- Created on 18 February 2013
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Los Angeles Lakers’ owner Jerry Buss has died at age 80.
Spokesman Bob Steiner says Buss died Monday morning at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. He’d been hospitalized for cancer, but the immediate cause of death was kidney failure.
Buss shepherded the NBA franchise to 10 championships. He transformed the Lakers into Southern California’s most beloved sports franchise and a worldwide extension of Hollywood glamour after buying the club in 1979.
Buss acquired, nurtured and befriended a staggering array of talent during his Hall of Fame tenure, starting with his first draft pick, Magic Johnson.
With Buss’ leadership and lavish spending, the Lakers won five championships during the 1980s Showtime dynasty and added five more in an 11-year span of Kobe Bryant’s career.
- Created on 18 February 2013
MESA, Ariz. — Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts said the team is making progress with Chicago city officials on Wrigley Field renovation plans.
However, the efforts to get more night games at Wrigley this season are on hold for now.
"I don't think that's on the table at the moment," Ricketts said of an effort for additional night games in 2013.
The issue was derailed by ongoing conflict with neighborhood leaders, causing Mayor Rahm Emanuel to delay support for the request until the sides reach an agreement on multiple issues.
"All the discussions on night games is toward the future."
Speaking Sunday during his annual spring training address with reporters, Ricketts praised the mayor for being involved in the Cubs' efforts to get the permission to closing Sheffield Avenue for game day street fairs and to lift restrictions blocking the team from putting up more advertising at the ballpark.
He said he believes enough progress will be made on that "in the next few weeks" to ensure the renovation project can begin on time next fall.
The team last month unveiled a $300 million Wrigley renovation plan it says ownership will pay for entirely on the condition it gets the concessions it seeks to allow more stadium-related revenue streams.
"The mayor's been helpful. It'll help move the process forward," Ricketts said.
Ricketts said no new advertising at the ballpark is planned for this season and reiterated that the team has no intention of attempting to play home games somewhere else as a means to accelerate what is scheduled to be a five-year project at the ballpark.
"I think the most important thing we want to remind people is that this is all about winning," said Ricketts, whose family purchased the Cubs in the fall of 2009.
"It's about doing what we have to do to get the resources to give to the baseball organization and the resources we need to restore the park.
"I think we've made a lot of progress. We're still working forward. The mayor's office has been very helpful, but it's still in progress right now."
Ricketts also said he thinks the 2013 team is great and praised the progress his second-year front office, led by president Theo Epstein, has made.
"I just have complete, total confidence that they're moving us in the right direction every day," he said.
- Created on 14 February 2013
It will be Whitney Young and Morgan Park taking it to the hole Friday night in the Public League championship game. Morgan Park held off prep star Jabari Parker and the Simeon Wolverines Wednesday at the Jones Convocation Center on the campus of Chicago State University to advance to the big game. Morgan Park topped Simeon 54-53 in overtime. Defender Photo/Worsom Robinson
- Created on 14 February 2013
PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) -- Paralympic superstar Oscar Pistorius was charged Thursday with the murder of his girlfriend who was shot inside his home in South Africa, a stunning development in the life of a national hero known as the Blade Runner for his high-tech artificial legs.
Reeva Steenkamp, a model who spoke out on Twitter against rape and abuse of women, was shot four times in the predawn hours in the house, in a gated community in the capital, Pretoria, police said.
Hours later after undergoing police questioning, Pistorius left a police station accompanied by officers. He looked down as photographers snapped pictures, the hood on his gray workout jacket pulled up, covering most of his face. His court hearing was originally scheduled for Thursday afternoon but has been postponed until Friday to give forensic investigators time to carry out their work, said Medupe Simasiku, a spokesman for the prosecution.
South Africans were shocked at the killing. But while Pistorius captured the nation's attention with his Olympic quest, police said there was a recent history of problems involving him. Police spokeswoman Brigadier Denise Beukes said the incidents included "allegations of a domestic nature."
"I'm not going to elaborate on it but there have been incidents (at Pistorius' home)," Beukes said. Police in South Africa do not name suspects in crimes until they have appeared in court but Beukes said that the 26-year-old Pistorius was at his home at the time of the death of Steenkamp and "there is no other suspect involved."
Pistorius' father, Henke, declined to comment when contacted by The Associated Press, only saying "we all pray for guidance and strength for Oscar and the lady's parents."
Neither Pistorius' agent Peet van Zyl nor coach Ampie Louw could be reached while Pistorius' own cellphone went straight to voicemail.
Pistorius' former coach, Andrea Giannini, said he hopes it was "just a tragic accident." Giannini said he believed that Pistorius had been dating Steenkamp for "a few months."
"No matter how bad the situation was, Oscar always stayed calm and positive," Giannini told the AP in Italy. "Whenever he was tired or nervous he was still extremely nice to people. I never saw him violent."
Yet Pistorius had troubles in his personal life. In February 2009, he crashed a speed boat he was piloting on South Africa's Vaal River. Witnesses said he had been drinking before the crash and officers found alcoholic beverages in the wreckage, though they acknowledged at the time they hadn't conducted a blood test on the athlete. Pistorius broke his nose, jaw and several ribs in the crash, as well as damaged his eye socket and required some 180 stitches to his face.
In November, Pistorius also found himself in an altercation with a local coal mining millionaire over a woman, South African media reported. Eventually, the two men involved the South African Police Service's elite Hawks investigative unit before settling the matter.
Pistorius owned firearms and posted a photograph of himself at a shooting range in November 2011 to the social media website Twitter, bragging about his score.
"Had a 96% headshot over 300m from 50shots! Bam!" he tweeted.
Police said that earlier reports that Steenkamp may have been mistaken for a burglar by Pistorius did not come from the police. Several local media outlets initially reported that the shooting may have been accidental.
Capacity Relations, a talent management firm, earlier named model Steenkamp as the victim of the shooting. Police spokeswoman Lt. Col. Katlego Mogale told the AP that officers received a call around 3 a.m. after the shooting.
A 9 mm pistol was recovered and a murder case opened against Pistorius.
Pistorius enjoyed target shooting with his pistol and an online advertisement featuring him for Nike read: "I am a bullet in the chamber." An article in January 2012 in The New York Times Magazine described him talking about how he pulled a pistol to search his home when his alarm went off the night before an interview. At Pistorius' suggestion, he and the journalist went to a nearby target range where they fired at targets with a 9 mm pistol. At one point, Pistorius told the writer: "If you practiced, I think you could be pretty deadly."
Asked how often he went target shooting, Pistorius replied: "Just sometimes when I can't sleep."
Police have still not released the name of the woman, but the publicist for Steenkamp confirmed in a statement that the model was dead.
"We can confirm that Reeva Steenkamp has passed away," Steenkamp's publicist Sarit Tomlinson said. "Our thoughts and prayers go to the Steenkamp family, who have asked to have their privacy respected during this difficult time, everyone is simply devastated. She was the kindest, sweetest human being; an angel on earth and will be sorely missed."
Tomlinson said Steenkamp, known simply as Reeva, was one of FHM's (formerly For Him Magazine) 100 Sexiest Women in the World for two years running, appeared in countless international and national advertisements and was one of the celebrity contestants on the reality show "Tropika Island of Treasure," filmed in Jamaica.
She and Pistorius were first seen publicly together in November at an awards ceremony in Johannesburg. Later, she began mentioning the athlete in public messages on Twitter.
She also tweeted messages urging women to stand up against rape as well as her excitement about Valentine's Day. "What do you have up your sleeve for your love tomorrow?" she tweeted. "It should be a day of love for everyone."
Pistorius made history in London last year when he became the first double-amputee track athlete to compete in the Olympic Games, propelling him to the status of an athletics superstar.
Having had both his legs amputated below the knee before his first birthday because of a congenital condition, he campaigned for years to be allowed to compete against able-bodied athletes. Having initially been banned because of his carbon fiber blades - which critics said gave him an unfair advantage - he was cleared by sport's highest court in 2008 and allowed to run at the top events.
He competed in the 400 meters and on South Africa's 4x400 relay team at the London Games, making history when his selection for South Africa's team was confirmed at the very last minute. He also retained his Paralympic title in the 400 meters in London.
South Africa's Sports Confederation and Olympic committee released a statement on Thursday saying they had been "inundated" with requests for comment but were not in a position to give out any details of the shooting. The International Paralympic Committee also said it wouldn't comment in detail apart from offering its condolences to the victim's family.
South Africa has some of the world's highest murder rates, with nearly 50 people killed each day in the nation of 50 million. It also has high rates of rape, other assaults, robbery and carjackings.
U.N. statistics show South Africa has the second highest rate of shooting deaths in the world, second only to Colombia.
"The question is: Why does this story make the news? Yes, because they are both celebrities, but this is happening on every single day in South Africa," said Adele Kirsten, a member of Gun Free South Africa. "We have thousands of people killed annually by gun violence in our country. So the anger is about that it is preventable."
- Created on 13 February 2013
DEERFIELD, Ill. — Chicago Bulls star Derrick Rose still has no target date for his return from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, and he even indicated he might sit out the season.
In an interview with USA Today posted on Tuesday, the three-time All-Star point guard said he's "far away" from being ready to play. Rose has been practicing and traveling with the team, but he has no specific timetable for a return from an injury he suffered in the playoffs last season.
"I don't have a set date," Rose told the newspaper. "I'm not coming back until I'm 110 percent. Who knows when that can be? It can be within a couple of weeks. It could be next year. It could be any day. It could be any time. It's just that I'm not coming back until I'm ready."
He was asked how close he is to 110 percent.
"Right now, probably in the high 80s," he said. "Far away. Far away."
Rose tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during a playoff-opening win over Philadelphia, and the top-seeded Bulls wound up losing to the 76ers in the first round.
The Bulls' point guard has granted few interviews since then, mostly limiting his comments to a shoe company campaign focusing on his recovery. He did not make himself available for comment on Tuesday.
The Bulls, meanwhile, have repeatedly said they are taking a patient approach with their superstar, that they won't rush him back. As for Rose saying he could return any day — or next year?
"That's what we've been saying all along," coach Tom Thibodeau said. "It's all the same. When he's ready, he'll play."
He said Rose is "right where he should be" in his recovery.
"He's right on schedule," Thibodeau said. "When he's ready, we'll know. We'll go from there. That's why we've approached it the way we have. The team has to concentrate on their improvement and their next opponent. He has to do his rehab, and then at some point, he'll rejoin us and we'll go from there. Nothing has changed."
Does he expect Rose to play this season?
"If he's ready," Thibodeau said. "To me, it's why we've taken the approach that we have. There's no timetable. It's when he's ready. We're not measuring it against someone else's timetable. It's just this is Derrick. When he's ready, he will go."
It remains to be seen what type of player Rose will be once he returns. Even he's not sure.
He said he's added about 10 or 11 pounds of muscle along with some new wrinkles to his game, and he's confident he'll still be a top-tier player.
Thibodeau is, too.
"I see what he's doing every day," he said. "He's coming along fine. He'll be fine."