INDEPENDENCE, Ohio — Should the Cleveland Cavaliers fail to dig themselves out of their 3-2 NBA Finals deficit to the Golden State Warriors,LeBron James would not find any consolation in the possibility that he still could be named series MVP in a losing effort.

“I wouldn’t feel good about it at all,” James said after Cavs shootaround in advance of Game 6 on Tuesday night. “Because at the end of the day, I’m here to win a team prize, and that’s to win a championship, not an individual prize.”

James is averaging 36.6 points, 12.4 rebounds and 8.8 assists in the Finals. Through the first five games of the series, he has registered two triple-doubles and three 40-point games.

His individual dominance, in the face of Cleveland playing without injured All-Stars Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving, has fueled the conversation that James could become the first Finals MVP on a losing team since Jerry Westwon it in 1969, when his Los Angeles Lakers lost to the Boston Celtics in seven games.

Dallas Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki said he believes the MVP should come from the winning team.

“For me, it’s got to be somebody from the winner,” said Nowitzki, the 2011 Finals MVP after leading the Mavericks to an upset victory over James’ Miami Heat. “That’s how I always viewed the MVP, even though LeBron is playing from another planet and he’s single-handedly keeping the series close. I’ve always believe the MVP has to come from the winner.

“Steph [Curry] has played amazing the last couple of games. Even Steve Kerr said [Andre] Iguodala has been their best player in the first four games. He’s been phenomenal on both ends of the floor. So I’m sure you can find somebody from the Warriors if they pull through.”

SOURCE – ESPN.COM  IMAGE – ESPN.COM

Reggae Boyz lose 1-0 to Paraguay after goalkeeping error

Jamaica went down 1-0 to Paraguay in the Copa America after a stunning error by goalkeeper Duwayne Kerr.

The result leaves Jamaica at the bottom of Group B with zero points from two games and the South Americans with four points from its first two matches.

Kerr came 25 meters (yards) off his line to head away a long ball from the Paraguay defense. Instead, he headed it onto the knee of Paraguay’s Edgar Benitez, and they both watched as it rolled into the net in the 36th minute.

Paraguay had most of the possession in the match, but was an unconvincing winner. Roque Santa Cruz had at least three first-half chances, including a long, soaring shot that Kerr leaped to save. Raul Bobadilla also had several chances in the first half.

Paraguay wasn’t as dominant in the second half as Jamaica tried to attack. Paraguay’s Miguel Samudio hit the crossbar in the 60th, trying to extend Paraguay’s lead. Victor Caceres also had two early chances.

Garath McCleary had Jamaica’s best chance in the second half, shooting just inches wide of the far post in the 80th.

On Saturday, Paraguay faces Uruguay and Jamaica plays Argentina

SOURCE – LOOPJAMAICA.COM

IMAGE – LOOPJAMAICA.COM

Barcelona Set To Score $90 Million A Year Shirt Deal With Qatar Airways

After defeating Juventus in the Champions League final 3-1 last weekend and winning the treble, Spanish soccer power Barcelona is set to score a new shirt deal with Qatar Airways.

Sources familiar with the negotiations but not authorized to speak about them publicly because nothing has been signed yet, say the new deal with be worth twice as much as the existing one.

Currently, Qatar pays Barcelona $45 million a year to put its name on the team’s jersey. The existing agreement expires after the 2015-16 season.

The new shirt deal would place Barcelona ahead of current leader Manchester United, which has an $80 million a year agreement with General Motors. Spanish rival Real Madrid takes in only $39 million a year from Emirates that runs to 2018.

Not only is Barcelona the best soccer team in the world, but it has the greatest trio of stars on the pitch with Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez. Barcelona boast a tremendous following on social media in part because the Catalonia style of play oozes class. No doubt all of this comes into play when calibrating the value of a shirt deal.

During the 2014-15 season, Barcelona’s revenue should come close to $680 million. By the time the new shirt deal begins the Catalonia side could be a $700 million a year in revenue team.

source – FORBES.COM  image – FORBES.COM

Digicel SportsMax to broadcast “Axe Man” title defence

Jamaica’s undefeated World Boxing Association (WBA) featherweight world champion, Nicholas “The Axe Man” Walters, defends his title against unbeaten Colombian prospect, Miguel “The Scorpion” Marriaga on Saturday.

Digicel SportsMax will broadcast what promises to be an exciting boxing bout.

Walters, from Montego Bay, Jamaica, enters the ring with a record of 25 wins, including 21 knockouts. Eleven of Walters’ last 12 wins have been stoppages.

He captured the vacant WBA featherweight title on December 8, 2012, during the SportsMax Fight Night, “Rumble on JamRock” at the National Indoor Sports Centre where he knocked out Colombian opponent Daulis Prescott in the seventh round.

Walters has successfully defended the title three times — all by knockout — stopping Alberto Garza, former two-division world champion Vic Darchinyan, and 2012 Fighter of the Year and former four-division world champion Nonito Donaire in the fourth, fifth and sixth rounds, respectively.

Colombia’s Marriaga enters this fight with 20 wins, 18 by way of knockout.

Twelve of The Scorpion’s previous 13 fights have ended with knockouts. The Scorpion gets his work done early, with 14 of his 18 knockouts coming in round four or earlier. The World Boxing Council ranks him as the No. 9 featherweight in the world.

This will be the second time Marriaga and Walters are squaring off, with the first battle, a 2008 Olympic qualifier, going to Marriaga.

Digicel SportsMax Caribbean marketing manager, Tanya Lee believes the Walters-Marriaga Fight Night is just what Caribbean boxing fans need.

“After our exclusive broadcast of the Mayweather v Pacquiao fight on May 2, Caribbean boxing fans are hungry again for the next big bout. Axe Man first captured his world featherweight title live on SportsMax in 2012 at our Rumble on JamRock event and we thought it fitting that Caribbean fans witness his title defence right here on Digicel SportsMax.”

The Digicel SportsMax Fight Night: Walters v Marriaga broadcast will begin at 8pm (9pm Eastern Caribbean Time) on Digicel SportsMax across its 25 Caribbean territories and will also feature Felix Verdejo (17-0, 13 KO), the top lightweight prospect out of Puerto Rico, as he faces San Antonio’s Ivan Najera (16-0, 8 KO) in a clash of unbeaten young fighters.

Digicel SportsMax are also regional rights holders of premium sporting content such as the recent Mayweather v Pacquiao bout, IAAF Diamond League, IAAF World Challenge meets, the Copa America, the Barclays Premier League, the UEFA Champions League, The Women’s Tennis Association Premier Event, The Netball World Cup 2015, The Indian Premier League, The Ashes, Australia and England cricket, and more.

source – LOOPJAMAICA.COM  image – LOOPJAMAICA.COM

Lionel Messi is the most valuable player in the world and it’s not even close

Lionel Messi of Barcelona FC in Spain’s La Liga is the most valuable soccer player in the world, according to the latest valuations released by Football-Observatory.com.

Messi was determined to have a transfer value of $287.6-315.5 million (€255.3-280.9 million). That’s more than a $100 million greater than any other player in the world.

While fans will argue about whether Messi or Ronaldo is the best player in the world, the one huge advantage Messi has over Ronaldo in terms of value is age. Messi (27) is three years younger than his Real Madrid rival. Ronaldo is one of just seven of the top 100 players who has already celebrated his 30th birthday, and he fell to No. 3 on this year’s list behind Chelsea’sEden Hazard.

In addition to age, the player values are determined based on a formula that considers a player’s performance, position, contract status, and experience, as well as his current team’s performance and competition level, while factoring recent trends in spending in the transfer market.

Here are the 20 most valuable:

  1. Lionel Messi (Barcelona) — $287.8-316.6 million
  2. Eden Hazard (Chelsea)  — $152.7-167.9 million
  3. Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid)  — $127.7-140.6 million
  4. Neymar (Barcelona) — $101.0-111.0 million
  5. Sergio Agüero (Manchester City) — $88.2-97.0 million
  6. Raheem Sterling (Liverpool) — $83.1-91.3 million
  7. Paul Pogba (Juventus) — $79.3-87.2 million
  8. Diego Costa (Chelsea) — $78.8-86.7 million
  9. Alexis Sánchez (Arsenal)  — $76.4-84.1 million
  10. James Rodríguez (Real Madrid)  — $70.5-77.6 million
  11. Luis Suárez (Barcelona)  — $67.6-74.4 million
  12. Antoine Griezmann (Atlético Madrid)  — $66.5-73.2 million
  13. Cesc Fàbregas (Chelsea)  — $66.2-72.7 million
  14. Isco Alarcón (Real Madrid)  — $64.5-70.9 million
  15. Harry Kane (Tottenham)  — $60.3-66.4 million
  16. Gareth Bale (Real Madrid)  — $57.8-63.6 million
  17. Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool)  — $56.8-62.6 million
  18. Thibaut Courtois (Chelsea)  — $56.7-62.4 million
  19. Oscar dos Santos (Chelsea)  — $53.6-59.0 million
  20. Karim Benzema (Real Madrid)  — $50.3-55.4 million

 

Looking ahead to Game 4: Golden State vs. Cleveland

Previously, on ‘Warriors vs. Cavaliers’ …

It took a grounding, of sorts – the removal of all LeBron James’ hoped-for toys – for the Cleveland Cavaliers to reveal Golden State’s blood orange sky. A subpar defensive team during the regular season, one that merely turned into a mediocre defensive team following some midseason personnel upgrades, the Cavs turned the NBA’s highest-scoring regular season team into a shell of itself at the worst possible time. Cleveland is burrowing holes into Golden State’s foundation, and they’ve earned a 2-1 NBA Finals lead.

No, the Warriors weren’t the best offensive team in the NBA during the regular season, but they weren’t that far behind the top-ranked Los Angeles Clippers, and they certainly hold the potential to drop 122 points on whoever decides to try and stay in front of the squad’s seeming cast of all-around threats.

It’s not always about NBA MVP Stephen Curry and fellow Splash Brother Klay Thompson, you know. Harrison Barnes is revitalized as a James Worthy-styled fill-in-the-blanks guy as a starter this season. Andrew Bogut may not be able to shoot much anymore, but his screen-setting and passing make him a formidable presence on the offensive end. And Draymond Green! The shooting, the slashing, the passing, the effort! Is there anything he can’t do?

That was the ideal, at least, and Cleveland has spent 154 Finals minutes (with LeBron James on the court for right at 142 of them) chipping away at the burnishing that Golden State’s 67-15 regular season record and 12-3 traipse through the Western Conference bracket that GSW’s pre-Finals run provided. Suddenly, Bogut seems pointless on the offensive end. Suddenly, Barnes is playing like your timid cousin that can’t make it through a wedding toast anecdote without giving up on a joke that wasn’t going to be all that funny anyway. Suddenly, Draymond Green almost seems like an offensive zero.

Toss that in with exacting attention tossed Curry and Thompson’s way, and you have a GSW squad that is struggling to score. And the whole point of this operation, still, is to outscore your opponent.

Golden State tied a season-low in Game 3 with just 37 first half points, and its drooped shoulders and half-hearted attention to detail in an 18-point third quarter helped Cleveland build a 22-point lead. The Warriors came back to make a game of it, turning this into a one-point game with just two and a half minutes to go on a Stephen Curry three-pointer, but Cleveland managed to turn the scrum its way and hold onto the lead down the stretch of a goofball fourth quarter.

Whether or not any of this is sustainable, or the product of an odd three-game sample size is anyone’s guess – because we’re still guessing at this point. Cleveland had to completely re-shape its image on the fly due to a series of trades, and then injuries. Golden State, not exactly fat and sassy but hardly in danger for the season’s first seven months, may now have to do the same.

source – YAHOO.COM  image – YAHOO.COM

Mayweather vs. Pacquiao Tickets Sell Out in 60 Seconds

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Boxing fans have waited upward of five years for Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao to meet in the ring, but it took just 60 seconds for the May 2 fight to sell out.

According to TMZ’s Anthony Dominic, every ticket for the event at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas was sold within the first minute after being made available to the public Thursday:

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Per ESPN’s Darren Rovell, 14,000 tickets were released for purchase:

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Although the contest between Money and Pac-Man has been set since February, it took an inordinate amount of time for tickets to go on sale due to issues between the two camps in terms of finalizing the contract.

According to ESPN.com’s Dan Rafael, Top Rank Promotions owner Bob Arum said he fought tooth and nail to ensure that Pacquiao received a fair deal in the end:

We were resolute that we were going to hold on to everything we had negotiated with Mayweather Promotions and they weren’t going to use the relationship with MGM to deprive us of our rights. Ultimately, that’s how the deal was made. We protected Manny and ourselves, and we weren’t asking for anything we didn’t negotiate. We had a deal with Mayweather Promotions, and then they used the MGM to try to erode our rights. And we stood steadfast and we wouldn’t let that happen, and finally we made a deal, a correct deal, and the fight is going ahead. It’s as simple as that.

While it took longer than expected, the two sides were able to reach an agreement in time for the fight, and it certainly didn’t impact fans’ desire to attend.

Mayweather vs. Pacquiao is the biggest boxing spectacle in recent memory, and some might argue that it is the most significant fight in the history of the sport.

It comes as little surprise that so many people wanted to be a part of it, and while some were lucky enough to get their hands on tickets, many others were shut out due to the incredible demand.

Source: http://bleacherreport.com

‘Faster than Bolt’ claims see Bellerin and Walcott issued £30,000 challenge

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The gauntlet has been laid down for Hector Bellerin and Theo Walcott to prove their sprint skills, by British athlete Richard Kilty.

Having been labelled “faster than Usain Bolt”, jet-heeled Arsenal duo Hector Bellerin and Theo Walcott have been challenged to a £30,000 sprint race by the World and European indoor 60 metre champion.

Walcott revealed last week that Bellerin had usurped his previous Arsenal record over 40 metres of 4.42 seconds – a quicker mark than that clocked officially by Bolt during his 100m record-breaking run of 9.58secs.

Reports claiming the Arsenal duo may be swifter than the six-time Olympic gold medalist have been wildly scoffed at by professional sprinters, with former British athlete Craig Pickering questioning the logic behind the reports.

Fellow Briton Richard Kilty, who won gold over 60m at last year’s World Indoor Championships before adding the European title last month, has also waded in and challenged the Arsenal speedsters to prove their true pace.

He posted on Twitter: “Media claiming @HectorBellerin can run 4.42 over 40m. Absolutely no way. Are these journalists complete morons!

“I will put £30,000 on the line to race @HectorBellerin and @theowalcott any sprint distance, any time, any place, anywhere.

“The race will be over very quick. So if they put their money down I will gladly show everyone they can not sprint as fast as the media claim.”

Source: http://www.digicelsportsmax.com

Russell Westbrook gave the car he got for winning All-Star MVP to a single mom in need

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When he was named the Most Valuable Player of the 2015 NBA All-Star Game back in February, Russell Westbrook received a brand new Kia SUV as part of the car manufacturer’s sponsorship deal with the league. That’s a neat little ancillary benefit of winning the MVP, of course, but a free car doesn’t really move the needle that much for a well-heeled, highly-paid guy like Westbrook — or, at least, not nearly as much as it would for someone who doesn’t make $15.7 million a year.

So the Oklahoma City Thunder point guard decided to give it to somebody for whom it wouldmove the needle.

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While in the midst of trying to carry an injury-plagued Oklahoma City squad to the playoffs with his scoring and playmaking, Westbrook, through his Why Not? Foundation, entreated the Thunder staff to help him dish a different type of assist by finding someone in the community for whom a new car could literally be a life-changing gift.

The Thunder contacted Sunbeam Family Services, a local agency dedicated to helping connect low-income central Oklahomans with needed programs and services, in search of a candidate, and found Kerstin Gonzalez, a 19-year-old single mother of two who’s on track to graduate from high school this spring and hopes to pursue higher education while continuing to raise her two boys.

From Nick Gallo of Thunder.com:

Gonzalez and her two boys, four-year-old Matthew and two-year-old Adam, have had a rough go of things lately. The single mother was just 14 when she got pregnant, as she said, “just a child” when she all of the sudden was forced to be an adult. Gonzalez has been the recipient of Sunbeam Family Services assistance for some time now, and has utilize the extra time and what she saves on diapers and other childcare needs by putting herself in a position to graduate from high school this year, work a job and to apply for colleges, where she wants to study forensic science.

Her current car was not in great driving shape and on Monday morning, the engine wouldn’t start. She has been borrowing cars from family and friends to be able to get to work, to get to school and to pick up her sons. To all of the sudden have that burden of worrying about transportation at all times be lifted was a huge weight off her shoulders.

“It’s so touching and so amazing knowing that there are people out there willing to help the ones that are in need,” Gonzalez said.

Likewise heartening: that Westbrook’s willing to help Gonzalez now only on Monday, but in the future, as well, by committing to taking care of the first year of insurance payments, registration and other fees associated with making sure the new SUV is ready for the rubber to meet the road.

Westbrook’s demeanor has become a topic of much conversation this season. His disdain for or dispassionate response to interacting with many members of the media in locker-room settingsleading to the perception that the 26-year-old dynamo might be something of a sullen, brusque and self-interested sort off the court, even as he dishes out dimes at a career-best (and league-leading) rate on it.

And yet, when Westbrook has lowered his guard and let the public see a bit more of how he interacts with the public and his teammates — as he did in visiting tornado victims after the devastation of 2013, or in allowing Sports Illustrated’s Lee Jenkins behind the curtain in a fascinating recent profile — we see a different side of the four-time All-Star. Those glimpses might be rare, but they’re instructive, helping us paint a more complete picture of a man whose work in his community and within his organization make goals like winning the league’s Citizenship Awardseem less laughable than laudatory.

Put another way: Russell Westbrook could have gotten a nice public relations boost just by going to a local community service center, taking time out of his playoff push on an off day to talk with folks who are down on their luck. He didn’t have to give one a car and make the insurance payments on it. There sure seems to be something extra there … which probably shouldn’t surprise us, since “extra” seems about as apt a descriptor as any of the rest of Russ’ public works, from his furious effort on the hardwood to his extreme fashion sense before and after games.

In this case, though, Westbrook’s determination to give something extra made a tangible positive impact on the life of a person he’d never met before, which is a pretty neat thing. From Michael Kinney of the Norman Transcript:

“There were definitely tears of joy and I could tell some tears of hard work and all the different things she’s been through in her life,” Westbrook said. “Today was a stepping stone in showing her that everything is going to be alright.” […]

“It’s just all the hard work that she’s done to be able to keep her family together,” Westbrook said. “When you see somebody working hard towards a goal and finding ways every day to keep everything afloat for her two boys and her family, you can’t do anything but help them out.”

That last part probably isn’t true for everybody, but it seems to be true for the Thunder point guard. Good on ya, Russ. Drive safe, Kerstin.

Source: http://sports.yahoo.com

Usain Bolt Ranked 16th Greatest Athlete Over the Last 20 Years

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The world’s fastest man – Usain Bolt has been ranked as the 16th greatest athlete over the last two decades.

The rankings  by ESPN.com, was part of the website celebrating its 20th anniversary by highlighting some of the top teams, athletes and moments that characterized greatness in sports from 1995 to 2015.

Bolt holds the world records over 100 and 200 meters. It took the Jamaican sprinter an Olympic-record 9.63 seconds in August 2012 to take home the gold in the Summer Games’ marquee track event, the 100 meters. He also did the unprecedented at Beijing in 2008, winning the 100, 200 and 4×100 relay in a single Games. And in truest Bolt form, he crossed the finish line in London wagging his finger before taking a high-fiving victory lap around the track.

He was placed ahead of Sidney Crosby, Barry Bonds, Mia Hamm, and boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Top spot on the list is held by NBA legend Michael Jordan with another NBA star Lebron James holding the no.2 spot with Tiger Woods, Tom Brady and Roger Federer rounding out the top 5 places.

The rest of the top 10 includes Serena Williams, Peyton Manning, Kobe Bryant, Michael Phelps, and former New York Yankees captain Derek Jeter.

Also on the list in numerical orders are Shaquille O’Neal, Lionel Messi, Lance Armstrong, Tim Duncan and Brett Farve.

Source: http://jablogz.com