With no deal in place, league reportedly will cancel camps
No labor deal, no training camps and no telling what else the NBA could lose. The lockout is about to start inflicting damage on the pre-season schedule — and neither players nor owners can say what will happen to the real games. The league will cancel training camps and some exhibition games Friday after failing to reach a new collective bargaining agreement with its players, a person with knowledge of the plans told The Associated Press Thursday on condition of anonymity. Training camps were expected to begin Oct. 3, and the exhibition openers were set for Oct. 9.
But the cancellations became unavoidable after another meeting between players and owners Thursday failed to end the lockout, which began July 1. While providing no details of the meeting, Commissioner David Stern acknowledged that "the calendar is not our friend" when it comes to keeping the season intact. Stern said he had "no announcement to make today" regarding any postponements or cancellations, but they became a certainty with no breakthrough Thursday. Talks are not expected to resume until next week.
The league is at about the same point as when it postponed camps in 1998, the only time it lost games to a work stoppage. The regular season is scheduled to open Nov. 1, with the champion Mavericks hosting the Bulls in the first game.
Camby on bond after marijuana charge
NBA veteran Marcus Camby is free on bond after police in suburban Houston arrested him on a charge of marijuana possession. Camby was in a Porsche pulled over Monday for what police called an equipment violation. Pearland police Lt. Onesimo Lopez said an officer detected the odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle, and they found less than two ounces of the drug inside. Camby and another person inside, Kendal Johnson, were arrested and charged with misdemeanor possession of marijuana in a drug-free zone because the arrest occurred near a school. Both were released on individual $2,000 bonds. Camby, who was arrested in 1997 in Connecticut for marijuana possession, played last season with the Portland Trail Blazers. The 15-year NBA veteran is 37 years old.
■ San Diego prosecutors are reviewing allegations by a man claiming that Kobe Bryant injured him in a scuffle at a Carmel Valley church. Gina Coburn, a spokeswoman for the city attorney's office, said Thursday that the case is still under review. San Diego police detective Gary Hassen said the case was handed over to the city attorney's office a few weeks ago. Police said the Lakers star apparently thought the man was taking his picture with a cellphone at a Carmel Valley church during a Sunday service last month and took the phone from him. The man, whose identity had not been released, went to a hospital for treatment of an injured wrist. Bryant has denied the allegations.
■ Sunday night's exhibition game featuring LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant and Chris Paul as teammates will be streamed online by Sports Illustrated. The game between Melo's All-Stars and Team Philly on Sunday night in Philadelphia is being called the "Battle of I-95." The four NBA stars will play for the Melo team, based in Baltimore. The Philly team is led by former Rookie of the Year Tyreke Evans of Sacramento and Hakim Warrick of Phoenix. The game at the Palestra starts at 6 p.m.
■ Tamika Catchings of the Indiana Fever was selected Thursday as the WNBA Most Valuable Player for the first time. The versatile 32-year-old forward, who was MVP runner-up in 2009 and 2010, averaged 15.5 points, 7.1 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 2.0 steals this season. Indiana finished with the best record in the Eastern Conference, giving the Fever homecourt advantage in the first two rounds of the playoffs. The Fever will play Atlanta on Thursday night in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals.
Sports in the courts
Giants fan speaking, responsive
Family members of a San Francisco Giants fan who was brutally beaten outside Dodger Stadium said he is speaking and more responsive than ever since his attack nearly six months ago. The family of Bryan Stow posted the update Wednesday on its Web site, saying his latest improvements came a week after he received a shunt to relieve pressure on his brain. During a speech-therapy session, Stow was able to say his full name and the names of his daughter and son.
"We are blown away with all of this," the family said. "His voice is gravelly, and you have to be close to hear him, but he is talking. Right now, Bryan is more awake and more responsive than ever."
Stow, 42, a paramedic from Santa Cruz, suffered severe brain injury when he was attacked in Los Angeles after the Dodgers' home opener against the Giants on March 31. He remains in serious condition at San Francisco General Hospital. Two men, Louie Sanchez, 29, and Marvin Norwood, 30, have pleaded not guilty to mayhem, assault by means likely to produce great bodily injury, and battery with serious bodily injury.
Rifle team voted No. 1 in pre-season poll
The University of Kentucky's defending national champion rifle team has been voted No. 1 in the nation entering the 2011-12 season. The Wildcats, who open their regular season Oct. 21 at home against Mississippi, claimed the top ranking in the Collegiate Rifle Coaches Association pre-season poll. Kentucky won its first NCAA Rifle Championship last March with a record team score of 4,700, holding off runner-up West Virginia and third-place Texas Christian. In the pre-season poll, Texas Christian is No. 2, and West Virginia No. 3. Murray State, which finished fifth in last season's NCAA championships, enters the season ranked No. 5. Morehead State is No. 20.
AIBA to investigate bribery allegations
Amateur boxing's ruling body will investigate allegations that millions of dollars have been paid to guarantee that Azerbaijan wins two gold medals in the ring at next year's London Olympics. The International Amateur Boxing Association says it will look into the allegations made by BBC TV's Newsnight on Thursday that money from Azerbaijan was paid to World Series Boxing, a franchised league supported by AIBA. AIBA organizes boxing at the Olympics. Association President Ching-Kuo Wu said the BBC claims were "totally untrue and ludicrous" but added he would investigate them — a move welcomed by the International Olympic Committee.
Sports in politics
Court rules Lewis can't be on ballot
The political career of nine-time Olympic gold medalist Carl Lewis has been declared a false start. A federal appeals panel ruled Thursday that he should be removed from a state Senate ballot because he does not meet New Jersey's four-year residency requirement. Lewis' lawyer said he has not decided whether to appeal, but time is running short: Ballots are about to go to the printer for an election less than seven weeks away. Lewis scheduled a news conference for Friday. The ruling in the topsy-turvy case came nine days after the same three-judge panel from the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Lewis, a Democrat, should be on the ballot. But instead of issuing a full legal opinion, the court scheduled another hearing, which it held earlier this week. And when its opinion came out Thursday, it was different than the earlier order. Democratic officials could still challenge Thursday's ruling or they could nominate a replacement candidate.
The last word
Dodgers legend Tom Lasorda was back on the bench Thursday night as an honorary coach under rookie manager Don Mattingly in a game against the Giants on his 84th birthday. But one thing hasn't changed: Lasorda's desire to win another game.
"I want to manage. I got 1,599 wins. Win this one, and we'll be 1,600. It's very, very important to me."