Tag: Los Angeles Lakers

Magic Johnson’s Investment Group Buys WNBA’s L.A. Sparks

Magic Johnson

An investment group led by Magic Johnson and controlling owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Mark R. Walter, has bought the WNBA franchise Los Angeles Sparks. The WNBA and NBA Board of Governors have unanimously approved the sale.  The investment group includes Dodger co-owners Todd L. Boehly, Robert L. Patton and Stan Kasten.

The franchise will remain in Los Angeles and play at Staples Center. The WNBA’s 2014 game and television schedule will also be announced this week.  “We are thrilled to welcome Magic Johnson and Mark Walter to the WNBA,” said WNBA president Laurel J. Richie. “With their proven track record in the business realm, their commitment to the city of Los Angeles through civic engagement, and their passion for the game of basketball, we look forward to partnering with our new owners to usher in a new era for this iconic team. This is a great day for Los Angeles, the Sparks franchise, its players, and of course, the loyal fans who have been so supportive of the team for 17 seasons.”

Johnson, who led the Los Angeles Lakers to five championships in the 1980s, has been involved with the Dodgers since before the 2012 season.  “This is a great day for the city of Los Angeles and the Sparks,” Johnson said. “The leaders of this great city came together quickly to keep this franchise right where it belongs—in the city of Angels. Thanks to my sister, Evelyn, playing college basketball, I have a great appreciation of the talented players that represent the WNBA. Our group will now work together to bring our loyal fans another WNBA championship. ”

Johnson pushed some of his fellow owners of the Dodgers to buy the Sparks after Lakers ownership had decided to pull out.  “Earvin came to me and said we need to help save the Sparks and keep them in Los Angeles,” Walter said. “The decision was quite easy for our investment group due to the passion Magic has for this city, these great athletes and our phenomenal fans. This team and its great players should remain a part of the sports fabric of this wonderful city.”

One of the league’s original eight teams, Los Angeles won the WNBA championship in 2001 and 2002, and is the last team to have earned titles in consecutive seasons. Los Angeles advanced to the Western Conference Finals in three of the past six seasons, most recently in 2012. A trio of WNBA All-Stars – forward/center Candace Parker, forward Nneka Ogwumike, and guard Kristi Toliver – headline a talented roster. The reigning WNBA Most Valuable Player, Parker also earned the honor during her rookie season in 2008. Ogwumike took home the WNBA Rookie of the Year award in 2012, the same year Toliver earned the WNBA Most Improved Player award.

article via usatoday.com

Shaquille O’Neal Acquires Minority Ownership Stake in Sacramento Kings

NBA basketball player Shaquille O'Neal speaks onstage at the 27th Annual Great Sports Legends Dinner to benefit the Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis at The Waldorf=Astoria on September 24, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for The Buoniconti Fund To Cure Paralysis)
NBA basketball player Shaquille O’Neal speaks onstage at the 27th Annual Great Sports Legends Dinner on September 24, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for The Buoniconti Fund To Cure Paralysis)

Shaquille O’Neal is joining the ownership group of the Sacramento Kings.  The Kings announced Monday that O’Neal has acquired a minority stake in the team under new owner Vivek Ranadive. The Kings will introduce the four-time NBA champion at a news conference Tuesday in Sacramento.

O’Neal tormented the Kings during the height of his career with the Los Angeles Lakers, and handed Sacramento its biggest blow by rallying the Lakers from a 3-2 deficit to win the 2002 Western Conference finals.  O’Neal retired after the 2010-11 season and has worked as an analyst for TNT the last two seasons.

article by Antonio Gonzalez, AP via thegrio.com

Kobe Bryant Memorabilia Earns $433,531 in New Jersey Auction, Raises Money for The Bully Project

Kobe BryantA pair of Kobe Bryant‘s 2000 NBA championship rings brought in a combined $282,337, in an auction that closed Saturday morning. The monthlong sale, held out of West Berlin, N.J., by Goldin Auctions, brought in a total of $433,531 from Bryant’s memorabilia. “Collectors surely recognized that these are historically significant pieces of memorabilia that are rarely made available for a player like Kobe Bryant,” said Ken Goldin, Founder of Goldin Auctions.

Goldin Auctions will donate $62,565 of the proceeds to the Bully Project, one of Bryant’s favored charities. “We’re delighted to have been chosen to benefit from the auction of these once-in-a-lifetime items from Kobe Bryant,” said Lee Hirsch, the director of “Bully.” “Athletes set a powerful example when they speak out against bullying and we deeply appreciate the efforts of everyone involved in this auction for helping us to amplify this message.”

Bryant’s memorabilia, including high school uniforms, rings and an All-Star medallion, was provided to Goldin Auctions by Bryant’s mother, Pamela, after a family dispute over ownership was settled out of court.

article by Eric Pincus via latimes.com

Los Angeles Lakers to Retire Shaquille ONeal’s Jersey

This Feb. 5, 1999 file photo shows O’Neal putting his arms around teammates, Elden Campbell (41) and Kobe Bryant (8) as Eddie Jones (6) and Derek Harper walk in front as they return to play the Houston Rockets in the fourth quarter.(AP Photo/ Victoria Arocho,File)
This Feb. 5, 1999 file photo shows O’Neal putting his arms around teammates, Elden Campbell (41) and Kobe Bryant (8) as Eddie Jones (6) and Derek Harper walk in front as they return to play the Houston Rockets in the fourth quarter. (AP Photo/ Victoria Arocho,File) 

In the midst of the Los Angeles Lakers race for the eighth seed in the Western Conference, the Lakers plan to retire former center Shaquille O’Neal before Tuesday night’s game against the Dallas Mavericks. O’Neal, who retired in 2011 after his sole season with the Boston Celtics, averaged 27 points, nearly 12 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game as a Laker during the regular season. 

O’Neal was dominant during the Lakers championship ‘threepeat’ from 1999-2002, earning three consecutive NBA Finals MVPs.  His coach during that championship run, Phil Jackson, will speak at the jersey retirement ceremony. Kobe Bryant will offer a video tribute which has been pre-recorded according to Kevin Ding of the Orange-County Register.

The ceremony will take place during halftime.  Shaq has been keeping  busy since announcing he was hanging up his #34 for good, especially on social media. O’Neal boasts nearly 7 million followers on Twitter.  He’s currently an NBA analyst and host for Turner Sports’ Inside the NBA show.

article via thegrio.com

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Honored With Statue At Staples Center

LOS ANGELES — Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s skyhook has been captured in bronze for future generations of basketball fans.  Staples Center unveiled a nearly 16-foot-tall statue of the top scorer in NBA history Friday night, immortalizing Jabbar’s famed hook shot alongside statues of fellow Los Angeles Lakers greats Magic Johnson and Jerry West.

The 65-year-old Abdul-Jabbar pronounced himself humbled and grateful during a ceremony attended by numerous NBA greats ranging from Johnson and West to Pat Riley and Elgin Baylor – and even Lakers superfan Jack Nicholson.

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