Sports briefs: March 5

March 5, 2013 

Auto racing

NRA sponsors Sprint Cup race

The National Rifle Association, a touchstone for gun-rights advocates in a national debate about gun control after the Sandy Hook shootings, is putting its name on the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway in April.

The NRA 500 will be the name of the race scheduled for April 13 at the 1.5-mile track, part of a one-year deal announced Monday by speedway president Eddie Gossage.

"The NRA has been involved in the sport for several years and a partner of Speedway Motorsports, Inc., for many years in various aspects, and this race entitlement is just another extension of that business relationship. We look forward to another successful partnership with the NRA for our April race week of activities," Gossage said in a news release.

The news release did not mention the December shootings at Newtown, Conn., where 26 students and staff at Sandy Hook Elementary were killed by a shooter with an assault rifle. Last week at the Daytona 500, driver Michael Waltrip drove a car sponsored by the Sandy Hook School Support Fund.

The NRA sponsored a NASCAR Nationwide Series race in Atlanta last September, the "NRA American Warrior 300."

Texas Motor Speedway said the NRA has contributed more than $500,000 to the track's Texas Chapter of Speedway Children's Charities. Speedway Motorsports, Inc. is the owner of TMS.


UK Sports

Bat Cats' Reed earns national, SEC honors

Kentucky sophomore left-handed pitcher/first baseman A.J. Reed knocked in 15 runs — and got a win on the mound, too — to earn the Southeastern Conference's player-of-the-week award. He was also named one of five Louisville Slugger National Players of the Week. Reed batted .526 (10-for-19) with a double and three home runs. Reed started the Friday night win over the Zips, working six innings, allowing two runs and striking out four to earn his second win of the year.

Kentucky (10-1) moved up one spot to seventh in the latest Collegiate Baseball weekly poll and remained at No. 11 in Baseball America's rankings. The Cats next host Cincinnati and Xavier at 4 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively.

 The Kentucky men's golf team posted the fourth-lowest team score on Monday, firing a 1-under-par, 287 and are in fourth place in the 17-team field at the USF Invitational in Dade City, Fla., at the Lake Jovita Golf and Country Club. UK is 13 strokes off the leader N.C. State, who is 9-under.

Junior Stephen Powers is tied for third overall and just four strokes off the leader.


NBA

U.S. chides N. Korea over Rodman visit

The White House says North Korea's government should be focused on the well-being of its citizens, not on "celebrity sporting events" to entertain the country's elite.

White House spokesman Jay Carney made the comments in response to a question about ex-NBA star Dennis Rodman's recent visit to North Korea. Rodman watched a basketball game with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Upon his return to the U.S., Rodman said Kim wants President Barack Obama to call him. Carney says the U.S. already has direct channels of communication to North Korea's government and those are the channels it will continue to use.

Magic 105, Hornets 102: Arron Afflalo scored five of his game-high 26 points in the final 38 seconds, and Orlando snapped a three-game skid with a victory over host New Orleans on Monday night.

Jameer Nelson, returning from a left knee injury that sidelined him six games, scored 15 points and Tobias Harris also scored 15 for Orlando, which trailed by as many as 17 points in the second half and erased a nine-point deficit during the final 3:15.

Ex-Cat Anthony Davis had 17 points, 15 rebounds and four blocked shots for New Orleans. Vasquez and Eric Gordon each added 17 points.

Heat 97, Timberwolves 81: Dwyane Wade had 32 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists, LeBron James shrugged off a sore left knee to score 20 points and grab 10 rebounds, and Miami earned their franchise-record 15th straight victory with a road win over Minnesota.

Knicks 102, Cavaliers 97: Amare Stoudemire scored 22 points, J.R. Smith added 18 and New York overcame a 22-point deficit without All-Star Carmelo Anthony to win, ending a 10-game losing streak in Cleveland.


Sports in the Courts

Jordan wants paternity suit dismissed

Basketball hall of famer Michael Jordan asked a Georgia court on Monday to dismiss a paternity suit against him, calling it a "shameless, bad faith attempt to abuse the legal system."

Jordan's lawyer John Mayoue said in a document filed in Fulton County Superior Court that the six-time NBA champion is not the father of Pamela Y. Smith's 16-year-old son. The paternity of the teen was "conclusively established" in divorce filings between Smith and her ex-husband, Jordan's attorney wrote.

Jordan's lawyer attached a 2003 divorce court filing between Smith and her then-husband Glenville G. Reynolds. The document said the marriage produced one child and listed the boy's birth date and name. At the end of the document, there is a statement signed by Smith saying everything is "true and correct to the best of my knowledge and belief."


NFL

Flacco atop league's pay charts

Joe Flacco knows his stature as the highest-paid player in NFL history may not last for long, and he's OK with it.

What matters most to the Super Bowl MVP is that the Baltimore Ravens were willing to pay him that kind of money in the first place.

Flacco signed his new contract Monday worth $120.6 million over six years. He will receive a $29 million signing bonus, $52 million in guaranteed money and $51 million over the first two years of the deal.

The former first-round draft pick out of Delaware is the first starting quarterback in NFL history to make the playoffs in each of his first five seasons. He's led the Ravens to nine wins over that span, tying Tom Brady for most among quarterbacks in the first five years of a career.

Flacco threw 11 touchdown passes and no interceptions during the recent post-season and led Baltimore to a 34-31 Super Bowl win over San Francisco.

"I know that this isn't going to hold up for that long, but that's not a priority of mine to be the highest-paid guy," Flacco said. The priority of mine was to get that respect that I felt, that I feel now from this organization."


Tennis

Hingis heads Hall of Fame class

Five-time Grand Slam singles champion Martina Hingis leads the 2013 class for the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

The other new members of the Hall announced Monday are Cliff Drysdale, Charlie Pasarell and Ion Tiriac. Australian player Thelma Coyne Long's election was announced earlier.

Hingis won 15 major titles, including nine in women's doubles and one in mixed. The first came at Wimbledon in women's doubles in 1996 at 15 years, 9 months, making her the youngest Grand Slam champion in tennis history.


The last word

Chris Lane, of Guntersville, Ala., took home fishing's holy grail, the Bassmaster Classic title, last year. With that came prize money, interviews and sponsorships. Said Lane of the perks:

"I have four children. To give back to my wife and kids for the six or seven years of financial burden was the greatest feeling in the world."

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