fun to see what those three seniors could have done in their last stand.“Tackling Dummy” runs Thursdays. To comment on this article visit dailytrojan.com or e-mail Michael at middlehu@usc.edu.last_img read more

Nine NPFL Clubs Get Financial Advisors ahead of Listing on Capital…

first_imgDuro IkhazuagbeThe nine Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) clubs aspiring to be listed at NASD’s Over The Counter (OTC) trading on Tuesday met with financial, banking and legal advisors that will make the dream of financial independence come true for the topflight teams owned by state governments except one.At a parley inside the conference room of the Westwood Hotel on Awolowo Road in Ikoyi, Lagos, the nine clubs — Shooting Stars, Kano Pillars, Enyimba, Rangers, El Kanemi, Gombe United, Wikki Tourists, Abia Warriors and MFM FC — were introduced to representatives of the various issuing houses. Only MFM FC is privately owned. All the teams were nominated by the League Management Company (LMC) for the process at it’s last annual general meeting.NASD Plc is the promoter of a trading network that eases secondary market trading of all securities of unquoted public companies primarily in Nigeria. It is part of its brief to help the mostly cash starved clubs stimulate growth by easing the capital raising process.Speaking at the event, the Chief Executive Officer of the LMC, Hon. Nduka Irabor, called on the clubs to take full advantage of this interesting development to become financially independent.“When we took over the administration of the league few years ago, clubs were having less than 2,000 fans but all that has changed today. Teams like Kano Pillars, Rangers International of Enugu and Shooting Stars consistently attract huge spectators at their centres. Kano Pillars’ home games attract no less than 25,000 fans to the Sani Abacha Stadium weekly,” revealed the LMC chief.The former member of the House of Representatives however stressed further that of these fans, only very few could boast of having the replica jerseys of their darling clubs.“Merchandising is key for financial success. What is the essence of having huge fans if the clubs cannot seize the opportunity to make money from this?“We are now opening up ownership space to create more jobs, more money and also better professionalism in the running of football generally,” reasoned Irabor.He also stressed why the NPFL clubs need to get out of their present financial predicament.“I have been in a room with two governors and talked for 45 minutes on how to invest in football but they didn’t understand.“These governors need money to fix roads, potholes, leaking school roofs. They don’t have the luxury of throwing money into football beyond what they are doing now. They need men like you (financial advisors) to assist the clubs grow,” he concluded.The Managing Director of NASD, Bola Ajomale, advised the representatives of the clubs to be ready to follow all the template for them to be listed.“There must be accountability and transparency. The teams must all be duly registered like any other corporate body. The issuing houses will guide the teams accordingly,” Ajomale said.Officials of the 18 leading issuing houses, who were shortlisted to act as advisors for the clubs, were also present at the meeting where they commended the efforts of the LMC over the proposed listing of nine of the 20 clubs in the NPFL.The Nigeria Football Federation’s (NFF) First Vice-President, Seyi Akinwunmi, also commended the LMC and declared that: “Football has come of age today.”Some of the issuing houses at the meeting included Finmal Financial Services Limited, Cowrie Assets Management Limited, Fundvine Capital & Securities, GTI Capital, Afrinvest Securities, Bestworth Assets & Trust Limited and Capital Assets Limited.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegramlast_img read more

This Ex-Manchester United Goalkeeper Is Back In The EPL

first_imgRelatedManchester United Sign Lee Grant On A Free TransferJuly 3, 2018In “England”Burnley Sign England Goalkeeper Joe HartAugust 7, 2018In “England”Premier League 2020-21 Fixtures: Battle of Nigerians On Opening WeekendAugust 20, 2020In “England” Burnley have signed Danish international Anders Lindegaard on a short-term deal until the end of the season.The former Manchester United shot stopper was a free agent after leaving English Championship side Preston at the end of last season.Lancashire outfit Burnley were dealt a big blow after first-choice goalkeeper and England international Tom Heaton suffered a dislocated shoulder last week Sunday prompting surgery. He would be out of action for some months and manager Sean Dyche has wasted no time in snapping up a short-term cover.In Heaton’s absence, 25-year old Nick Pope has started the club’s last two games.Speaking on the move, 33-year old Lindegaard said: “I am here to try and sharpen up the competition in the goalkeepers’ department.”“It seems like an honest place and a very hard-working place and I appreciate being a part of it.” he added.Anders Lindegaard, who has five caps for Denmark, conceded 18 goals in 10 games while he was at Preston last season and has sealed a short-term deal with Burnley after training with them for one week.last_img read more

Toddlers Get Major Surprise With Local PNC Visit

first_imgAddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterShare to MoreAddThisThe weather outside might have been unpleasant, but that didn’t stop kids at the Childcare Center from smiling thanks to a special visit.Local PNC workers dropped off some goodies including books, and 2 iPads along with a $3,000 grant in honor of the PNC Grants for Great Hours Program. PNC volunteer, Angela Tanner said giving this grant to the kids makes her feel wonderful.AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterShare to MoreAddThisContinue ReadingPrevious 18-Year-Old Rose Jasman Honored by Boys & Girls ClubNext Habitat for Humanity Providing Quilt Raffle for Shelter Awareness Monthlast_img read more

Manchester United winger Nani named in Portugal’s 23-man World Cup squad

first_imgNani has been included in Portugal’s World Cup squad despite an injury-hit season during which he made only 12 appearances for Manchester United. Portugal’s coach, Paulo Bento, on Monday announced the 23-man squad he will take to Brazil, with the main surprise being the choice of the Braga midfielder Rafa, who has just one cap.Nani has had a disappointing year because of injuries and poor form but Bento said the 27-year-old winger has shaken off the problems that helped keep him sidelined. “Nani had a problem up until March but he’s improved and he’s been training normally since then,” he said.He said he picked the 21-year-old Rafa because he can play either in midfield or attack. Rafa has previously played half a friendly game against Cameroon.Cristiano Ronaldo, who has recently had injury problems at Real Madrid, will be assessed by the Portuguese medical team after Saturday’s Champions League final against Atlético Madrid in Lisbon, Bento said.”We will work out a plan to get him ready in time for the World Cup,” Bento said.The midfielder William Carvalho, regarded as one of Portugal’s promising newcomers, was also included. Like Ronaldo and Nani, Carvalho is a product of Sporting Lisbon’s youth academy. He has made two appearances for Portugal. Bento has selected just two members of the Benfica team that won the domestic treble in Portugal, picking the defender André Almeida and midfielder Ruben Amorim. SquadGoalkeepers: Beto (Sevilla), Eduardo (Braga), Rui Patrício (Sporting).Defenders: Andre Almeida (Benfica), Bruno Alves (Fenerbahce), Fabio Coentrao (Real Madrid), Joao Pereira (Valencia), Neto (Zenit St Petersburg), Pepe (Real Madrid), Ricardo Costa (Valencia).Midfielders: Joao Moutinho (Monaco), Miguel Veloso (Dynamo Kiev), Raul Meireles (Fenerbahce), Ruben Amorim (Benfica), William Carvalho (Sporting Lisbon), Rafa (Braga). Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Eder (Braga), Helder Postiga (Lazio), Hugo Almeida (Besiktas), Nani (Manchester United), Varela (FC Porto), Vieirinha (Wolfsburg).last_img read more

Reliever Hansel Robles making strong impression on Angels this month

first_img Angels’ poor pitching spoils an Albert Pujols milestone Robles, 28, was claimed on waivers from the New York Mets in June. He had a 5.03 ERA with the Mets, but he’s posted a 3.06 mark in 36 games with the Angels.Sign up for Home Turf and get exclusive stories every SoCal sports fan must read, sent daily. Subscribe here.He relies mostly on a 97 mph fastball and a slider. If he can continue to develop the changeup that he’s broken out lately, he could be a piece of a good bullpen going forward.“He has made some adjustments,” Scioscia said. “He’s understanding the ability to change speeds, how effective it is when you throw 97. I think he’s really progressing with that.”Robles, who will be out of options next year, goes into a 2019 bullpen mix that also includes Ty Buttrey, Blake Parker, José Álvarez, Cam Bedrosian, Justin Anderson, Williams Jerez and Noé Ramírez. Keynan Middleton, the Angels’ closer in April before he had Tommy John surgery, could be back by midseason.BUTTREY OUTTy Buttrey, who had briefly ascended to the closer role, is not going to pitch again in the final week of the season because of a recurrence of the right knee bursitis that was bothering him at the time he was traded to the Angels in July. Angels’ Mike Trout working on his defense, thanks to Twitter Cowart has proved to be a versatile defensive player who is excellent at third and reliable at the other infield spots, plus left and right field.“Kaleb has really blossomed as a person on a major league baseball depth chart because of his versatility,” Scioscia said. “This guy has been very valuable to be able to play six positions. At third base, he’s Gold Glove-caliber.”At the plate, however, Cowart owns a career .180 average and .545 OPS over 367 plate appearances. His best shot at extended playing time was last August. Cowart was the everyday second baseman for about a month – in between Danny Espinosa and Brandon Phillips – and he still hit .205 in that stretch. He’s 5 for 32 since Fletcher’s injury created an everyday spot for him.“I’m feeling more comfortable here of late,” Cowart said. “I just kind of keep going and learning to be as consistent as I can, whether it’s coming off the bench or playing every day.”There might be one alternative track for Cowart, who was considered a first-round talent as both an infielder and pitcher when he was drafted in 2010. The Angels considered moving him to the mound when he was struggling to hit several years ago in the minors.Now, the organization is particularly open-minded in terms of having two-way players. In addition to Shohei Ohtani, they sent two minor league outfielders to instructional league to see if they could become two-way players.“That is cool,” Cowart said. “I personally haven’t thought about it. No one has approached me about it. I don’t know how it would play out, health-wise, but I think it’s very interesting.”UP NEXTAngels (RHP Jaime Barría, 10-9, 3.54) vs. A’s (TBA), Friday, 7 p.m., Fox Sports West, KLAA (830 AM)Angels catcher Joe Hudson congratulates relief pitcher Hansel Robles after he closed out their 4-1 victory over the Texas Rangers on Tuesday night at Angel Stadium. With an improving changeup, Robles could be a reliable piece of the team’s bullpen in 2019. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) Angels offense breaks out to split doubleheader with Astros ANAHEIM — Add Hansel Robles to the list of players who are using this month to set themselves up for a more prominent role on the 2019 Angels.Robles, who picked up his first save with the Angels on Tuesday night, has allowed two earned runs in 10-1/3 innings since coming off the disabled list with a shoulder issue in late August.He blanked the Texas Rangers in the ninth inning on Tuesday, including throwing six changeups, a pitch he hadn’t used much previously.“He’s been lights out the last handful of appearances,” Manager Mike Scioscia said. “You see the velocity, and he’s come up with a really good changeup. He’s got a nice slider. He’s got three good pitches for any situation. He’s a guy that’s definitely putting his best foot forward with the opportunities he’s had this last month.”center_img Jose Suarez’s rocky start sinks Angels in loss to Astros Angels’ Shohei Ohtani spending downtime working in outfield Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error He said he started to feel some discomfort during his last two outings, including Saturday’s nightmare when he blew a lead in Houston.Buttrey, who said the condition is nothing serious, will simply rest and work on strengthening his legs over the winter. He didn’t want to keep pitching through it, for fear of changing his mechanics and hurting his arm.COWART’S FUTUREDavid Fletcher’s hamstring injury has provided Kaleb Cowart with a chance to get a solid two weeks’ worth of at-bats to carry into a critical winter.Cowart, 26, will be out of options next year, so time is running short for him to establish himself as a major leaguer.Related Articleslast_img read more

Whicker: Lonzo Ball’s defense gets better in absentia

first_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error LOS ANGELES — The thing is, Lonzo Ball was not drafted for nor was he particularly renowned for his defense.But with each passing day, loss and humiliation, the Lakers consider him some sort of defensive transformer, a 94-foot Jack Lambert.They would like you to consider Ball the same way, as the world struggles to comprehend how LeBron James’ team could be five games behind Danilo Gallinari’s team and a game-and-a-half behind Buddy Hield’s team, with the Lakers playing the Clippers on Monday night.They would like to trace this 23-33 stretch of parody-account basketball to injuries alone, and not just the one that James overcame. Ball has been out with an ankle sprain and a bone bruise since Jan. 19, and the Lakers have lost 11 of 16. For Lakers’ LeBron James, Jacob Blake’s shooting is bigger issue than a big Game 4 victory On Mamba Night, the Lakers make short work of Blazers to take 3-1 series lead Portland star Damian Lillard (knee) to miss Game 5 vs. Lakers Video: What LeBron James said about Jacob Blake … ‘Black people in America are scared’ center_img But James and Walton both think it starts out front defensively, where Ball used to be. Fans might not want to hear that, but the numbers don’t refute it.Since Ball left, the Lakers are 30th in the league in defensive efficiency, the way the NBA defines it.Before the injury, the Lakers were giving up 113.4 points per game. Since the injury, they’re giving up 121.5.The opponents’ field goal percentage was 44.8 before and is 48.0 since. Foes averaged 32.9 3-point attempts before and have averaged 35.3 since.“Our starting point guard is one of the best in the league on defense,” James said. “He can pick up guards all over the court, he gets deflections and steals. Not having him has hurt our defense as well.”“It’s hurt us a lot,” Walton said. “He’s a big, versatile guard. He’s strong, he can guard multiple positions, and he’s what you need in today’s NBA, with spread offenses and pick-and-rolls and these guards who can shoot. He does a nice job navigating through all that, being the front line of our defense.”That said, the Lakers have no business losing to the Knicks, Suns, Hawks and Cavaliers of the world, none of whom have James or Kuzma or any particular interest in winning.Their casual effort through three quarters in Phoenix was the fodder of the sporting commentariat for two days. James was not spared. Most skilled players will get numbers if they have the ball as much as he does, but it’s difficult to recall James playing this much me-against-the-world basketball in the past. When he does that, everyone else does, too. Brandon Ingram has been revelatory lately, but he also is much better when he plays with others. Nor are the Lakers better without Ivica Zubac, even though JaVale McGee went 10 for 10 at Phoenix.And even though James flayed himself for some of the mishaps Saturday night, it is uncomfortable to hear him separate himself from the rest of the group after they all lose together.Related Articles After they took a butte-whipping for most of Saturday’s game in Phoenix and then got close enough to blame the eventual loss on a blown call, Kyle Kuzma observed that there was “something wrong” with this team and they had to fix it, having lost to “every bad team in the league.”“If he said that today I might be concerned,” Lakers coach Luke Walton said on Monday morning. “After a loss, players and coaches get emotional. The Phoenix game was bad. We’re not hiding from that.”The rest of the world has run with Kuzma’s comments, has been eager to believe that something is wrong from within.The young guys lost heart during the trade rumors. James hasn’t been the leader that we anticipated. There is negligible outside shooting, even though Reggie Bullock and Mike Muscala were brought in to fix that.They don’t care or they care too much. They have nasty habits, they take tea at 3. You name it. “I don’t think we’re flawed,” James said. “I think we’re inexperienced. There isn’t a problem with the team, besides winning or losing. We still have an opportunity to be great today.”Greatness will be needed on other days, too. The Lakers have Denver and Boston here this week. They still visit Oklahoma City, Toronto and Milwaukee. The final two games of the season are with Utah and Portland. But when you can’t handle the truth in Phoenix, who cares who and where you play?Someone asked Walton about staying in the moment. “The moment is happening,” he replied. “You might as well embrace it.”You might as well surround Ball’s ankle with hot cloths and exotic oils, too, until he returns and we discover what is cause and what is coincidence. Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook and other NBA stars pay tribute to Kobe Bryant last_img read more