Review Category : National Sports

Dikembe Mutombo Describes Scene at Brussels Airport After Bombings

Phil Ellsworth / ESPN Images(BRUSSELS) — NBA Hall of Famer Dikembe Mutombo described the harrowing scene at the Brussels airport in the wake of the terror attack during an interview with ESPN.

The former NBA star was connecting in Brussels on his way home from a humanitarian trip in his native country of Congo when the bombs went off, he said. It had been 10 to 20 minutes since he put his bags down in the terminal when a woman walked in screaming for everyone to get out and run.

When he got downstairs, all he saw was chaos, panic and people bleeding, he said during the interview.

“There was nobody to walk to,” Mutombo said. “All I can see is everybody running. So, I decided to run myself.”

First, he tried to figure out where the chaos was coming from so he wouldn’t get caught in the line of fire, he said, calling himself “lucky.”

Mutombo said the weather was frigid outside and several people weren’t dressed appropriately. He was standing outside for hours when two Americans approached him asking if he was the basketball player. They told him to follow them and he walked with them for a “couple miles” to get away from the scene.

Mutombo said the three of them traveled to a “safe area” where he had shelter and a place to sleep. Around 4 a.m. Wednesday, a representative from the U.S. embassy picked them up and drove them to the Amsterdam airport, where Mutombo said he got a flight back to the U.S.

“You just don’t know when you will have an angel on your side,” he said, calling the Americans he met his “two angels.”

A series of bombings in Brussels killed 31 people and injured at least 270 Tuesday. Belgian authorities continue to search for two suspects on the loose.

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Dikembe Mutombo Describes Scene at Brussels Airport After Bombings

Phil Ellsworth / ESPN Images(BRUSSELS) — NBA Hall of Famer Dikembe Mutombo described the harrowing scene at the Brussels airport in the wake of the terror attack during an interview with ESPN.

The former NBA star was connecting in Brussels on his way home from a humanitarian trip in his native country of Congo when the bombs went off, he said. It had been 10 to 20 minutes since he put his bags down in the terminal when a woman walked in screaming for everyone to get out and run.

When he got downstairs, all he saw was chaos, panic and people bleeding, he said during the interview.

“There was nobody to walk to,” Mutombo said. “All I can see is everybody running. So, I decided to run myself.”

First, he tried to figure out where the chaos was coming from so he wouldn’t get caught in the line of fire, he said, calling himself “lucky.”

Mutombo said the weather was frigid outside and several people weren’t dressed appropriately. He was standing outside for hours when two Americans approached him asking if he was the basketball player. They told him to follow them and he walked with them for a “couple miles” to get away from the scene.

Mutombo said the three of them traveled to a “safe area” where he had shelter and a place to sleep. Around 4 a.m. Wednesday, a representative from the U.S. embassy picked them up and drove them to the Amsterdam airport, where Mutombo said he got a flight back to the U.S.

“You just don’t know when you will have an angel on your side,” he said, calling the Americans he met his “two angels.”

A series of bombings in Brussels killed 31 people and injured at least 270 Tuesday. Belgian authorities continue to search for two suspects on the loose.

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Congress Asks NFL Why It Tried to Disrupt CTE Research

Scott Clarke / ESPN Images(NEW YORK) — Members of Congress are inquiring why the NFL tried to intervene in the selection of a researcher from Boston University to lead a study on the possible link between football and brain disease, according to a letter obtained by ESPN.

The letter was sent Wednesday to NFL commisioner Roger Goodell, and it includes information showing how the NFL tried to stop the selection of longtime critic Dr. Robert Stern, and replace him with researchers that are affiliated with the NFL, according to ESPN.

“Efforts by outside entities to … exercise influence over the selection of NIH research applicants are troubling, and we are committed to a full understanding of the sequence of events that led to this dispute,” the legislators wrote in the letter. ESPN says the letter was signed by Reps. Frank Pallone Jr., D-N.J.; Gene Green, D-Texas; Diana DeGette, D-Colo.; and Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill. of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

The investigation started after a report done by ESPN’s Outside the Lines in December. The report shows how the NFL suddenly refused to fund the study, which looks to find new methods in diagnosing chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in living patients.

A spokesman for the NFL told ESPN’s Outside the Lines Thursday that “Goodell will respond to the committee’s letter.”

According to ESPN, the NFL issued a response to a recent New York Times article about how the NFL handles concussion data. In the respons, the league said, “We have committed tens of millions of dollars to fund independent research” and that the league has an “ongoing commitment on the issue of player health and safety–notably, to the support of research including that of our most vocal critics.”

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David Beckham Buys Private Land to Build Miami Soccer Stadium

Allen Kee / ESPN Images(MIAMI) — The Major League Soccer (MLS) organization announced Thursday that David Beckham and his investors purchased private land needed to build a new stadium in the Overtown neighborhood of Miami, according to the Miami Herald newspaper.

The Miami Herald reports this is the first time Beckham has acquired Miami real estate for his MLS franchise.

The milestone comes after over two years of failing bids for three other sites. The Miami Herald reports that the celebrity athlete and his partners are now allowed to win county approval for the purchase.

“We have the right site, the right ownership group, and a loyal base of fans counting down the days until our first match,” Beckham partner Marcelo Claure, the CEO of Sprint, said in a statement. “We’re all-in on Overtown, and we couldn’t be more excited about moving forward with plans to deliver the most responsible stadium in Miami history.”

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Former NFL Player Kevin Turner Dies of ALS

DigitalVision/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Former NFL fullback Kevin Turner died Thursday at the age of 46 after battling ALS for six years, ESPN reports.

According to ESPN, Turner, who played eight season for the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles, was diagnosed with ALS in 2010. Turner’s foundation said he was surrounded by his family and friends.

“Myra and I lost a great son [Thursday]. He will be missed so much,” his fater, Raymond Turner, posted on Facebook. “Thanks to everyone so mych for your support and prayers during this journey. He was ready to go to Heaven, excited he said, Love y’all and God Bless.”

His former teammates on both the Patriots and the Eagles took to twitter to express their condolences and mourn the loss of their teammate.

Prayers and blessing go out to a former teammate of mine Kevin Turner, unfortunately he passed away. Great mentor and friend. KT we miss you

— Donovan McNabb (@donovanjmcnabb) March 24, 2016

Rest In Peace KT. Great teammate. Great friend. https://t.co/zAMIiMTXsW

— Drew Bledsoe (@DrewBledsoe) March 24, 2016

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NCAA’s Sweet 16: Who Are the Favorites to Win?

Joe Faraoni / ESPN Images(NEW YORK) — The NCAA men’s basketball tournament is now down to 16 teams.

With the Sweet 16 tipping off Thursday night, who are the favorites to win?

“Thursday, the favorites are Villanova over Miami, Florida, a four-and-a-half point favorite,” says Wynn Las Vegas oddsmaker John Avello. “Kansas over Maryland, a six-and-a-half point favorite; Oklahoma over Texas A&M by a two-and-a-half point favorite; and Oregon over Duke a three-point favorite.”

The remaining eight teams in the Sweet 16 will face off on Friday. Those favorites, according to Avello, are: “Virginia’s a five-and-a-half point favorite over Iowa State; Gonzaga, a four-and-a-half point favorite over Syracuse; Notre Dame a one point favorite over Wisconsin; and North Carolina a five-and-a-half point favorite over Indiana.”

As for who’s favored to win the entire tournament, Avello says the odds are Virginia, 5 to 1; Villanova, 7 to 1; North Carolina, 7 to 2; Kansas, 7 to 2; Oregon, 10 to 1; and Oklahoma 11 to 1.

At the other end of the spectrum, “The four long shots are Syracuse 60 to 1; Wisconsin 45 to 1; Notre Dame 45 to 1; and then Texas A&M at 22 to 1,” he says.

Betting is expected to continue fast and furious all weekend long.

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Basketball Player Injured in Brussels Attack Recounts His Survival Story

ABC News(BRUSSELS) — A professional basketball player who was injured during the attack on Brussels Airport Tuesday thought about teaching his young daughter tennis as he struggled to survive.

Sebastien Bellin, a Brazilian-born athlete who played college basketball in New York and Michigan, wasn’t sure he was going to make it, he told ABC News.

“I just didn’t want my girls to grow up without a dad, you know?” Bellin, 37, who lives in Michigan, said in an emotional moment, speaking of his two daughters.

“It’s funny, the things you think of,” said Bellin, who plays center for the Gent Hawks, a Belgian professional basketball club. “I started playing tennis with my oldest, my seven year old. She’s a hell of a tennis player, and so I was like, ‘I got to get through this, you know, because she needs her coach.’ And some of the things that go through your head, they seem so trivial but it gets you through those moments.”

Bellin, who played college basketball for Marist College in New York and Oakland University in Michigan in the 1990s, was in the airport and witnessed the first explosion.

“I remember seeing a first explosion at the pharmacy at the airport, and I turned my head and I saw all these people running. … I think I blacked out a little bit,” Bellin said

“The whole time I was just trying, I told myself, ‘I got to make it, I got to make it, I got to make it,’ and I when got in the ambulance I knew I was good,” he said.

A picture of Bellin, lying prone on the ground with a severe injury to his leg immediately after the attack, was widely circulated, which meant some of his friends and former colleagues knew quickly that he was injured.

He required a blood transfusion, but his specific injuries are unclear, as is when he will be released.

His former coach at Oakland University, Greg Kampe, tweeted out a request for prayers for “Seb” as Bellin was headed into his second surgery Tuesday after the attack.

His wife is now headed from their home in Michigan to Brussels to be with Bellin.

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No Memorial Day Indy 500 ‘Double’ for Kurt Busch

Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Kurt Busch won’t be competing in the Indianapolis 500 this May. The Stewart-Haas Racing driver was considering a reprise of his Memorial Day “Double” — racing in both the Indy circuit’s premiere event and NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600.

“After seriously contemplating making another run at ‘The Double,’ and in response to the many questions I receive on the subject as the Month of May approaches, I wanted to state that I will not be participating in this year’s 100th running of the Indianapolis 500,” Busch wrote in a statement posted on his website. “I must say this was not an easy decision and it does not in any way reflect upon my desire to compete again in one of the world’s greatest races; it is based solely on a need to maintain the focus and momentum we have built early in this NASCAR season with our #41 Stewart-Haas Racing, Haas Automation/Monster Energy Chevy team….”

In 2014, Busch appeared in the Indy 500, finishing sixth driving for the Andretti Autosport team. That evening he took part in the Coca-Cola 600 in North Carolina, but finished in 40th place when engine trouble took him out of the race after Lap 271, reports NASCAR.com.

But Busch didn’t close the door on the possibility of another daily double in the future. “Fortunately, Michael [Andretti] and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway have left the door open for a future run, and perhaps one day I will take them up on that, it just won’t be this year,” he wrote.

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Scoreboard Roundup — 3/23/16

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Here are the latest scores and winners:

NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION

Atlanta 122, Washington 101
Cleveland 113, Milwaukee 104
Boston 91, Toronto 79
Detroit 118, Orlando 102
New York 115, Chicago 107
Utah 89, Houston 87
Minnesota 113, Sacramento 104
San Antonio 112, Miami 88
Denver 104, Philadelphia 103
Phoenix 119, L.-A. Lakers 107
Portland 109, Dallas 103
Golden State 114, L.-A. Clippers 98

NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE

N.-Y. Islanders 3, Ottawa 1,
N.-Y. Rangers 4, Boston 2

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All Draft-Eligible Kentucky Players Can Submit Names in NBA Draft

Phil Ellsworth / ESPN Images(LEXINGTON, Ky.) — Coach John Calipari announced that every eligible Kentucky player will submit their names for this year’s NBA draft, according to ESPN.

Calipari tweeted Wednesday that Kentucky players who are of age will declare for a draft, even though they all might not attend the NBA’s invitation-only combine.

New NCAA rules state players who declare for the draft can return to school if they fail to sign with an agent.

Players also have up to 10 days after the pre-draft combine to take themselves out of the consideration, and they can try out with an NBA team, according to ESPN.

Kentucky fell to Indiana in the second round of the NCAA tournament Saturday, and finished the year 27-9.

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