NBA, players talking again
There's still time for a deal to keep the entire NBA season intact, though it's running out.
And with that in mind, owners and players realize it's time to stop talking about each other, and start talking to each other.
They returned to the bargaining table Wednesday, meeting for about six hours in just their second bargaining session since the league's lockout began on July 1.
"Everyone loses if we don't reach an agreement, that's something that I think has always been understood," union president Derek Fisher of the Lakers said. "But as we approach Sept. 1 and obviously the training camp schedule to start on Oct. 1, the urgency is just continuing to build and increase on both sides, and we're going to remain focused on finding a way to get this done."
Neither side offered any specifics or would say if progress was made, but said they plan many more meetings in hopes of having basketball begin without interruption.
Los Angeles Lakers center Pau Gasol scored 29 points to help defending champion Spain beat Poland 83-78 in its opening game at the European Championship. San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker had 31 points to help France beat Latvia 89-78, and Serbia, which lost to Spain in the title match two years ago, shook off a slow start to beat Italy 80-68.
The Dominican Republic, which is being coached by Kentucky's John Calipari, improved to 2-0 as did Brazil and Puerto Rico in the Olympic qualifying tournament for the Americas in Argentina.The top two teams in the 10-nation field get berths in the London Olympics. The next three teams advance to a final Olympic qualifier.
Al Horford, who plays for the Atlanta Hawks, had 19 points for the Dominican Republic in a 92-89 win over Venezuela. Brazil beat Canada 69-57 and Puerto Rico defeated Paraguay 101-55. And Luis Scola, who plays for the Houston Rockets, scored 18 points to lead Argentina to an 86-51 victory over Uruguay on Wednesday in the Olympic qualifying tournament for the Americas.
TRACK AND FIELD
U.S. favorites upset at Worlds
Unknowns have been bursting onto the scene at the World Championships in Daegu, South Korea, stealing attention from American stars such as Allyson Felix and LaShawn Merritt.
The 400 meters was supposed to be Felix's race, the first leg of a difficult double that would culminate with her trying to win a fourth straight 200 title.
But an unheralded Amantle Montsho of Botswana used a strong finish to beat Felix at the finish and leave the charismatic American wondering whether she will even go for the double in London.
Kirani James, a teenager from tiny Grenada, then unseated Merritt as champion in the men's 400 with a lean at the finish line. He was able to reel in Merritt over the final few meters, something that never used to happen.
Merritt is hardly race sharp, as he's coming off a 21-month suspension for doping. He still has plenty of time to get back into elite form to compete in London, provided, of course, he's even eligible.
He has to wait on a verdict from the Court of Arbitration for Sport on the IOC's "six-month rule," which prevents athletes who receive doping bans of more than six months from competing at the next Summer or Winter Games. A decision is expected to be rendered in late September.
Gordon will be in Chase
Four-time NASCAR champion Jeff Gordon has clinched at least a wild-card berth in the 12-driver Chase for the Sprint Cup championship. NASCAR determined Wednesday that even if Gordon is knocked out of the top 10 in standings over the next two races, he still would get into the Chase via the wild card. Gordon has two wins this season, and the only way he could fall out of the top 10 is if Brad Keselowski or Clint Bowyer win the final two races of the "regular season" to drop him out. Even if that happened, Gordon's two victories would be enough to get him into the Chase.
American to play in top Italian league
United States midfielder Michael Bradley has moved from Borussia Moenchengladbach to Chievo Verona, becoming the only American player in Italy's Serie A. The only other American-born players to have joined Serie A clubs in recent years were Alexi Lalas, Giuseppe Rossi and Oguchi Onyewu.
Former Nashville player dies
Former Predator Wade Belak, an enforcer who had played with five NHL teams before retiring in March, has been found dead in Toronto where police are investigating the cause of death.
The 35-year-old Belak was scheduled to work as a sideline reporter on Nashville broadcasts. He played for Colorado, Calgary, Toronto, Florida and finished his career with Nashville, playing in 549 career NHL games with 1,263 penalty minutes and 33 points.
Winnipeg's Rick Rypien was found dead earlier this month, and former Rangers enforcer Derek Boogaard died in May..
Sports in the Courts
Ex-NBA player to face murder charge
Former NBA player Javaris Crittenton waived California extradition proceedings Wednesday and will be returned to Georgia in connection with his arrest in a murder case in Atlanta. Crittenton appeared before Superior Court Judge Upinder Kalra and said he had voluntarily signed the waiver. Defense attorney Brian Steel said outside court that Crittenton had earlier agreed to return to Atlanta voluntarily and had even bought a plane ticket, but law enforcement authorities decided to arrest him anyway.
Federal prosecutors dropped all the remaining charges against Barry Bonds on Wednesday, days after a judge upheld the slugger's conviction on an obstruction of justice count.
The U.S. attorney's office in San Francisco filed court papers dismissing the three charges of making false statements still pending against Bonds, Major League Baseball's all-time home runs leader. A jury deadlocked on the three counts at Bonds' trial in April.
The last word
The Memphis Grizzlies' mascot has been named the 2011 NBA Mascot of the Year for the first time. Grizz, now entering his 17th season, is known for his spectacular stunts and shenanigans. Greg Campbell, the Grizzlies' president of business operations said.
"The award "is a tremendous honor for Grizz, the Grizzlies organization and members of Grizz Nation across the world."