Ex-Werder-Star Marko Marin auf dem Weg nach Belgrad. Der Chelsea-Profi trifft James-Bond-Darsteller Pierce Brosnan.Foto: instagram
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Ex-Werder-Star Marko Marin auf dem Weg nach Belgrad. Der Chelsea-Profi trifft James-Bond-Darsteller Pierce Brosnan.Foto: instagram
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Posted by Arne Ruhnau News
Miami Heat forward LeBron James (6) shoots against Milwaukee Bucks forward John Henson (31) during the first half of Game 2 in their first-round NBA basketball playoff series, Tuesday, April 23, 2013 in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
MIAMI (AP) — Dwyane Wade scored 21 points, LeBron James finished with 19 and the Miami Heat took off in the fourth quarter to pull away and beat the Milwaukee Bucks 98-86 in Game 2 of the teams’ Eastern Conference first-round series on Tuesday night.
Chris Bosh, Shane Battier and Chris Andersen all scored 10 points for the Heat, who now lead the best-of-seven 2-0. Game 3 is Thursday in Milwaukee.
The Heat scored the first 12 points of the fourth quarter, needing just over 2 minutes to blow open what had been a three-point game.
Ersan Ilyasova scored 21 points for Milwaukee, which got 16 from Mike Dunleavy and 14 from Larry Sanders. The Bucks’ starting guards, Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis, combined for only 15 points.
And an already-daunting task for Milwaukee — beating the reigning NBA champions — just got tougher. James is 10-0 when his teams have a 2-0 series lead, and Wade is 8-0 in that situation.
The first 2:23 of the fourth quarter decided everything. Andersen started it with a three-point play, James had a layup not long afterward and the Heat were starting to roll. Another basket by Andersen off a pass from Ray Allen made it 77-65, and James found Norris Cole for a 3-pointer that capped the flurry and made it 80-65.
Just like that, it was over.
Jennings and Ellis combined for 48 points in Game 1, and the Bucks got blown out. So in the first half of Game 2, they combined for one point, were held to five shots that all missed … and the Bucks were within 47-43 at halftime.
Chances are, very few would have seen that coming.
But play was sloppy from the outset, with the teams combining for eight turnovers in the first 6 minutes to set the tone for a clumsy first half. Wade, James and Chalmers shot 15 for 19 combined in the first half for Miami — and the rest of the Heat were 3 for 17. For Milwaukee, Ilyasova had 12 points in the first 10 minutes, then two points the rest of the half.
So much like in Game 1, Milwaukee came out for the second half with a chance of stealing home-court advantage.
And for the entirety of the third quarter, the Bucks hung around, though the Heat showed some signs of getting things going. Bosh had a dunk for a six-point lead, then made a jumper — on a play that James started by running down a loose ball and flicking it between his legs for a save along the sideline — for a 68-60 lead, what was then the biggest Heat margin of the night.
The Bucks got within 68-65 to end the third, but then came the run that Miami had been waiting for all evening.
Both teams got a big scare with 6:59 left. Battier drove for a layup from the right wing, and Sanders rushed down the middle of the lane to attempt a block. A collision ensued and both players hit the court awkwardly, Battier hitting his head on the hardwood and Sanders — who fell over Battier — grabbing at his right knee after the play.
Battier made the two free throws he was awarded, then was subbed out of the game and departed for the Heat locker room to get stitches on his chin. Sanders was taken out of the game about a minute later, though remained on the Bucks’ bench.
NOTES: It’s the 11th time the Heat have gone up 2-0 in a playoff series. They’re 10-0 in the previous instances. … Milwaukee has lost 21 of its last 29 playoff games. … Sanders was third in the NBA’s Most Improved Player voting, behind Indiana’s Paul George and New Orleans’ Greivis Vasquez. “Look where he was last year and where he is today. The improvement is very obvious,” said Bucks coach Jim Boylan, who thought Sanders should have won. … Jennings was held without a first-half basket for only the fifth time all season.
Ursula Andress, Grace Jones oder doch Halle Berry? Nein: Das unvergesslichste Bond-Girl aller Zeiten ist – Queen Elizabeth II. Ihr Überraschungs-Auftritt an der Seite von Daniel Craig überzeugte jedenfalls die Britische Akademie für Film- und Fernsehkunst.
Statt eines knappen Bikinis oder eines tief ausgeschnittenen Kleides trug die 86-Jährige bei ihrem Einsatz als Bond-Girl ein hochgeschlossenes Kostüm in Pastellrosa und trotzdem ist Queen Elizabeth II. für John Willis „das bislang unvergesslichste Bond-Girl aller Zeiten“. Dieses Urteil kommt durchaus von kompetenter Stelle, Willis ist Vorsitzender der Britischen Akademie für Film- und Fernsehkunst (Bafta). Die Organisation ehrte das britische Staatsoberhaupt am Donnerstag mit einem Ehrenpreis für ihren Überraschungsauftritt neben James-Bond-Darsteller Daniel Craig bei der Eröffnung der Olympischen Spiele in London 2012.
In dem Kurzfilm anlässlich der olympischen Eröffnungsfeier im vergangenen Juli war die Queen zum Vergnügen von Millionen Fernsehzuschauern erstmals als Schauspielerin aufgetreten. In dem Streifen flog sie an der Seite von Daniel Craig alias James Bond in einem Hubschrauber zum Olympiastadion, wo dann vor den Augen der Live-Zuschauer ein Queen-Double mit einem Fallschirm über dem Stadion absprang.
Mit der Auszeichnung würdigte die Bafta aber nicht nur den denkwürdigen Bond-Girl-Auftritt, sondern auch das Engagement der Queen zur Unterstützung der britischen Filmindustrie. Sie ist Schirmherrin zahlreicher Organisationen, die sich der Filmkunst widmen.
Zur feierlichen Preisverleihung auf Schloss Windsor waren rund 300 Gäste geladen, darunter unter anderem der als Dracula-Darsteller und Bond-Bösewicht bekannte Schauspieler Christopher Lee sowie die Produzentin des jüngsten und bislang erfolgreichsten James-Bond-Films „Skyfall“, Barbara Broccoli. Überreicht wurde der Preis von Schauspieler und Regisseur Kenneth Branagh, der die britische Filmlandschaft vor allem durch seine Shakespeare-Verfilmungen geprägt hat. Als Hamlet und Co konnte Branagh royale Manieren schon unzählige Male auf der Bühne und vor der Kamera üben.
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So etwas kennt man eigentlich nur von James Bond: Autofahren in Schräglage auf zwei Rädern. In Saudi-Arabien ist das „Sidewall Skiing“ ein gefährliches Hobby. Die wagemutigen Fahrer tauschen sogar Räder während der Fahrt.
Es sieht aus wie ein verspäteter Aprilscherz, doch in Saudi-Arabien scheint das wirklich ein neuer Extremsport zu sein: Seit einigen Tagen kursieren im Netz spektakuläre Videos von jungen Männern, die mit Autos und Geländewagen auf zwei Rädern auf einem Highway durch die Wüste fahren. In einer Hyundai-Limousine oder einem
Land Cruiser-Geländewagen legen die Jugendlichen so wahrhaft filmreife und hochgefährliche Stunts hin. Beim Betrachten der Videos bleibt einem die Luft weg: Die jungen Männer klettern sogar während der Fahrt aus dem Auto und montieren die in der Luft stehenden Räder ab.
Wie die Nachrichtenagentur Reuters berichtet, soll das „Sideway Skiing“ unter offenbar ziemlich gelangweilten Saudi-arabischen Jugendlichen ein beliebter Sport sein. Inspiriert wurden die wagemutigen Fahrer möglicherweise durch ein Musikvideo der Sängerin M.I.A. In dem Clip „Bad Girls“ drehen die Protagonisten irre Pirouetten mit Alfa Romeo und BMW-Limousinen und fahren ähnlich wie die Jugendlichen aus Saudi-Arabien in einem 3er
auf zwei Rädern. „Live fast, die young“ lautet eine Zeile aus dem Video – „Lebe schnell und stirb jung“. Ob es beim „SUV-Surfen“ in der Wüste bereits Unfälle gegeben hat, ist nicht bekannt.
Wie die ausgeflippten Fahrer ihre Autos in Schräglage bringen, ist in den Videos nicht zu sehen. Hilfsmittel wie Stützräder jedenfalls sind in den Filmen nicht zu entdecken. Die Szenen erinnern an den James Bond-Film „Diamantenfieber“ aus dem Jahr 1971. Dort fuhr ein Stuntman einen Ford
Mustang Mach 1 auf zwei Rädern. Er steuerte den Wagen dafür auf eine Rampe und hielt den Mustang dann mit leichten Korrekturbewegungen in der Lenkung auf zwei Rädern.
Percolate, a startup that helps clients create and share content, is taking a big step in what co-founder James Gross calls the company’s “visual strategy.” Obviously, images are a big part of what businesses want to share on social media. And they could do that sharing through Percolate already, but the service didn’t include many significant features to make the process easier. That’s changing today, with the launch of integrations with Getty Images and Aviary. Thanks to the Getty Images partnership, Percolate customers now have access to a broader library of photos, a library where they don’t have to worry about whether or not they have the rights to use the images (because they already know the answer is yes)
(CNN) — Preeti Varma was inconsolable after seeing her pet cat crushed to death at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport as the creature was loaded onto a flight to Singapore.
“You see a crowd forming round her but she is given no medical aid and no one does anything,” Varma says of the March 23 incident.
Her grief soon turned to rage among tens of thousands of online pet lovers worldwide.
The day after Varma’s cat, James Dean, died, a friend published online an open letter to Jet Airways, the international airline that had been carrying the cat.
The letter demanded a full explanation and apology from the privately owned Indian airline and blasted its “insensitive” handling of the tragedy and pet travel procedures.
The blog post spread quickly across social media sites and within 24 hours had 20,000 hits from across the world.
Hundreds of furious animal lovers also unleashed Twitter fury at Jet Airways, forcing the airline to issue two public statements on Facebook.
The cat, named James Dean, escaped from its cage and was hit by a trolley.
Varma, 26, a brand strategist, paid Rs 4,500 (US$83) to fly her rescued Indian street cat called James Dean on her flight.
She got engaged last August and moved to Singapore six months ago to be with her fiancé but left her pet with friends in New Delhi while she sorted out the paperwork and quarantine.
After check-in, Varma was asked to remove James Dean from the cage so it could be X-rayed. The cat immediately escaped Varma’s grip and scuttled under the machine.
Half an hour later Varma got her cat back inside the IATA-approved cage. She added an extra wire on top, double checked it was locked and handed her to the staff.
But her biggest nightmare came while waiting at the gate to board her 8.55 a.m. flight. Jet Airways staff approached her and informed her: “The cage is empty. The cat is no more.”
Shocked, she broke down in tears and refused to board the flight demanding to see her one-year-old kitty.
Jet Airways staff approached her and informed her: “The cage is empty. The cat is no more.”
After having her Duty Free bottle of gin confiscated, she was escorted back to check-in where she was handed her beloved cat’s corpse in its cage.
Jet Airways staff then tried to escort her out of the airport but she demanded to see the CCTV footage.
After waiting for two hours, she watched in horror as footage showed her cat jumping out of a luggage trolley onto the tarmac and being run over by a trolley coming in the opposite direction.
“She squirms a bit and then dies. Three airline staff stand around and they motion to a garbage man to pick her,” Varma says, speaking from Singapore. ” He picks her up with newspaper by the neck and drops her into the cage.”
More than 300 people have since signed a petition calling for better training of Jet Airways staff on handling pets and better infrastructure for pet travel.
More than 300 people have since signed a petition calling for better training of Jet Airways staff on handling pets and better infrastructure for pet travel.
A Jet Airways spokesperson tells CNN.com: “On close inspection of the container, it was observed that the wire mesh in the front of the container was bent outwards and pushed out of the main frame.
“It is inferred that the pet forced itself out of the container by pushing the wire mesh and thereby creating a gap for it to come free.”
Varma insists negligence by Jet Airways caused the death of her cat.
“I think either the cage was thrown so violently onto the trolley that it snapped open, or someone let her out. There is no way my cat could have pushed the cage open by herself,” she says.
Varma now wants Jet Airways to apologize not just for the incident but the “insensitive way” she claims she was treated, being left alone shaking and crying for hours.
She also wants the airline to tell her what steps they are taking to improve pet travel safety.
The Jet Airways spokesperson said the airline has embarked on a global review of other airport and airline procedures.
“I don’t want any compensation. They should make a donation to an animal organization,” she adds. “They should have a vet present at the airport and an animal handler to accompany the pet to the aircraft.”
The Jet Airways spokesperson says the airline has embarked on a global review of other airport and airline procedures.
The spokesperson said: “We sincerely regret the accidental demise of James Dean, pet cat of Ms. Preeti Varma. All our staff are fully conversant and trained in the process of handling household pets and necessary infrastructure is available at the airports to deal with such movements of pets.
“If the actions of any members of our team came across as insensitive we would like to assure that this was unintentional and to apologize to Ms. Varma.”
International Pet Travel Consultant Anupama Vinayak, who runs pet relocation service Furry Flyers in India, which flies 40-50 pets in and out of India each month, said she had never heard of an incident like this.
But she added: “Pet travel is still in a very nascent stage in India. Airlines are trying to put their best foot forward but there still is a lot of room for improvement because India itself is not a very pet-friendly country,” she said.
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Bei einer „Batman“-Premiere in der US-Stadt Aurora soll er ein Blutbad angerichtet haben, im Prozess sorgte er mit feuerroten Haaren und apathischem Verhalten für Empörung. Nun will sich Aurora-Killer James Holmes angeblich schuldig bekennen.
Die Staatsanwaltschaft hat sich noch nicht entschieden, ob sie auf die Forderung nach der Todesstrafe verzichten will. James Holmes, der in einem Kino im US-Bundesstaat Colorado zwölf Menschen erschossen haben soll, will es ihnen offenbar so schwer wie möglich machen. Um
zu entgehen, will Holmes sich schuldig bekennen, berichtete der amerikanische TV-Sender Denver News 9 am Mittwoch. Die nächste Anhörung ist für kommenden Montag geplant. Das Hauptverfahren soll im August beginnen.
Dem mutmaßliche Amokläufer wird vorgeworfen, am 20. Juli 2012 während einer Premiere des „Batman“-Streifens „The Dark Knight Rises“ in einem Kino in der Stadt Aurora 12 Menschen erschossen und 58 verletzt zu haben. Er soll sich in 166 Anklagepunkten verantworten, allen voran Mord und versuchter Mord. Der heute 25-Jährige war direkt nach dem Amoklauf im Kino festgenommen worden. Strittig ist, ob Holmes zum Zeitpunkt der Tat geistig krank war, so dass er nicht für das Verbrechen bestraft werden kann.
Die Ankläger portraitierten den Mann als kaltblütigen Killer. Er habe sein Verbrechen über zwei Monate hinweg sorgfältig geplant, sich gezielt die Tatwaffen zugelegt und vor dem Amoklauf sogar noch seine Wohnung als Sprengfalle präpariert. Augenzeugen haben zudem geschildert, mit welcher Seelenruhe Holmes während der nächtlichen Filmpremiere wahllos auf die Kinobesucher schoss.
Die Verteidiger werten genau dieses Verhalten als einen Beweis dafür, dass Holmes geistig krank und damit schuldunfähig sei. Tatsächlich befand er sich vor dem Blutbad in psychiatrischer Behandlung.
Holmes hatte mit seinem Verhalten im Gerichtssaal zu Beginn des Prozesses zudem für Aufsehen und Empörung gesorgt. Mit feuerrot gefärbten Haaren verfolgte er die Ausführungen des Gerichts regelrecht apathisch, ohne eine Gefühlsregung zu zeigen.
Bisher haben es die Verteidiger offengelassen, ob sie auf Unzurechnungsfähigkeit plädieren wollen. Die Staatsanwaltschaft hat bis zum 1. April Zeit zu entscheiden, ob sie die Todesstrafe beantragen will. Der Prozess soll am 5. August mit der Auswahl der Jury beginnen.
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Miami Heat forward LeBron James (6) shoots in front of Orlando Magic forward Maurice Harkless during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Orlando, Fla., Monday, March 25, 2013. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — LeBron James left one rebound shy of a triple-double, feigning a bit of frustration as he checked out of the game.
That’s about all the Miami Heat could complain about these days.
James finished with 24 points, 11 assists and nine rebounds, and the Heat won their 27th straight game by running away in the final minutes to beat the Orlando Magic 108-94 on Monday night.
Mario Chalmers scored 17, and Chris Bosh and Ray Allen each added 12 for Miami, which broke open a tie game with a 13-0 run spanning the end of the third and start of the fourth quarters. Miami eventually pushed the lead to 20 before Heat coach Erik Spoelstra emptied the bench in what became his 250th win with the team.
The Heat now are within six games of matching the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers for the longest winning streak in NBA history.
Jameer Nelson had 27 points and 12 assists for the Magic, who got 20 points from Tobias Harris.
A 20-2 run over 4½ minutes spanning the third and fourth quarters was all it took for Miami to take control for good, and beat the Magic for the third time in three meetings this season — after surviving a pair of earlier nail-biters.
It’s now the second-longest winning streak in American major sports, behind only the Lakers’ run. Baseball’s New York Giants won 26 straight games in 1916, the New England Patriots took 21 consecutive NFL games in 2003 and 2004, and the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins won 17 consecutive times in 1993.
For the Heat, it’s 27 and counting.
This one, like so many others lately, hardly came easily, with Miami not putting the game away until the second half.
Both teams were missing key components, Dwyane Wade for Miami and Nik Vucevic for Orlando.
Wade missed his second straight contest with a sore right knee, one that he said before the game had been bothering him periodically since March 9 and then flared up after a collision against Boston last week. He had an MRI exam over the weekend to rule out any major problems and will be listed as day-to-day before the game in Chicago on Wednesday.
Vucevic sat his third straight game while dealing with a mild concussion. Vucevic averaged a staggering 22.5 points and 25 rebounds in two games against Miami earlier this season. Compounding the injury issues for Orlando was losing power forward Andrew Nicholson, the team’s first player off the bench Monday, to a sprained left ankle just 1:52 after he checked in for what was the only time.
A 9-2 run early in the third gave Miami what was then its biggest lead, 64-53. Instead of deflating the Magic, it seemed to almost inspire the hosts, who answered with probably their best 5-minute stretch of the game, capped by a 3-pointer by Nelson with 3 minutes left that tied the game at 68-all.
And when James missed a layup at the other end, then got called for a foul after the rebound, Orlando may very well have been thinking that the streak could soon be snapped.
Miami needed only 2 minutes to close the quarter with 10 unanswered points, with James doing either the orchestrating or performing. He got loose on a curl for a dunk to start the run, and the Heat took off.
Chris Andersen — the Heat are now 29-1 when he plays — got Miami the ball with a spectacular block against Maurice Harkless. James then cleared everyone out to drive on Harkless, score and get fouled for a three-point play.
That was part of a rough few moments for the rookie out of St. John’s.
Harkless threw the ball into the sideline seats on Orlando’s next possession, and James found Allen for a 3-pointer. Harkless had another turnover with 19.5 seconds left and then fouled James with 4.2 ticks remaining. James missed both shots, but got his own rebound, was fouled by Harris and made those two ensuing free throws for a 78-68 Miami lead.
The run didn’t stop there. Allen started the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer, pushing Miami’s edge to 81-68 as Orlando’s Beno Udrih — who was 0 for 8 from the field at that point — lay writhing in pain under the basket after apparently being hit in the face.
It was injury to insult, at that point.
Norris Cole lobbed one off the glass to James for a dunk and an 83-70 lead, Allen made another 3-pointer on the next possession, James set up Andersen for an alley-oop dunk as half the arena roared in delight as the reigning champions pushed the margin to 18.
Streak, not over.
NOTES: There was practically a baseball All-Star team in attendance, with Ken Griffey Jr., Detroit slugger Prince Fielder and Yankees left-hander CC Sabathia all near one another opposite the Miami bench. Tigers stars Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera were also in the crowd, as was Masters champion Bubba Watson. … Orlando comes to Miami on April 17 in the regular-season finale for both teams.
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Charlotte Bobcats’ Bismack Biyombo (0) blocks Miami Heat’s LeBron James (6) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Miami, Sunday, March 24, 2013. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)
MIAMI (AP) — LeBron James and company put on quite a show for some of the biggest names in sports on Sunday night.
James finished with 32 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds, Chris Bosh added 15 points and the Miami Heat won their 26th straight game, cruising to a 109-77 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats.
The world’s best were courtside in Miami. Novak Djokovic, the top-ranked men’s tennis player. Wladimir Klitschko, the world heavyweight boxing king. Rory McIlroy, who sits atop the golf rankings for at least one more night.
And James responded with another sterling performance, making 11 of 14 shots while helping Miami move within seven wins of matching the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers for the league record of 33 in a row.
Norris Cole scored 15 and Ray Allen added 14 for the Heat, who played without Dwyane Wade, held from the lineup because of right knee soreness that the team believes is minor.
After overcoming yet another slow start, Miami begins a four-game road trip in Orlando on Monday, a swing that will also take the Heat to Chicago, New Orleans and San Antonio.
Charlotte led by 11 in the early going and was within five in the third quarter, but two huge spurts by the Heat were more than enough to put the game away. Miami used a 31-6 run in the first half to erase the deficit, and a 26-5 blitz in the second half finished the job.
Kemba Walker led Charlotte with 20 points, and Gerald Henderson had 18.
James departed with about 8 minutes left, after perhaps the highlight of the night. Chris Andersen blocked a layup try by Walker, doing so with such force that the ball caromed right back into play and basically started a Miami fast break on its own. James capped the sequence with a spectacular dunk, his final points of the night.
Djokovic clapped and smiled. McIlroy — who could lose his No. 1 ranking if Tiger Woods holds on and wins at Bay Hill on Monday — turned toward Heat owner Micky Arison and grinned. Klitschko’s facial expression was one of disbelief.
By then, the only order of business was for some fans to sing “Happy Birthday” to Bosh, which happened with about 3 minutes left. He turned 29 Sunday.
The final score made it look easy, but there were a few frustrating minutes for Miami.
On Friday night, after a third straight game of falling behind by double digits in the early going and not coming out with the sort of energy they’ve grown accustomed to displaying, the Heat said they had to improve on those fronts.
Maybe those improvements will happen Monday.
The Bobcats and Heat played three times during 2012, and Charlotte never led for a single second in any of those contests. The Bobcats did lead by five points when the teams played in Miami this past Feb. 4, but hadn’t held a double-digit lead over the Heat since December 2011.
That is, until Sunday.
Just like Boston, Cleveland and Detroit did before them in the past week, the Bobcats were able to get the early jump on Miami. Charlotte hit eight of its first 14 shots, grabbed a 19-8 lead and had Heat coach Erik Spoelstra calling a quick timeout.
Whatever Spoelstra said in that huddle seemed to be effective.
Miami closed the first quarter on a 15-0 run, taking the lead back on a 60-foot alley-oop by Norris Cole to James, who pointed to the rim and then found a way to catch the long pass from the second-year guard. By the time the Heat burst was over, an 11-point deficit turned into a 39-25 lead — making it a 31-6 swing for Miami, which forced the Bobcats into missing 20 of 22 shots during that stretch.
The outcome was never really in doubt again.
NOTES: Play was briefly delayed in the third quarter because of some power-outage issues involving the scoreboard and game clock. Bosh spent some of the stoppage leading a group of fans in a cheer. … The Bobcats needed a police escort to get to the arena from their hotel, since that particular section of downtown Miami also had a large crowd of people clogging streets for an outdoor electronic music festival. … Heat F Juwan Howard was in uniform, his first time on an active roster since Game 5 of last season’s NBA Finals, and played the final three-plus minutes for the debut appearance of his 19th season. He made his only shot.
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Miami Heat’s LeBron James (6) reacts after scoring in the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday, March 20, 2013, in Cleveland. James scored a team-high 25 points in Miami’s 98-95 win. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Welcome to BracketRacket, your one-stop shopping place for all things NCAA.
Today, LeBron James struggles with “The Decision” (Again? Seriously?), Fox anchor Neil Cavuto tries to order takeout food off a bracket sheet, men debate “hotness,” best-selling crime novelist Robert Crais plots a happy ending for the NCAAs (clue: Duke wins! Duke wins!), and one very sad Kentucky fan refuses to take off his hat.
Oh, and the real tournament begins.
But first, let’s crank up the time machine.
THE DECISION — PART DEUX
It’s July 8, 2010. King James has surrounded himself with props (or real children, still not sure which) inside the Boys & Girls Club of Greenwich, Conn. He is about to end the summer of speculation and make “The Decision.”
Born and raised in Akron, Ohio, James jumped to the NBA after his junior year of high school and the home-state Cleveland Cavaliers are the only pro team he has ever known. But he’s also a free agent and tired of winter.
“I’m going to take my talents to South Beach,” he says, “and join the Miami Heat.”
Now it’s Wednesday, we’re back in Cleveland and James and the Heat are closing in on the NBA record for consecutive games won in a regular season. That first decision looks pretty good in hindsight, especially after James finally got that first championship by beating Oklahoma City in the finals last year. Strangely, though, he will be a free agent again in 2014, and he’s been coy about his future plans.
So AP sports writer Tom Withers sidles up to James at the Heat’s morning shootaround Wednesday and asks the tough question: “Who ya got?”
“Everyone has a chance to win it,” James replies. “Everyone.”
That’s right: The King still hadn’t filled out his NCAA bracket, either.
He likes Louisville and Kansas, Indiana and Ohio State. He just can’t — stop me if you’ve heard this before — commit.
“There’s always going to be one sleeper,” he told Withers. “There’s always going to be a VCU or a Butler or Norfolk State that’s going to be out there in the Elite Eight. We’ll see.”
Nothing indecisive about the result later that night, though. James leads the Heat back from 27 down in the third quarter to win and extend their streak to 24 straight. The real highlight, though, comes, when a young man runs onto the floor mid-game wearing a T-shirt that read: “We Miss You, 2014 Come Back” (watch it here: http://bit.ly/101q9N8 )
As security hauled him away, James patted the guy on the head.
“There are metal detectors here, so we were OK,” James said. “I embraced it.”
No word yet on who the kid was picking.
‘WHAT DO YOU MEAN, GET MY OWN CHICKEN SALAD?’
Neil Cavuto is a serious news guy. He said so himself a half-dozen times in his “Common Sense” segment Wednesday on Fox. But even he couldn’t resist trying to glom onto the coattails of the NCAAs at this time of year.
In his opening segment, the anchor decided to chide President Obama for failing to submit a budget on time. But how to tie it into the tournament? Try an NCAA-styled graphic showing that while the president had completed his brackets ahead of the tournament every year in office, he’d blown through the deadline for submitting a budget in four of those five.
Sure. And so finally, as his guest, Guy Benson, the political editor of Townhall.com, was offering a light-hearted defense of the president, Cavuto cut him off and conceded, “I don’t understand this bracket thing.”
But at least he knows now why everybody on his staff has been running around the studio this week waving sheets of paper, and why getting lunch ordered in could be a problem for the next two.
“At first,” Cavuto conceded a moment later, “I thought it was for takeout orders!”
We report, you decide.
SO HE’S GOT THAT GOING FOR HIM …
Yesterday, BracketRacket sought out Playboy founder Hugh Hefner’s take on the tournament, only to find out he doesn’t even watch.
Today, in the interests of fairness, we turn to that other aging arbiter of the culture of “hotness,” Cosmo.
The magazine just unveiled its “Hottest Guys of March Madness 2013″ list. See it here: http://bit.ly/ZO5Wc4
There are plenty of “hot” guys on it, if by that you mean big-name players who could go on a tear and carry their teams all the way to the championship game, like Duke’s Seth Curry and Michigan’s Trey Burke.
Then there’s Creighton’s Ethan Wragge.
You’ll have to judge for yourself whether he’s “hot” in the Cosmo sense. But he must have something, because the bearded, 6-foot-7 junior hasn’t even cracked the Bluejays’ starting lineup, though he is the first guy off the Creighton bench.
“Ethan has great aim. He’s awesome at 3-pointers. That’s hot,” Cosmo coos.
You can imagine his teammates’ reaction. Even coach Greg McDermott couldn’t resist.
“There are a lot of things in life that maybe aren’t accurate,” he said, “but that has to be close to the top.”
WE SHOULD ALL BE THIS LUCKY
Our first celebrity alum has it all — literary awards galore, another sure-to-be-best-seller already on the shelves (“Suspect”), an Emmy nomination (for “Hill Street Blues”) — heck, Robert Crais even owns a legit rooting interest in one of the best college football teams in the land, having studied at LSU before bolting for Holywood to become a writer.
And now he’s got a daughter at Duke, and plenty of cover for his other blue-blooded rooting interest.
“I live and die with the Duke Blue Devils,’ Crais told AP national writer Hillel Italie.
Crais tracks their progress from L.A. these days, but he admitted that finding room in his heart for basketball wasn’t easy at first.
“Life in Louisiana revolves around LSU football, the Saints, and the opening day of duck season,” Crais said. “I still try to fly back for one or two games every year with my tail-gater buddies.”
But that’s still six months off. Italie wanted to know instead how the NCAAs are going to end three weeks from now.
“Kansas made it to the top spot on my bracket,” Crais hedged, “but if Duke can focus, stay focused, and bring their 3-point game, they can take it.”
Full disclosure: BracketRacket set out to get Will Ferrell (USC, Class of ’90), but he big-timed us.
So what? Southern Cal went 14-18 this season and didn’t even make it into the tournament. Who needed him, anyway?
Full disclosure Actually, Ferrell was tied up filming “Anchorman 2,” so his agent put AP business writer Christina Rexrode on hold, then transferred her to Ben Hoffman’s agent, who in turn got his client on the phone.
It must have been cloudy Wednesday in LA. Hoffman sounded despondent.
“I thought we were literally playing a guy named Robert Morris,” he said.
(At this point, Rexrode was probably despondent, too; snubbed by Will Ferrell and then, on the rebound, forced to type “Ben Hoffman” into Google as fast as she could.)
Turns out Hoffman, 37, raised and schooled in the bluegrass state (Kentucky ’98), is a comedian and host of “The Ben Show with Ben Hoffman” on Comedy Central. He was featured in this week’s “Rolling Stone” magazine (here: http://rol.st/WW6npD ) under the headline “The Most Anxious Man on TV.”
Of course, a lot of Kentucky fans felt the same less than 24 hours after the Colonials of the Northeastern Conference threw a wrench into their juggernaut in the first round of the NIT. Hoffman, though, might be the only one who makes his living that way.
He told Rexrode his own writers were plotting a mutiny Thursday night, when the show regularly airs but the tournament begins in earnest. Maybe because they’ve still got teams to root for; all Hoffman has left is his Kentucky hat.
“It makes me look like the saddest guy in L.A.,” he said. “People think I bought the wrong hat — like I meant to buy a Kansas hat or something.”
STAT OF THE DAY
If you stayed up for play-in games both nights, you heard a lot about teams wandering in the wilderness. That’s because this year, four teams that have gone at least 18 seasons between appearances in the tournament finally made it — Middle Tennessee (24), La Salle (21), James Madison (19), North Carolina A&T (18). That got the folks at STATS wondering whether it was a debutante-like record.
Nope. It’s actually happened at least four times since 1980, including 2012, when Harvard led a quartet of the long-suffering into the NCAAs after missing out for a dizzying 66 years.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“She’s still got a credit card with my name on it,” — Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim, whose team plays Montana in the opening-round game, on whether he’s worried that his daughter, a former teacher at the university who still lives in Missoula, might have divided loyalties.
Jim Litke is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at jlitke(at)ap.org and follow him at Twitter.com/Jim Litke.
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