Players, league have 'engaging' talks, will resume Saturday
Feeling a "sense of urgency" to get a deal done quickly, NBA players and owners met for more than four hours Friday and will resume talks Saturday. With time running out to reach an agreement in time to save the Nov. 1 start of the regular season, All-Stars LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade and Kevin Durant joined the players' association executive committee for what president Derek Fisher called an "engaging" meeting with the owners' labor relations committee. Neither side cited any progress but said it was a good sign that they agreed to continue the discussions. Cancellations will probably be necessary next week if they're not close to a deal.
"All I'll say is, there was a sense of urgency in the room today," Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver said. "I think the sense today from both sides is, we really need to push this weekend."
Silver and Commissioner David Stern indicated the union is satisfied with the league's plan for enhanced revenue sharing among owners — which players had long argued as a way for the league to address its losses. The salary-cap structure, however, continues to divide the sides. Players have stressed they will fight any attempt to impose a hard-cap system instead of the current soft cap that allows teams to exceed it through the use of certain exceptions.
Kobe deal on track, Italian club says
The president of Virtus Bologna said Friday he is optimistic that Kobe Bryant will sign with the Italian club during the NBA lockout despite scheduling problems posed by other teams. Claudio Sabatini said Bryant's agent Rob Pelinka agreed to an arrangement for 35 to 40 days worth more than $3 million — for about 10 games.
"We're very confident the deal can be completed," Sabatini said. "We're prepared to make a big investment."
Bologna has requested to play five of its opening 10 games at home, but a few other teams don't want to change their schedules to accommodate the Lakers' star.
■ After several days of finalizing details, the plan for a charity game featuring Miami Heat stars LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh at Florida International next weekend is now set. The game will take place Oct. 8. Proceeds will go toward Mary's Court Foundation, which was established in honor of Mary Thomas, the late mother of FIU coach and Basketball Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas. Thomas said he was "overwhelmed" by that gesture. Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudemire, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are also expected to play.
N.Y. law gets tough on concussions
Starting next year, a new law in New York will require high school athletes suspected of suffering concussions to be immediately removed from games. The legislation directs state health and education officials to draft regulations for schools on mild traumatic brain injuries. The regulations go into effect in July. The law requires immediate benching of any student who has or might have suffered a concussion in a school-related activity. Students can play again only after they are symptom-free for 24 hours and cleared by a doctor.
Gamecocks' Harris out with foot injury
South Carolina sophomore forward Damontre Harris injured his foot during a conditioning session Friday, the school said, and will be held out of all basketball activities until doctors can better assess the injury next week. Harris is expected to be a big part of South Carolina's young nucleus of players along with fellow sophomores Bruce Ellington and Eric Smith. Harris started 19 games last season, averaging nearly four points and four rebounds in about 17 minutes a game.
LPGA approves 16-year-old for tour
Lexi Thompson proved she was good enough to play on the LPGA Tour as a 16-year-old when she beat a strong field by five shots two weeks ago. She was granted membership Friday based on more than birdies and bogeys. LPGA Tour Commissioner Mike Whan approved Thompson's petition to become the LPGA Tour's youngest member, effective in January, impressed with how the Florida teen handled herself in all aspects of tour life.
"I've seen her at press conferences," Whan said. "I've seen her when she played well; I've seen her when she hasn't played too well. I've seen her at pro-am parties. I've seen her when fans are coming up to her when it's maybe not the best time."
Thompson filed a formal petition Thursday that the LPGA waive its policy of members being at least 18. Whan approved it one day later, although he described that more as a formality. The bigger decision came in June, when he allowed Thompson to compete in qualifying school. The 6-foot teen won the first stage by 10 shots, then went to the LPGA Navistar Classic in Alabama and won by five shots against a field that included 45 of the top 50 players on the LPGA money list.
Upstarts take lead in Dunhill Links
Tommy Fleetwood and Michael Hoey left a trail of big names behind them, sharing the second-round lead at the Dunhill Links Championship in Carnoustie, Scotland, on Friday. Fleetwood, who leads the second-tier Challenge Tour rankings, shot a 9-under 63 at Kingsbarns, the same course where first-round leader Hoey shot a second straight 66. They both have 12-under totals of 132. Former British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen is one shot back after a 67 in unseasonably warm conditions at Carnoustie.
Perry, Cochran in contention
Corey Pavin shot a 7-under 65 on Friday to take a one-stroke lead in the opening round of the SAS Championship in Cary. N.C. Kenny Perry and defending champion Russ Cochran, both from Kentucky, were tied with Nick Price and Gary Hallberg for second at the Champions Tour event held at the 7,137-yard Prestonwood Country Club.
Funny Cide coming back to Churchill
2003 Kentucky Derby winner Funny Cide will return to Churchill Downs on Saturday to greet living recipients of the United States' Medal of Honor and other guests as part of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society Convention under way this week in Louisville. Funny Cide, who is now 11 years old and resides at the Kentucky Horse Park, will be in Churchill Downs' paddock as Medal of Honor recipients and guests arrive for a noon luncheon and other activities. The event is for ticket holders only.
Soccer women win at South Carolina
The Kentucky women's soccer team got its first win over South Carolina since 2006 and its first win in Columbia since 2005 with a 1-0 victory Friday night. UK (9-2-0, 2-1-0 Southeastern Conference) scored in the 42nd minute when senior Kelsey Hunyadi intercepted a pass near midfield and found Caitlin Landis on the far side. Landis beat a defender for a one-on-one chance with the keeper and buried a shot in the back corner of the net. UK is ranked 12th in the NCAA's RPI.
■ The UK women's golf team finished the first round of the Bettie Lou Evans Fall Invitational in second place on Friday at the University Club of Kentucky. UK shot 24-over 312, including junior Heather Lottfinishing's 76 that put her in a tie for fifth overall. The Cats are one stroke behind leader Central Florida.
The last word
Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp, to The New York Times, comparing media coverage of his Triple Crown quest to reporters covering his previous relationship with singer Rihanna:
"There's some beastly paparazzi out there, especially in New York and L.A. You all are pretty harmless."