Friday, December 30, 2016

Nunes TKO's Rousey

Ronda Rousey is one of the biggest superstars in MMA history and turned into a crossover celebrity over the past few years. She made her reputation with dominant performances inside the cage, finishing opponent after opponent in extremely short order. Then Holly Holm came along. Last November, Holm shattered Rousey's aura of invincibility, her title run and her undefeated record. Rousey entered into seclusion and has largely avoided the public and the media since. Now she returns to recapture her title with questions abound about her mental state following the shocking upset loss. Nunes is a powerful striker and high quality jiu jitsu artist who tends to do better earlier in fights than later. She won the title with a dominant stoppage of Miesha Tate at UFC 200. This is far and away the biggest fight of her career and it's hard to imagine there will ever be another contender.

Round 1. Nunes throws some big punches early and connects well to the jaw of Rousey. She hurt Rousey with punches and has her in big trouble by the cage. Nunes is pummeling Rousey and Herb Dean has to step in. That was a one sided destruction.

Winner: Amanda Nunes, TKO, round 1.

The time of the stoppage came at 48 seconds. Most of that time involved Rousey getting punched in the face. Rousey leaves the Octagon after the defeat without saying anything. This has been such a strange and interesting path for Rousey. She rose to prominence in dominant fashion but clearly struggled greatly with her first MMA defeat just like she did when she lost in the Olympics. There are so many different angles as to why this fight went the way it did but regardless of whether it was about the style matchup, preparation, psychology or something else it was emphatic, violent and short. It seems unlikely Rousey will fight again given the options she has but it will take time to sort out the story of Ronda Rousey in general. Her fall as an athlete, just like her rise, was spectacular.


Champion Nunes earns $100,000, Rousey gets $3 million.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

2016 Rainbow Warrior Football

1/2/17 - Rolovich not satisfied, plans to evaluate everything

12/24/16 - Hawaii Bowl: Hawaii 52, Middle Tennessee State 35
12/4/16 - Hawaii to play Middle Tennessee State in Hawaii Bowl.

11/26/16 - Hawaii hangs on to beat Massachusetts 46-40 (6-7)
11/25/16 - CBS has Fresno State at no. 128, UMass is 125, San Jose State 121, Arizona 114, Nevada 109, Hawaii 97, UNLV 95, Cal 78, New Mexico 67, Air Force 45, San Diego State 28, Boise State 18, Michigan 4.
Team Rankings has it: UMass 120, Fresno State 118, Hawaii 117, Nevada 114, San Jose State 108, UNLV 99, New Mexico 92, Arizona 91, Air Force 71, California 68, San Diego State 39, Boise State 29. Michigan 3.
Campus Insiders: Fresno State 128, San Jose State 124, UMass 121, UNLV 109, Hawaii 107, Nevada 101, Arizona 96, New Mexico 81, Cal 64, Air Force 45, San Diego State 26, Boise State 14, Michigan 3.
Massey: Fresno State 125, Massachusetts 122, Nevada 117, San Jose State 113, UNLV 103, Hawaii 100, Arizona 97, New Mexico 73, California 68, Air Force 55, San Diego State 38, Boise State 18, Michigan 3.
11/25/16 - Fresno State is now no. 1, no. 3, no. 1 / UMass is no. 6, no. 6, no. 4
11/19/16 - Hawaii barely survives at Fresno State to stay alive in bowl picture (5-7)
11/15/16 - Fresno State ranked no. 1, no. 2no. 4
11/12/16 - Hawaii 16, Boise State 52 (4-7)
11/5/16 - San Diego State 55, Hawaii 0 (4-6)
10/29/16 - Hawaii 21, New Mexico 28 (4-5)
10/22/16 - Air Force somehow loses to Hawaii 27-34 in 2 OT (4-4)
10/15/16 - Hawaii outscored by UNLV 38-41 (3-4)
10/8/16 - Hawaii juices past San Jose State 34-17 on the road (3-3)
10/1/16 - Hawaii energizes past Nevada 38-17 (2-3)
9/17-16 - Arizona dries up Hawaii 47-28 (1-3)
9/10/16 - Hawaii wins ugly over UT-Martin 41-36 (1-2)
9/3/16 - Hawaii 3, Michigan 63 (0-2)
9/3/16 - Michigan is a have
9/2/16 - Rolo at the Downtown Exchange Club
8/26/16 - Hawaii 31, California 51 in Rolo's first game (0-1)

8/24/16 - PreviewRolovich, Woolsey, Harris, Kemp, Allen, RasmussenTavai, Rogers, Sanchez
8/24/16 - Ferd Lewis predicts 5-8
7/27/16 - Media picks Hawaii last too
6/9/16 - Magazines pick Warriors last
3/27/16 - Warriors add six walk-ons before spring practice, to try out QBs and kickers
3/27/16 - A look at the Warriors before spring practice
3/3/16 - Mayur Chaudhari hired as special teams coordinator
2/18/16 - Jake Cookus leaves program for Oregon State as quality control analyst
1/30/16 - Rolovich picks Craig Stutzman to replace Zak Hill
1/28/16 - Zak Hill, offensive coordinator, leaves Hawaii for Boise State
1/27/16 - Josh Hauani'o, OL, Iolani commits to Hawaii
1/26/16 - Keala Santiago, DB, Kahuku commits to Hawaii
1/21/16 - McKenzie Milton decommits, will attend Central Florida
1/11/16 - what has Mouse Davis been up to?
1/10/16 - June Jones named offensive coordinator ... at Kapolei
1/9/16 - Max Hendrie, versatile athlete from Australia, commits to Hawaii
1/6/16 - A defense with no name
1/6/16 - Zach Wilson, CB, Upland (CA) commits
1/6/16 - Larry Tuileta to transfer from USC to Hawaii
1/4/16 - Norm Chow in a flower shop
1/1/16 - Kevin Lempa hired as defensive coordinator
12/20/15 - Legi Suiaunoa hired as defensive line coach
12/11/15 - Zak Hill hired as offensive coordinator
12/9/15 - Fred Ulu-Perry and Brian Smith expected to join Warriors
12/8/15 - Rolovich to retain Jake Cookus
12/6/15 - Stephen Tsai's coaching staff suggestions
12/5/15 - Dino Babers hired as Syracuse head coach
12/2/15 - Rolovich hires Naeole and Elimimiam
12/1/15 - A bold statement?
12/1/15 - Rolovich recalls awful days / Chow gets an assist
11/30/15 - Rolovich will be the lowest paid coach in the MWC
11/30/15 - UH football awards
11/29/15 - Looking forward to Rolo
11/28/15 - Hawaii 28, Louisiana Monroe 26
11/28/15 - Hawaii to open 2016 in Australia against Cal
11/27/15 - Nick Rolovich hired as the next University of Hawaii head coach

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Craig Sager

Longtime Turner Sports broadcaster Craig Sager has died at the age of 65, the network confirmed in a statement.

"Craig Sager was a beloved member of the Turner family for more than three decades and he has been a true inspiration to all of us," Turner president David Levy said in a statement. "There will never be another Craig Sager. His incredible talent, tireless work ethic and commitment to his craft took him all over the world covering sports.

"While he will be remembered fondly for his colorful attire and the TNT sideline interviews he conducted with NBA coaches and players, it's the determination, grace and will to live he displayed during his battle with cancer that will be his lasting impact. Our thoughts and prayers are with Craig's wife, Stacy, and the entire Sager family during this difficult time. We will forever be Sager Strong."

Known for his colorful and distinctive suits during his more than 40-year career, the legendary sideline reporter battled acute myeloid leukemia since he was first diagnosed in 2014.

Sager was admitted back into the hospital in late November 2016.

In a statement, NBA commissioner Adam Silver said teams will observe a moment of silence in Sager's memory.

After his initial diagnosis, Sager, who worked for Turner for more than 30 years, missed the 2014 and 2015 NBA playoffs and part of the 2014-15 regular season, as well as the 2015 NCAA men's basketball tournament. During the 2014 NBA playoffs, his son Craig Sager Jr. did the sideline interview with Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, whose interviews with Sager had become must-watch television.

"You did a great job," Popovich said to the younger Sager, "but I'd rather have your dad standing here. Craig, we miss you, you've been an important part of all of this for a long time doing a great job. We want your fanny back on the court, and I promise I'll be nice."

Through a partnership between Turner Sports and ESPN, Sager worked his very first NBA Finals game in June, sideline reporting with ESPN's Doris Burke for Game 6 between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors, which the Cavaliers won.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

2016 High School Football

12/18/16 - Tagovailoa, Kaniho top All-State team
12/14/16 - Amosa Amosa not retained as Campbell head coach
12/13/16 - Tua Tagovailoa named the 2016 Gatorade Hawaii Player of the Year
12/3/16 - June Jones to oversee athletics at St. Louis
12/2/16 - Nelson Maeda let go as Castle head coach after 20 years
11/23/16 - Cal and Ron Lee don't know if they're return to coach next season
11/19/16 - Tagovailoa leads St. Louis over Kahuku to win Open Division title
10/21/16 - St. Louis defeats Punahou in the rubber match to win ILH title
9/29/16 - Punahou gets redemption over St. Louis
9/9/16 - Kahuku 83, Radford 0
9/9/16 - St. Louis 64, Punahou 44
9/9/16 - Clash of the ILH titans

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Holloway wins interim UFC featherweight title

An interim belt will have to suffice for now for Waianae’s Max Holloway.

Holloway joined B.J. Penn as the only fighters from Hawaii to win a UFC world title with a third-round TKO of Anthony Pettis in the main event of UFC 206 on Saturday night at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto.

Holloway, whose 10-fight win streak ties Royce Gracie for the fifth-longest in UFC history, was awarded the interim 145-pound featherweight title.

He is expected to unify the belts against champion Jose Aldo in a fight next year and wasted no time just moments after the victory over Pettis to call out Aldo.

“Meet me in Brooklyn in February,” an-amped up Holloway yelled to the crowd. “Let’s get the (expletive) real (world title).”

Holloway improved to 17-3 overall and 13-3 in the UFC by becoming the first fighter to finish Pettis (19-6, 6-5) in 25 professional bouts.

Pettis, who failed to make the 145-pound weight limit and was forced to give up 20 percent of his fight purse to Holloway, refused to touch gloves when Holloway extended his hand before the fight. Holloway earned a performance of the night bonus of $50,000.

After a close first round, Holloway took control with an early knockdown in the second round and poured it on from there.

Holloway scored two takedowns in the third round and then finished the fight with a series of punches to the face and body that forced Pettis to turtle up against the cage.

Referee Yves Lavigne stopped the fight at the 4:50 mark of round 3.

Pettis said after the fight he broke his right hand early in the first round. He also said he will move back up to lightweight (155 pounds) because the weight cut is too tough.

“Max Holloway is a beast. Give the dude credit,” Pettis said. “He stepped in there and did his thing.”

Lamar Jackson wins Heisman Trophy

Lamar Jackson was trying to remember the last time he cried. He was pretty sure it involved losing a little league football game.

On Saturday night, Louisville's spectacular sophomore quarterback found out winning can get a guy choked up, too.

Jackson became the first Louisville player to win the Heisman Trophy, beating out preseason favorite Deshaun Watson of Clemson despite some late-season struggles.

Watson, who finished third last season, was a distant second. Baker Mayfield finished third and Oklahoma teammate and fellow finalist Dede Westbrook was fourth. Michigan's Jabrill Peppers was fifth.

Early in the season, Jackson leapt over a loaded field of Heisman contenders that included five of the top seven vote-getters from 2015 to become the front-runner. By the time he slowed down nobody could catch him.

Jackson accounted for 51 touchdowns and averaged 410 yards per game in total offense in his first season as Louisville's full-time starter.

"He surpassed everything I thought he could do," Louisville coach Bobby Petrino said.

Jackson ultimately won the Heisman going away, with 2,144 points to Watson's 1,524. By percentage of possible points received, Jackson's victory was the seventh largest in Heisman history. He also became the youngest winner at 19 years, 337 days, a few days younger than 2013 winner Jameis Winston of Florida State.

He provided a signature moment against Syracuse , hurdling a defender on his way into the end zone, and then played his best against Louisville's toughest competition.

In a romp over Florida State and a close loss at Clemson , Jackson threw for 511 yards, ran for 308 and accounted for eight touchdowns. After ripping apart Florida State in September, he earned the stamp of approval from his idol, former Virginia Tech and NFL star Mike Vick.

Jackson continues a recent trend of breakout stars winning the Heisman. He is the sixth player to win the award as either a redshirt freshman or sophomore, all since 2007, joining Manziel (redshirt freshman), Winston (redshirt freshman), Mark Ingram (sophomore), Sam Bradford (sophomore) and Tim Tebow (sophomore).

Jackson came to Louisville as a three-star recruit from Boynton Beach High School in Florida. Some colleges were not sold on him as a quarterback, but Jackson was such a dynamic talent that Petrino altered his offense to accommodate Jackson's speed and elusiveness.

Jackson flashed brilliance as a freshman, but with so many well-established stars from Watson and Mayfield to running backs Christian McCaffrey of Stanford, Dalvin Cook of Florida State and Leonard Fournette of LSU, he entered this season with little fanfare.

Thursday, December 08, 2016

every All-State selection since 1972

The 2016 Honolulu Star-Advertiser All-State football team will be released this month, adding a new group of talented players to the list of greats going all the way back to the first All-State team published by the Honolulu Advertiser in 1972.

Five years later, the Honolulu Star-Bulletin released its first All-State team in 1977. Prior to that, the Bulletin published only all-league teams using the rational that they hadn’t seen enough neighbor-island teams to accurately choose the best.

Here is the list of every All-State first teamer, you can sort by columns or if you are interested in a single team just type the school name in the search box.

I'll just list the Players of the Year (Offense and Defense)

2015 - Vavae Malepeai (O), Keala Santiago (D)
2014 - McKenzie Milton (O), Rex Manu (D)
2013 - Larry Tuileta (O), Kelii Padello (D)
2012 - Aofaga Wily (O), Kawahena Johnson (D)
2011 - Kenan Sadanaga (O), Benetton Fonua (D)
2010 - not listed, but Marcus Mariota was the QB
2009 - Ryan Ho (O) / Andrew Manley (O), Hauoli Jamora (D,D) / Beau Yap (D) [why are there 3 Ds?]
2008 - Andrew Manley (O,O) / Robby Toma (O), Mani Teo (D,D)

Forget it, it's confusing.  Why does 2010 have no players of the year and 2009 has three defensive player of the year awards?  You can look for yourself..

OK, I now see I have a post below on the 2010 All-State team.  Mariota was indeed the offensive player of the year, while Juda Parker was the defensive player of the year.  Parker went on to play at Colorado.

Sunday, December 04, 2016

College Football Playoff

12/4/16 - After months of debate and 14 weeks of games, the committee came down with its final decision Sunday.  No. 1 Alabama will play No. 4 Washington in the Peach Bowl.

No. 2 Clemson and No. 3 Ohio State will face off in the Fiesta Bowl.

The decision, as with other years past, is sure to create controversy.

The Buckeyes are the first non-conference champion to make the playoff in the three years of the current system. The Huskies, while winners of the Pac-12, had a non-conference schedule of Rutgers, Idaho and Portland State.

“The strength of schedule of Washington has been a concern for this selection committee,” chairman Kirby Hocutt said. “But what we talked about this morning was the quality wins Washington has this year. They’ve played good teams and they’ve beaten good teams.”

Penn State at 11-2 was left out as the fifth choice of the committee. The Nittany Lions won their last nine games, including defeats of Ohio State and Wisconsin, to capture the Big Ten title.

Michigan finished 10-2 and beat Penn State by 39 points along with Colorado and Wisconsin.

Oklahoma also finished with nine consecutive victories after a 1-2 start that included losses to Houston and Ohio State. The Big 12 champions beat West Virginia and Oklahoma State by a combined 46 points in its final two games.

All three were included in the line of the other Big Six bowls:

Orange Bowl: Michigan vs. Florida State
Cotton Bowl: Western Michigan vs. Wisconsin
Rose Bowl: Penn State vs. Southern California​
Sugar Bowl: Oklahoma vs. Auburn

Western Michigan earned the Group of Five spot after going unbeaten and taking the MAC championship. It's the first major bowl bid for the Chippewas.

Friday, November 04, 2016

Cubs win World Series

CLEVELAND >> The Chicago Cubs won their first World Series championship since 1908 when Ben Zobrist hit a go-ahead double in the 10th inning, beating the Cleveland Indians 8-7 in a thrilling Game 7 delayed by rain early Thursday.

Lovable losers for generations, the Cubs nearly let this one get away, too. All-Star closer Aroldis Chapman blew a three-run lead with two outs in the eighth when Rajai Davis hit a tying homer.
But the Cubs, after tormenting their fans one more time, came right back after a 17-minute rain delay before the top of the 10th and scored twice. Davis hit an RBI single with two outs in the bottom half, but Mike Montgomery got the final out.

Manager Joe Maddon’s team halted the longest title drought in baseball, becoming the first club to overcome a 3-1 Series deficit since the 1985 Kansas City Royals.

Cleveland was trying to win its first crown since 1948, but lost the last two games at home.

World Series favorites since spring training, Chicago led the majors with 103 wins this season. The Cubs then ended more than a century of misery for their loyal fans.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Bill Kwon

It’s fitting that during the same week in which Bill Kwon’s life was celebrated the University of Hawaii football team is preparing to play an opponent with a starting safety named Weston Steelhammer.

Two of the many things Kwon loved were UH sports and athletes with great names.

The longtime Star-Bulletin sportswriter and editor got such a kick out of the latter that he’d pore through the high school rosters each year in search of unique names to write a column about.

There was Maunakea Mossman and Cash Petty. Bruddah Choy Foo, Sista Palakiko, Boy and Pal Eldredge.

Datsun Nihipali — who did not change his first name to Nissan in 1986. And who could forget Earvin and Magic Atuaia? Or Allen Allen and Samoa Samoa?

Honolulu Mika and Hawaii Mika.

His favorite was Laborday Hunkin.

Too bad Kwon, who died two weeks ago at age 82, had retired before Wave Ryder (who ended up at the Naval Academy, of course) and Peanut Butter Kaaialii made names for themselves in Hawaii high school sports. He would’ve had so much fun writing about them.

Kwon had his serious side, but he never forgot sports were supposed to be enjoyed — even if you were a Red Sox fan who had to endure (stuff) like Bucky #$%^ing Dent, bled green while your beloved ’Bows lost to BYU every year, and waited patiently for Michelle Wie to live up to the hype.

He was the first daily newspaper editor to give a rough-around-the-edges kid a chance to work in sports, first with high school football stats in 1981. My first writing assignment came a year later.

I was eager, and Kwon gave me all I could handle. A lot of high school baseball and local golf. Tractor pulls and youth soccer. But also a few tastes of bigger events, like the Pro Bowl and the Hawaiian Open. It was all great on-the-job training.

As an editor, Kwon was patient and understanding. He was a teacher who corrected privately and tactfully.
As a columnist, he was clever yet meticulous. Critical at times, but fair.

And it was obvious which sport was his favorite.

“He taught me about golf,” said retired Star-Bulletin sportswriter Randy Cadiente. “How to cover it. But especially how to play it.”

I can’t remember him losing his temper. Ever.

He was Mr. Consistency as a columnist.

“I remember calling him once with a question and I can’t even remember what it was about,” said Clyde Mizumoto, who edited Kwon’s column for 10 years.

“He was professional, always on time,” said Curtis Murayama, the Advertiser’s sports editor at the time and now the Star-Advertiser’s deputy sports editor.

I was fortunate to have Kwon as a mentor and also to be part of his unofficial book club. We shared good reads for many years, and good conversation until just a few weeks before he passed.

On Thursday at Waialae Country Club, speakers representing the many facets of his life recalled Bill’s wit and his vast knowledge and appreciation of many subjects. Mostly, though, we talked about what he meant to us as a friend.

David Ishii, the great golf champion, noted it was “the liveliest and funnest” celebration of life he’d been to.

I drove home smiling, remembering Bill did finally get to see the Red Sox win three World Series, the ’Bows thrash BYU a few times, and Michelle Wie capture an LPGA major.

-- Dave Reardon, Star Advertiser, 10/21/16

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Arnold Palmer

Arnold Palmer, a seven-time major winner who brought golf to the masses and became the most beloved figure in the game, died Sunday, a source close to the family confirmed to Golfweek. He was 87.

No one did more to popularize the sport than Palmer. His dashing presence singlehandedly took golf out of the country clubs and into the mainstream. Quite simply, he made golf cool.

“I used to hear cheers go up from the crowd around Palmer,” Lee Trevino said. “And I never knew whether he’d made a birdie or just hitched up his pants.”

Palmer, of Latrobe, Pa., attended Wake Forest University on a golf scholarship. At age 24, he was selling paint and living in Cleveland, just seven months removed from a three-year stint in the Coast Guard when he entered the national sporting consciousness by winning the 1954 U.S. Amateur at the Country Club of Detroit.

“That victory was the turning point in my life,” he said. “It gave me confidence I could compete at the highest level of the game.”

Palmer’s victory set in motion a chain of events. Instead of returning to selling paint, Palmer played the next week in the Waite Memorial in Shawnee-on-Delaware, Pa., where he met Winifred Walzer, who would become his wife of 45 years until her death in 1999. On Nov. 17, 1954, Palmer announced his intentions to turn pro, and golf would never be the same.

In his heyday, Palmer famously swung like he was coming out of his shoes.

“What other people find in poetry, I find in the flight of a good drive,” Palmer said.

He unleashed his corkscrew swing motion, which produced a piercing draw, with the ferocity of a summer squall. In his inimitable swashbuckling style, Palmer succeeded with both power and putter. In a career that spanned more than six decades, he won 62 PGA Tour titles between 1955 and 1973, placing him fifth on the Tour’s all-time victory list, and collected seven majors in a seven-year explosion between the 1958 and 1964 Masters.

Palmer didn’t lay up or leave putts short. His go-for-broke style meant he played out of the woods and ditches with equal abandon, and resulted in a string of memorable charges. At the 1960 U.S. Open at Cherry Hills near Denver, Palmer drove the first green and with his trademark knock-kneed, pigeon-toed putting stance went out and birdied six of the first seven holes en route to shooting 65 and winning the title in a furious comeback.

“Palmer on a golf course was Jack Dempsey with his man on the ropes, Henry Aaron with a three-and-two fastball, Rod Laver at set point, Joe Montana with a minute to play, A.J. Foyt with a lap to go and a car to catch,” wrote Los Angeles Times columnist Jim Murray.

Even Palmer’s setbacks were epic. He double-bogeyed the 18th hole at Augusta in the 1961 Masters after accepting congratulations from a spectator he knew in the gallery. Palmer lost playoffs in three U.S. Opens, the first to Jack Nicklaus in 1962; the second to Julius Boros in 1963; and the third to Billy Casper in 1966 in heart-breaking fashion. Palmer blew a seven-stroke lead with nine holes to go in regulation at the Olympic Club and lost to Casper in an 18-hole playoff the next day.

Arnold Daniel Palmer, born Sept. 10, 1929, grew up in the working-class mill town of Latrobe, in a two-story frame house off the sixth tee of Latrobe Country Club, where his father, Milfred “Deacon” Palmer, was the greenskeeper and professional.

Palmer was 3 years old when his father wrapped his hands around a cut-down women’s golf club in the classic overlapping Vardon grip, and instructed him to, “Hit it hard, boy. Go find it and hit it hard again.”

Palmer’s combination of matinee-idol looks, charisma and blue-collar background made him a superstar just as golf ushered in the television era. He became Madison Avenue’s favorite pitchman, accepting an array of endorsement deals that generated millions of dollars in income on everything from licensed sportswear to tractors to motor oil and even Japanese tearooms.

Credit goes to agent Mark McCormack, who sold the Palmer personality and the values he represented rather than his status as a tournament winner. Palmer’s business empire grew to include a course-design company, a chain of dry cleaners, car dealerships, as well as ownership of Bay Hill Resort & Lodge in Orlando. He even bought Latrobe Country Club, which his father helped build with his own hands and where as a youth Palmer was permitted only before the members arrived in the morning or after they had gone home in the evening.

Palmer designed more than 300 golf courses in 37 states, 25 countries and five continents (all except Africa and Antarctica), including the first modern course built in China, in 1988.

Palmer led the PGA Tour money list four times, and was the first player to win more than $100,000 in a season. He played on six Ryder Cup teams, and was the winning captain twice. He is credited with conceiving the modern Grand Slam of the Masters, U.S. Open, British Open and PGA Championship during a conversation with golf writer Bob Drum on a flight to Ireland for the 1960 Canada Cup. Palmer won the Masters four times, the British Open twice and the U.S. Open once.

It was Palmer who convinced his colleagues they could never consider themselves champions unless they had won the Claret Jug. Nick Faldo, during Palmer’s farewell at St. Andrews in 1995 may have put it best when he said, “If Arnold hadn’t come here in 1960, we’d probably all be in a shed on the beach.” Mark O’Meara went a step further. “He made it possible for all of us to make a living in this game,” he said.

In 1974, Palmer was one of the original inductees into the World Golf Hall of Fame. As he grew older, a shaky putter let Palmer down, but his popularity never waned. The nascent Senior PGA Tour hitched its star to golf’s first telegenic personality when Palmer turned 50. He relished winning again and became a regular on the senior circuit, remaining active until 2006.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Mr. Fuji

STAMFORD, Conn. >> World Wrestling Entertainment says the former star wrestler and manager Harry Fujiwara, better known as Mr. Fuji, has died at age 82.

Fujiwara, a native of Honolulu, Hawaii, started his professional career in 1965 in his native Hawaii. After years of touring several territories, he made his way to Vince McMahon Sr.’s World Wide Wrestling Federation (WWF) in 1972. Over the next four decades, Fujiwara established himself as a tag-team specialist and one of the most decorated managers of his or any other era. In total, Fujiwara accumulated five WWF Tag Team Championship reigns; three with Professor Toru Tanaka and two with Masa Saito. Fujiwara also managed several legendary figures in professional wrestling.

Fujiwara got his start in pro wrestling in 1965; although his character was billed as hailing from Osaka, Fujiwara was actually a Japanese-American born in Hawaii, where he debuted under the name Mr. Fujiwara in the National Wrestling Alliance. In 1966, Fujiwara won his first tag-team championship with partner King Curtis Iaukea. By that point, the wrestler had shortened his moniker to Mr. Fuji.

In 1972, Fujiwara made his first appearance in Vince McMahon Sr.’s World Wide Wrestling Federation. Fujiwara came on as a heel, claiming the World Tag Team Championship with his partner Professor Toru Tanaka and manager The Grand Wizard. Fujiwara defended that title against legends like Bruno Sammartino before leaving the WWWF for Georgia Championship Wrestling in 1974.

Fujiwara returned to the WWWF in 1977, before returning to the NWA territories where he got his start. The wrestler made his second return to McMahon’s company—now known as the World Wrestling Federation—in 1981.

Fujiwara experienced his greatest success in the WWF, first as he and Mr. Satio—under the management styling’s of Captain Lou Albano—claimed the Tag Team Championship in 1981. During his run wrestling in the WWF, he feuded with Rick Martel and tag team The Wild Samoans. Fujiwara retired from wrestling in 1985, but remained with the WWF as a manager of his fellow heels.

Fujiwara starred as a tag team champion in the ring before shifting into a bad guy manager role in the 1980s. “Magnificent” Don Muraco, Yokozuna and George “The Animal” Steele were among those he managed. He was known for his trademark tactic of throwing salt into the eyes of opponents.

In 1985, Fujiwara adopted his signature look of a black tuxedo, bowler, and cane, creating a character that resembled between Oddjob and Charlie Chan. Known as “the devious one,” Fujiwara would frequently cheat when the referee wasn’t looking by throwing salt in his opponent’s eyes, blinding them and making them easy to pin down.

While a manager, Fujiwara took the reins on the some of the WWF’s best bad guys, including George “The Animal Steel,” Don Muraco, and the tag team Demolition. Demolition eventually turned face and abandoned Mr. Fuji, who in turn took over management duties on Ax and Smash’s rivals, The Powers Of Pain. Fujiwara also led the mammoth Yokozuna—a sumo character—to his two world heavyweight titles. In a recent tribute to Fujiwara, announcer Mean Gene Okerlund described Fujiwara’s management style as “one of a kind.”

While known as a sinister character in and around the ring, Fujiwara revealed his dry sense of humor on Tuesday Night Titans, a WWF-produced parody of late-night talk shows. Fujiwara was a regular guest on the show, and appeared in TV parodies such as Fuji General and Fuji Vice. “Mr.Fuji was the first man to ever rib me, and taught me the beginnings of the Art of Ribbing,” wrestling manager and 2011 WWE Hall of Fame inductee Tamra “Sunny” Sytch writes in a Facebook tribute to Fujiwara quoted by Inquisitr.

By 1996, Fujiwara had turned face, and retired from the business shortly thereafter. Fujiwara went on to run a dojo out of Knoxville, Tennessee until 2001, and was a part-time movie usher in his spare time. He was inducted into the WWE Hall Of Fame on March 31, 2007 by former wrestler and fellow Hawaiian Don Muraco.

“Fuji spent more than 30 years entertaining fans worldwide as both an in-ring competitor and one of WWE’s greatest managers,” the WWE says in a statement. “With Muraco, Fuji treated WWE fans to the classic Fuji Vice, Fuji General, Fuji Bandito and Fuji Chan series. These series were ahead of their time because spoofing successful television shows as they tried to break into Hollywood was the epitome of sports-entertainment. His career will be remembered by different generations for different reasons, but Mr. Fuji, whether as a Superstar or manager, is one of the most entertaining performers in the history of WWE.”

Sunday, August 07, 2016

Alex Rodriguez to retire

Three-time American League MVP and 14-time All-Star Alex Rodriguez is set to play his final game on Aug. 12, the Yankees announced on Sunday prior to a press conference at Yankee Stadium.

Rodriguez will be unconditionally released from his player contract after the game and join the Yankees as a special adviser and instructor, ending a 22-year MLB career. That adviser-instructor deal will last until Dec. 31, 2017, the Yankees announced.

"This is a tough day," an emotional Rodriguez said. "I love this game and I love this team, and today I'm saying goodbye to both."

Rodriguez's 696 career home runs is fourth-all time, behind only Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron and Babe Ruth.
Rodriguez's announcement on Sunday came just two days after teammate Mark Teixeira announced he would retire at the end of the 2016 season.

"Saying 'Goodbye' may be the hardest part of the job, but that's what I'm doing today," Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez, who turned 41 on July 27, has hit .204 with nine home runs in 62 games this season. Since July 16, Rodriguez is 2-for-26 with one home run. The down year comes after a strong 2015 in which he hit 33 home runs.

The first overall pick by the Mariners in the 1993 draft, Rodriguez made his MLB debut the next season. A perennial All-Star at the shortstop position, Rodriguez signed a 10-year, $252 million contract with the Rangers prior to the 2001 season. But the team, mired at the bottom of the AL West, traded Rodriguez to the Yankees in a blockbuster deal before the 2004 season.

To accommodate incumbent Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, Rodriguez switched to third base upon his arrival in New York. After his MVP 2007 season with the Yankees, Rodriguez opted out of his original contract and signed a new 10-year, $275 million contract with multiple bonus clauses. Both his original Texas contract and the 2007 Yankees deal were, at the time of their signing, the biggest contracts ever signed by an MLB player.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Mark Takai, the Rainbow

When it was briefly decreed that “Warriors” would thereafter be the University of Hawaii’s sole athletic nickname, striking the word “Rainbow,” K. Mark Takai flew into action to help force reconsideration.

When there was talk of cutting some UH sports due to mounting deficits, the then-state representative proposed a one-time fund to match public donations with state money.

Why, U. S. Rep. Takai was asked, did he expend so much effort and energy on UH causes when, as a legislator, he had any number of issues to deal with?

The answer always came back to what he took to be a heart-felt and long-standing debt. Receiving a swimming scholarship to UH, Takai maintained, opened so many doors for him that he felt honor-bound to pay it back whenever he could.

Takai, who died Wednesday at the too-young age of 49 following a nine-month bout with pancreatic cancer, was as relentless on UH’s behalf in public service as he had been in the pool.

A four-year member of the Rainbows’ swim team, he went on to earn two degrees from UH where he also served as ASUH President and an editor of the campus paper, Ka Leo. Later he would be an officer in the Letterwinner’s Club, serve on the Athletic Advisory Board and Alumni Association.

“UH was — and will always be — a big part of my life,” Takai often said, proudly introducing himself as, “a Rainbow through and through.”

It was easy for people who hadn’t known him to write off Takai’s zeal for UH issues as the case of just another politician trying to grab some face time in the spotlight. But Takai’s interest was both earnest and early on.

Jan Prins, one of his UH coaches, said in an email, “What I recall most with Mark as a team member was his persistence in looking for ways to work with the athletic department to better assist the swim team … always a challenge given the ‘second tier’ attention that is part of the lot of a ‘non-revenue’ sport.”

Prins wrote, “There were times when his tenacity prompted more than one call to me from (athletic director) Stan Sheriff, wondering why ‘this freshman’ was so intent on doing whatever he can to get more attention paid to the swim team.”

In time Sheriff would become a good friend and mentor, even calling upon Takai, after graduation, to help the department and ASUH mediate contentious issues over student seating and ticket prices.

Sheriff, as was the case with many who dealt with Takai in the early UH days, saw someone destined for something special.

Saturday, July 09, 2016

UFC 200

Meisha Tate upset by Amanda Nunes for women's bantamweight title
Brock Lesnar outlasts Mark Hunt
Daniel Cormier smothers Anderson Silva
Jose Aldo defeats Frankie Edgar for the interim featherweight title
Cain Velasquez TKOs Travis Browne

Friday, July 01, 2016

Coastal Carolina wins World Series

OMAHA, Neb. >> Coastal Carolina coach Gary Gilmore often said he just wanted his team to reach the College World Series.

Until this week, he never imagined the Chanticleers would do so much more: They’re heading back to Conway, S.C., with the school’s first national championship in any sport.

The Chanticleers defeated Arizona 4-3 in the deciding Game 3 of the College World Series final on Thursday, capitalizing on two errors on the same play to score four unearned runs in the sixth inning of a game delayed a day by bad weather.

It was worth the wait.

“Whenever I die, I’ll know this group of guys here, they willed themselves to be the national champion,” Gilmore said. “It was just meant to be, no doubt. If there is such a thing as a team of destiny, this group is it.”

Coastal Carolina (55-18) became the first team since Minnesota in 1956 to win the title in its first CWS appearance. Arizona (49-24) was trying for its second national title since 2012, but came up just short in a season in which it was picked to finish ninth in the Pac-12.

“Amazing season, and they’re a deserving champion,” first-year Arizona coach Jay Johnson said of the Chanticleers. “We played as good as we possibly could this year, and they’re the best team we’ve played, in my opinion.”

Andrew Beckwith (15-1), the national leader in wins, went 52⁄3 innings after pitching two complete games and picked up his third victory of the CWS. He was named the most outstanding player.

“He’s been coaching for 21 years, and he deserves every bit of it,” Beckwith said of Gilmore. “We got him to Omaha and we got him a national championship. The senior class, the hard work in the fall, the dedication of the guys who don’t play much. It doesn’t go unnoticed. It was a full team effort the whole College World Series, and we got it done.”

Alex Cunningham earned his first save, striking out Ryan Haug with a full-count fastball to end the game after Arizona had pulled within one in the bottom of the ninth. When Haug swung and missed, Cunningham turned to his dugout, beat his chest with his fist three times and saluted before flipping his glove away to start the celebration.

“The running joke is that in high school I lost the state championship three times in a row. I was not going to lose this one, I promise you that,” Cunningham said.

The championship was the first in a team sport in the 33-year history of the Big South Conference. The Big South could savor the accomplishment for only about eight hours. The Chanticleers become members of the Sun Belt Conference today.

“This program has been a lot better than people give it credit for,” Gilmore said. “They thought we played in a small conference and couldn’t get this done. This bunch wanted to prove everybody wrong.”

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

2016 Olympic Basketball Team

— Once again, the U.S. Men's Senior National Team has, by necessity, a lot of new faces.

Selected for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team, which is seeking a third consecutive Olympic title, were: Carmelo Anthony (New York Knicks/Syracuse); Harrison Barnes (Golden State Warriors/North Carolina); Jimmy Butler (Chicago Bulls/Marquette); DeMarcus Cousins (Sacramento Kings/Kentucky); DeMar DeRozan (Toronto Raptors/USC); Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder/Texas); Paul George (Indiana Pacers/Fresno State); Draymond Green (Golden State Warriors/Michigan State); Kyrie Irving (Cleveland Cavaliers/Duke); DeAndre Jordan (Los Angeles Clippers/Texas A&M); Kyle Lowry (Toronto Raptors/Villanova); and Klay Thompson (Golden State Warriors/Washington State).

Only two of the 12 Americans -- Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant -- set to play in Rio this summer were on the squad that won gold in London in 2012.

Another four won gold at the World Cup in Spain in 2014, but half of the team has never played in an international competition on the senior level. The 12 players have combined to represent the U.S. just 11 times previously, and Anthony, making his fourth Olympic appearance, accounts for five of those 11 times.

USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo and Senior Team head coach Mike Krzyzewski named a pool of 30 players in January, adding the Portland Trail Blazers' Damian Lillard a couple of weeks later. And by the time the NBA season was done, they basically had to go through the whole list before coming up with 12 guys who were both willing and able to play in Rio.

 Really, only 11 of the 12 players came from the January pool. The Toronto Raptors' Kyle Lowry, who wasn't on the original list, was added because of the need for a second point guard.

This is the first time since the 2006 World Cup -- the last competition that the U.S. didn't win -- that Colangelo and Krzyzewski are only taking two point guards on their roster. Along with LeBron James, point guards Stephen Curry, Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook (all National Team vets) are the most notable players who chose not to participate this year.

Buddy Ryan

Former NFL head coach and influential defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan died Tuesday. He was 82.

Ryan, who was outspoken and coached in the NFL for 26 seasons, was known for building some of football's top defenses with a relentlessness that focused on creating havoc on the field.

His death was confirmed by the Buffalo Bills, who employ twin sons Rex and Rob Ryan. James Solano, Buddy Ryan's agent, said he died in Kentucky, where he lived on a ranch in Shelbyville, but did not give a cause.

"I wonder who just lost their defensive-coordinating job in heaven," former Chicago Bears defensive tackle Steve McMichael told ESPN on Tuesday.

James David Ryan was a Korean War veteran who went to Oklahoma State, then got a master's degree from Middle Tennessee State even while coaching. He got his first major job in the pros in New York, then of the American Football League, in 1968. Ryan was the linebackers coach for the Joe Namath-led Jets, a boastful, confident team that fit his personality.

Those Jets led the AFL in defense in his first season on staff, then shocked the Colts in the Super Bowl 16-7.

Buddy Ryan's first job as a defensive coordinator came in 1976 with the Minnesota Vikings under Bud Grant, like Ewbank a Hall of Fame coach. He spent two years there before moving to the rival Bears, where he concocted the 46 defense that overwhelmed the league with its aggressiveness and unpredictability.

With the Bears, Ryan's notoriety skyrocketed. The 46 defense was founded on sending more blitzing players than an offense could block. And in 1984, the Bears tallied 72 sacks, a record that still stands. The '85 Bears capped their Super Bowl title with seven sacks.

Ryan's defenders, featuring such Hall of Famers as linebacker Mike Singletary and ends Dan Hampton and Richard Dent, came from all angles and were nearly impossible to budge on the ground. Not that teams had more success in the air, either.

Ryan and head coach Mike Ditka often feuded during that 15-1 '85 season and Super Bowl run. They nearly slugged it out at halftime of Chicago's only defeat, at Miami on a Monday night in December. (Ryan later punched offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride on national TV on Jan. 2, 1994, when both were assistant coaches with the Houston Oilers.)

"We won a Super Bowl together, and we would have never did it without each other," Ditka told SportsCenter on Tuesday. "... Buddy was far before his time, really. He did things defensively that people had no concept of. It took a long time for people to figure out what to do against his defense, not that they ever figured it out.

"What Buddy did was genius. He was way ahead of his time."

Pat Summitt

Hall of Fame coach Pat Summitt, a pioneer of women's college basketball who guided the Tennessee Volunteers to eight national titles in her 38 seasons at the university, died Tuesday morning. She was 64.

Summitt led the Lady Vols to 1,098 victories -- the most in Division I college basketball history (men or women) ­­-- before stepping down in 2012, one year after announcing she had early onset dementia, Alzheimer's type.

Named the NCAA coach of the year seven times, Summitt led the Lady Vols to 22 Final Fours (18 NCAA, four AIAW) in her nearly four decades as coach.

"Pat Summitt is synonymous with Tennessee, but she truly is a global icon who transcended sports and spent her entire life making a difference in other peoples' lives," Tennessee athletic director Dave Hart said in a statement. "She was a genuine, humble leader who focused on helping people achieve more than they thought they were capable of accomplishing. Pat was so much more than a Hall of Fame coach; she was a mother, mentor, leader, friend, humanitarian and inspiration to so many. Her legacy will live on through the countless people she touched throughout her career."

Of her eight national championships, she won three straight from 1996 to 1998. Her teams won 16 Southeastern Conference tournament titles and made an unprecedented 31 consecutive appearances in the NCAA tournament.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

2016 NBA Draft

NBA Mock Draft 3.0 4.0 / / The VerticalFinch (as of 6/21/16) / Consensus

1.  Philadelphia - Ben Simmons / Simmons / Simmons / Simmons
2.  Los Angeles Lakers - Brandon Ingram /Ingram / Ingram / Ingram
3.  Boston Celtics - Dragan Bender / Kris Dunn / Dunn / Dunn
4.  Phoenix Suns - Marquese Chriss / Chriss / Jaylen Brown / Chriss
5.  Minnesota Timberwoves - Kris Dunn / Buddy Hield / Hield / Hield
6.  New Orleans Pelicans - Jamal Murray / Murray / Murray / Murray
7.  Denver Nuggets - Buddy Hield / Bender / Bender / Bender
8.  Sacramento Kings - Jaylen Brown / Brown / Domantas Sabonis / Brown

*** [6/23/16]

NBA draft about to begin.  Watching on WatchESPN.

The big question is what will happen with the third pick.  It's looking like it'll be Kris Dunn, but will Boston retain their pick?

1.  Philadelphia - Ben Simmons PF, LSU
2.  Los Angeles Lakers - Brandon Ingram SF, Duke
3.  Boston Celtics - Jaylen Brown SF, California (really?)
4.  Phoenix - Dragan Bender PF, Croatia
5.  Minnesota - Kris Dunn PG, Providence
6.  New Orleans - Buddy Hield SG, Oklahoma
7.  Denver - Jamal Murray G, Kentucky
8.  Sacramento - Marquese Chriss PF, Washington

So the top eight players went as expected, but not in the order expected after the top two.

And now I hear, Chriss is going to be traded to Phoenix who people expected to draft at no. 4 in the first place.  So now Phoenix will get both Chriss and Bender.  Now who will Phoenix give up?  The answer is: the no. 13 pick, then no. 28 pick, and Bogdan Bogdanovic.

Orlando takes Domantas Sabonis and reportedly has traded him and Victor Oladipo to Oklahoma City for Serge Ibaka.  And Ilyasova too.


Grading the first round

Monday, June 20, 2016

LeBron makes history

OAKLAND, Calif. – Magnificent. It’s the only word that can describe this spectacular three-game stretch from LeBron James, one that began last Monday in a season-saving win at Oracle Arena, continued with a blowout of Golden State on Thursday and then, this: 27 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists in a 93-89 victory in Game 7 of the NBA Finals on Sunday that clinched the Cavaliers’ first championship in franchise history.

“He was first in everything in the Finals,” said Kyrie Irving, referring to James having more points, rebounds and assists than anyone in this year's edition. “If that’s not a unanimous Finals MVP, he showed it tonight. … That guy led us all year. He knew what it took and how to lead us. We all just took it from there.”

The Cavaliers became the first team to overcome a 3-1 deficit in the Finals and ended Cleveland’s 52-year major professional sports championship drought.

“For us to be able to end this, end this drought, our fans deserve it,” James said. “They deserve it. And it was for them."

In a series marred by lopsided scores, this was tight early. Both teams played to their strengths: Cleveland was physical, bullying Golden State on the boards (48-39) and in the paint (48-28). James – fresh off back-to-back 41-point games – was assertive, racking up 12 points, eight rebounds and five assists in the first half. While all eyes were on Stephen Curry, it was Draymond Green who provided a first-half spark, piling up 22 points – and making all five of his 3-point attempts.

“We didn't win,” Green said. “So we can look at a stat line and say, ‘Oh, he was great or whatever,’ but we didn't win. So that really doesn't matter.”

Green was the only Warriors player who looked comfortable. Curry scored nine points in the first half, but needed eight shots to get them. Klay Thompson was worse. Curry’s sidekick scored five points on 2-of-9 shooting in the first two quarters.

“I didn't play efficient,” Curry said. “I had some good moments, but didn't do enough to help my team win. ... I was aggressive, but in the wrong ways settling. It will haunt me for a while because it means a lot to me to try to lead my team and do what I need to do on the court and big stages. Done it before. Didn't do it tonight.”

Fortunately for Golden State, James received less help. After scoring 64 points the last two games, Irving could muster just nine in the first half. And Kevin Love, desperately in need of a breakout performance, had five points on 1-of-5 shooting.

The battle between James and Curry, already chippy, continued in Game 7. James blocked a Curry layup in the second quarter, lingering in Curry’s vicinity for a few seconds. Curry turned, bumped into James' chest and began barking at the Cavs star. Green interceded, and referee Mike Callahan needed to step in and separate them.

Golden State, which won a record 73 regular-season games, took a seven-point lead into the locker room – a lead Cleveland erased in three minutes. From there, it was a series of runs: a five-point lead for the Warriors; a seven-point lead for the Cavaliers. Irving came alive in the third quarter, pumping in 12 points. Harrison Barnes shook off a rough first half to chip in seven. Golden State took a one-point lead into the fourth quarter.

If the absence of Andrew Bogut wasn’t felt in Game 6, it was in Game 7. Bogut, the Warriors’ starting center, was lost for the season to a knee injury suffered during Game 5, and the Cavaliers took advantage, pounding Golden State on the boards and in the paint in Game 6. Kerr countered with Festus Ezeli in Game 7, but Ezeli (zero points) was ineffective, and Anderson Varejao’s suspect hands effectively forced Golden State to play four-on-five. Midway through the third, Kerr abandoned both, playing small the rest of the way.

“That game was right there for us,” Thompson said. “They just made big plays. It comes down to making plays. It’s that simple.”

The back and forth continued in the fourth. Curry knocked down a three over Tristan Thompson; James responded with a pair of turnarounds. Klay Thompson hit a contested shot over J.R. Smith. James hit back with three free throws. With less than two minutes to go, Andre Iguodala soared for a transition layup that would have given Golden State a two-point lead. James blocked it, an out-of-nowhere rejection that has become part of his repertoire. Irving drained a three on the other end, and James extended the lead to four with a free throw. A Curry miss – his 13th of the night – sealed it, and the Cavaliers’ bench rushed toward James, Akron’s prodigal son, who delivered the championship he promised when he returned to Cleveland two years ago.

“I came back for a reason,” James said. "I came back to bring a championship to our city. I knew what I was capable of doing.”

Friday, June 10, 2016

Gordie Howe

Gordie Howe, who helped lead the Detroit Red Wings to four Stanley Cup titles in six years and earned the nickname “Mr. Hockey” during his record 26 seasons in the National Hockey League, has died. He was 88.

His death was confirmed by the Red Wings in a Twitter post. He died Friday in Toledo, Ohio, where he had been staying with his son, Murray, according to the Detroit Free Press, which cited the team. Howe, who had dementia, suffered a severe stroke on October 2014.

Named the NHL’s most valuable player six times, Howe set a slew of records that stood until Wayne Gretzky, who idolized him growing up, shattered them in the 1990s. One was most career goals in regular-season play: Howe, with 801, trails only Gretzky (894). Howe’s record of playing in 1,767 regular-season NHL games still stands.

Few athletes, in any sport, could compete with Howe for longevity. He retired in 1971 after 25 years with the NHL’s Red Wings and was inducted into the sport’s Hall of Fame the following year. In 1973, at 45, he returned to the ice, joining his sons, Mark and Marty Howe, on the Houston Aeros of the World Hockey Association, a short-lived competitor to the NHL. The Aeros won consecutive championships, and Howe was named league MVP in 1974.

Howe and his sons moved in 1977 to the New England Whalers, which merged into the NHL as the Hartford Whalers before the 1979-1980 season, giving Howe one final year in the sport’s premier league. That season, he scored 15 goals and registered 26 assists in 80 games, and the Whalers made the playoffs, losing in the first round.

All told, he scored 174 goals in the World Hockey Association.

A panel of experts assembled by the Associated Press in 1999 chose Gretzky as the greatest hockey player of the 20th century, just ahead of Howe, who earned the same number of points but three fewer first-place votes.

Saturday, June 04, 2016

Muhammad Ali 1942-2016

He was fast of fist and foot — lip, too — a heavyweight champion who promised to shock the world and did. He floated. He stung. Mostly he thrilled, even after the punches had taken their toll and his voice barely rose above a whisper.

He was The Greatest.

Muhammad Ali died today at age 74, according to a statement from the family. He was hospitalized in the Phoenix area with respiratory problems earlier this week, and his children gathered around him.

“It’s a sad day for life, man. I loved Muhammad Ali, he was my friend. Ali will never die,” Don King, who promoted some of Ali’s biggest fights, told The Associated Press early Saturday. “Like Martin Luther King his spirit will live on, he stood for the world.”

A funeral will be held Wednesday in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky. The city plans a memorial service Saturday.

“What I suffered physically was worth what I’ve accomplished in life. A man who is not courageous enough to take risks will never accomplish anything in life.”
— Muhammad Ali, 1984
With a wit as sharp as the punches he used to “whup” opponents, Ali dominated sports for two decades before time and Parkinson’s Syndrome, triggered by thousands of blows to the head, ravaged his magnificent body, muted his majestic voice and ended his storied career in 1981.

He won and defended the heavyweight championship in epic fights in exotic locations, spoke loudly on behalf of blacks, and famously refused to be drafted into the Army during the Vietnam War because of his Muslim beliefs.

Despite his debilitating illness, he traveled the world to rapturous receptions even after his once-bellowing voice was quieted and he was left to communicate with a wink or a weak smile.

Revered by millions worldwide and reviled by millions more, Ali cut quite a figure, 6 feet 3 and 210 pounds in his prime. “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee,” his cornermen exhorted, and he did just that in a way no heavyweight had ever fought before.

He fought in three different decades, finished with a record of 56-5 with 37 knockouts and was the first man to win heavyweight titles three times.

He whipped the fearsome Sonny Liston twice, toppled the mighty George Foreman with the rope-a-dope in Zaire, and nearly fought to the death with Joe Frazier in the Philippines. Through it all, he was trailed by a colorful entourage who merely added to his growing legend.

“Rumble, young man, rumble,” cornerman Bundini Brown would yell to him.

And rumble Ali did. He fought anyone who meant anything and made millions of dollars with his lightning-quick jab. His fights were so memorable that they had names — “Rumble in the Jungle” and “Thrilla in Manila.”

But it was as much his antics — and his mouth — outside the ring that transformed the man born Cassius Clay into a household name as Muhammad Ali.

“I am the greatest,” Ali thundered again and again.

Few would disagree.

He later embarked on a second career as a missionary for Islam.

“Boxing was my field mission, the first part of my life,” he said in 1990, adding with typical braggadocio, “I will be the greatest evangelist ever.”

Ali couldn’t fulfill that goal because Parkinson’s robbed him of his speech. It took such a toll on his body that the sight of him in his later years — trembling, his face frozen, the man who invented the Ali Shuffle now barely able to walk — shocked and saddened those who remembered him in his prime.

“People naturally are going to be sad to see the effects of his disease,” Hana, one of his daughters, said, when he turned 65. “But if they could really see him in the calm of his everyday life, they would not be sorry for him. He’s at complete peace, and he’s here learning a greater lesson.”

The quiet of Ali’s later life was in contrast to the roar of a career that had breathtaking highs as well as terrible lows. He exploded on the public scene with a series of nationally televised fights that gave the public an exciting new champion, and he entertained millions as he sparred verbally with the likes of bombastic sportscaster Howard Cosell.

Ali once calculated he had taken 29,000 punches to the head and made $57 million in his pro career, but the effect of the punches lingered long after most of the money was gone. That didn’t stop him from traveling tirelessly to promote Islam, meet with world leaders and champion legislation dubbed the Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act. While slowed in recent years, he still managed to make numerous appearances, including a trip to the 2012 London Olympics.

Despised by some for his outspoken beliefs and refusal to serve in the U.S. Army in the 1960s, an aging Ali became a poignant figure whose mere presence at a sporting event would draw long standing ovations.

With his hands trembling so uncontrollably that the world held its breath, he lit the Olympic torch for the 1996 Atlanta Games in a performance as riveting as some of his fights.

A few years after that, he sat mute in a committee room in Washington, his mere presence enough to convince lawmakers to pass the boxing reform bill that bore his name.

Members of his inner circle weren’t surprised. They had long known Ali as a humanitarian who once wouldn’t think twice about getting in his car and driving hours to visit a terminally ill child. They saw him as a man who seemed to like everyone he met — even his archrival Frazier.

“I consider myself one of the luckiest guys in the world just to call him my friend,” former business manager Gene Kilroy said. “If I was to die today and go to heaven it would be a step down. My heaven was being with Ali.”

One of his biggest opponents would later become a big fan, too. On the eve of the 35th anniversary of their “Rumble in the Jungle,” Foreman paid tribute to the man who so famously stopped him in the eighth round of their 1974 heavyweight title fight, the first ever held in Africa.

“I don’t call him the best boxer of all time, but he’s the greatest human being I ever met,” Foreman said. “To this day he’s the most exciting person I ever met in my life.”

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

2015-2016 All NBA

— Kia NBA Most Valuable Player Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors and forward LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers lead the 2015-16 All-NBA First Team, the NBA announced today. Curry is the only player to receive First Team votes on all 129 ballots, earning First Team honors for the second straight year. James (125 First Team votes) has been named to the First Team for the 10th time in 13 seasons, tying seven players for the second-most selections in NBA history.

Joining Curry (645 total points) and James (637 points) are three players making their debuts on the All-NBA First Team: Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook (627 points, 120 First Team votes), San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard (575 points, 94 First Team votes) and Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan (317 points, 39 First Team votes).

The All-NBA Second Team consists of forwards Kevin Durant of the Thunder and Draymond Green of the Warriors, center DeMarcus Cousins of the Sacramento Kings and guards Chris Paul of the Clippers and Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers.

The All-NBA Third Team is composed of forwards Paul George of the Indiana Pacers and LaMarcus Aldridge of the Spurs, center Andre Drummond of the Detroit Pistons and guards Klay Thompson of the Warriors and Kyle Lowry of the Toronto Raptors.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Jim Ray Hart

SAN FRANCISCO -- Jim Ray Hart, one of the most prominent members of the talent-laden yet title-less Giants teams of the 1960s, died Thursday following a long illness in Acampo, Calif., the club announced. He was 74.

Hart played mostly third base for the Giants from 1963-73 before ending his career as a designated hitter with the Yankees in 1973-74. He hit 31 home runs during 1964, his first full Major League season, to establish a Giants franchise rookie record that still stands.

"He was another Giant product during that era of unbelievable players," said former catcher Jack Hiatt, a fixture in San Francisco's scouting and player development departments.

Two traits of Hart's were universally recognized.

First, he could hit a baseball ferociously.

Hiatt described the aural experience of being in Hart's general vicinity when he took batting practice.

"You could have your back turned and not see the hitter, and when that ball came off Jimmy Ray's bat, it made a different sound," Hiatt said. "He hit the ball extremely hard. He hit a home run off of [Sandy] Koufax in Los Angeles that almost knocked the foul pole down."

Former outfielder Ken Henderson marveled at the strength Hart displayed as he wielded his imposing 36-inch, 35-ounce bat. Hart, who averaged 28 home runs and 89 RBIs per season from 1964-68, often was overshadowed by future Hall of Famers Willie Mays, Willie McCovey and Orlando Cepeda. But teammates appreciated his talent.

"I think he'll always be remembered as one of the best players ever in that organization and certainly as one of the best hitters who ever played there. No question about it," Henderson said of Hart, a North Carolina native who recorded a .278 career batting average with 170 homers. "He would turn on the ball and hit these missiles, these rockets. If he ever hit one directly at the third baseman, he'd take his head off."

Hart's demeanor also left an enduring impression. He was remembered as being genial but quiet, as well as a loner.

"Jimmy Ray never tooted his own horn," Hiatt said. "He stayed away from all publicity. He never talked. But when he said something, he always had a grin."

Henderson recalled Hart inviting him to dinner after an afternoon game in St. Louis -- a surprising act, since to that point they hadn't socialized together. They talked late into the night.

"It was kind of one of the most revealing, important times that I had, to really understand Jim Ray's roots and what he was all about," Henderson said. "I got to know him as a man. And he was a sweetheart of a man."

"Everyone in the Giants organization is deeply saddened by the news of Jim's passing," Giants president and chief executive officer Larry Baer said in a statement Friday. "Our condolences go out to the Hart family for their tremendous loss and we extend our thoughts to Jim's teammates, his friends, and to all those touched by his passing."

Friday, May 13, 2016

Stephen Curry, MVP * 2

From the jaw-dropping half-court heaves that somehow sink through the net to the dazzling drives and zippy passes from every which way, Stephen Curry's desire to keep getting better while always trying to entertain at every stop has the Golden State superstar being mentioned right along with the best ever, Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson.

And he just turned 28. There might still be so much more for the 6-foot-3, baby-faced point guard whose ability to make it on the big NBA stage was initially questioned by some.

On Tuesday, Curry accomplished something those former greats never did: He became the first unanimous NBA MVP, earning the award for the second straight season after leading the defending champion Warriors to a record-setting season.

"I never really set out to change the game. I never thought that would happen in my career," Curry said. "What I wanted to do was just be myself. ... I know it inspires a lot of the next generation, a lot of people who love the game of basketball to value the skill of it, value the fact that you can work every single day to get better. You've got to be able to put the time and the work. That's how I got here, that's how I continue to get better every single day.

Curry is the 11th player in league history to be voted MVP in consecutive seasons and the first guard since Steve Nash in 2004-05 and 2005-06.

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Hawaii High School Football recruiting news (2016)

5/17/16 - Rolo offers 15-year old Tui Tuitele
5/13/16 - Rolovich makes offer to eighth grader Noah Sewell
5/3/16 - Tua chooses Alabama
3/18/16 - Hawaii first to offer Taulia Tagovailoa, QB, Kapolei
3/9/16 - Alabama offers Tua Tagovailoa, QB, St. Louis

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Tommy Kono

Two-time gold medalist Tommy Kono, who overcame asthma as a young child to set 26 world records in weightlifting, died today in Honolulu, according to a family member. He was 85.

Born in Sacramento, Calif., Kono moved to Hawaii in the 1970s after putting together an incredible career that included a gold medal at the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki, Finland, at 149 pounds. He then won another gold medal at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics at 182 pounds and captured a silver medal at the Olympics Games in Rome at 165 pounds.

Kono is the only Olympic weightlifter in history to have set world records in four different weight classes: lightweight (149 pounds), middleweight (165), light-heavyweight (182 lb) and middle-heavyweight (198). He was named to the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame on July 6, 1990 in Minneapolis, Minn., and the International Weightlifting Hall of Fame in 1994 in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Kono was named the top weightlifter of all-time by the official magazine of the International Weightlifting Federation.

“He is in my opinion the greatest weightlifter of all-time,” former Olympic weightlifter Pete George told the Honolulu Advertiser in 2003. George also won a gold medal at the 1952 Olympics and a silver in 1956. “He would always go where the competition was the toughest. Some of us went where we thought we’d get a medal.”

In addition to Olympic success, Kono won six world championships in events that included the clean and jerk, clean and press, and snatch. Kono was the head coach of the United States’ Olympic weightlifting team in the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal.

He was also a successful bodybuilder, winning the Iron Man Mr. World title in 1954.


Kono did not live in Aiea and train at the Nuuanu YMCA until after he’d won his first of two Olympic gold medals, in Helsinki, Finland, in 1952. So sometimes people question why Hawaii lays claim to him as one of its favorite sons and finest athletes.

The answer is Kono fit in while standing out. He immediately took to Hawaii and its culture upon his arrival to work in the office of a friend, Dr. Richard Yu, when he wasn’t training.

“He was already famous, but he didn’t make high maka maka. That’s why people in Hawaii embraced him. He didn’t come over acting like a big shot,” said Gus Rethwisch, a power lifter, actor, event promoter and University of Hawaii baseball player who lived here for 12 years and knew Kono well. “When I met him in 1973 he was humble but still a tremendous presence.”

Kono had retired from weightlifting nine years prior, but remained active as a coach and doing anything to help anyone interested in power lifting or bodybuilding (sometimes people forget the man who was voted the top Olympic weightlifter of all-time in 1998 also won four Mr. World and Mr. Universe titles from 1954 to 1961).

He and his wife, Florence, were raising their family in Aiea. “He didn’t want to go back to California because he was more accepted here,” his daughter, Joann Sumida, said.

Kono said it himself in a 2009 Star-Bulletin story:

“At competitions I’d be introduced as the ‘Hawaiian, Tommy Kono,’ and I never corrected them,” Kono said. “I looked like I came from Wahiawa. I blended right in from the start.

“On the mainland I was an Olympic and world champ but never got the publicity like I got here. … Being adopted by Hawaii is really something, and interestingly, of my 26 world records, 21 were in foreign countries and five in Hawaii. Nothing in the continental U.S. It’s why I felt more that I was always representing Hawaii than the U.S.”