Review Category : National Sports

Iconic LeBron James Sign to Be Removed for GOP Convention

Phil Ellsworth / ESPN Images(CLEVELAND) — After the Fourth of July, visitors and residents of the city of Cleveland, Ohio, will no longer see the iconic LeBron James poster that hangs on the Sherwin Williams building across from Quicken Loans Arena.

Though it was just updated to honor the Cavaliers’ historic NBA championship win, the poster will be replaced with one that says “This Land is Our Land: 150 Years in Cleveland” in honor of the Republican National Convention that will be held in Cleveland from July 18-21.

The new sign, according to Sherwin-Williams, will go up on July 5 and will appear for 90 days to honor the city’s anniversary and to provide “a warm welcome to summer visitors.” The poster of James will return in the fall, according to the company.

It’s not goodbye, just see you later. The current banner won’t be gone for long! Read more here: https://t.co/95zleT0g2G

— Sherwin-Williams (@SherwinWilliams) June 21, 2016

The promise to return the image of King James is not enough for Clevelanders, who have started a Change.org petition requesting that the banner stays up. The banner is a “symbol of persistence, promise and pride” after James led the team to the city’s first major sports title in 52 years, the petition said.

It currently has over 8,500 signatures.

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Rory McIlroy Withdraws from Rio Olympics over Zika Concerns

Allen Kee / ESPN(NEW YORK) — Rory McIlroy has announced Wednesday morning that he will not be competing in the golf tournament at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics this summer over the threat of the Zika virus.

“I’ve come to realize that my health and my family’s health comes before anything else,” McIlroy, 27, said in a statement released by his management company. “Even though the risk of infection from the Zika virus is considered low, it is a risk nonetheless and a risk I am unwilling to take.”

“I trust the Irish people will understand my decision. The unwavering support I receive every time I compete in a golf tournament at home or abroad means the world to me,” he added.

The Professional Northern Irish golfer is one of the most high-profile sports stars to pull out of the Rio Games due to the virus.

The mosquito-borne virus is linked to severe birth defects and possible neurological problems in adults.

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Chase Elliott Makes List of 50 Most Marketable Athletes

Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — He’s only 20 years old, he already has five XFINITY Series wins and 11 Sprint Cup top-tens, and now, for the second year in a row, Chase Elliott has been named to a list of the world’s 50 most marketable athletes.

Chase comes it at number 50 on the list, published by SportsPro.

“He looks set to be the poster boy of stock car racing for years to come,” SportsPro writes of young Mr. Elliott, who currently is sixth in Sprint Cup standings in his first full season on the circuit. “If Chase continues on his upward trajectory, he might even eclipse his father’s achievements.” Chase’s dad, of course, is 1988 Winston Cup Series winner and two-time Daytona 500 champ Bill Elliott.

SportsPro’s list is based on the publication’s assessment of the marketability of athletes over the next three years. Topping the list is Golden State Warriors point guard and NBA MVP Stephen Curry.

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Scoreboard Roundup — 6/21/16

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

INTERLEAGUE

San Diego 10, Baltimore 7
Colorado 8, N.-Y. Yankees 4
Arizona 4, Toronto 2
N.-Y. Mets 2, Kansas City 1
Cincinnati 8, Texas 2
Minnesota 14, Philadelphia 10
Oakland 5, Milwaukee 3

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Chi. White Sox 3, Boston 1
Detroit 4, Seattle 2
Cleveland 6, Tampa Bay 0
Houston 3, Anaheim 2,

NATIONAL LEAGUE

San Francisco 15, Pittsburgh 4
Atlanta 3, Florida 2/10 innings
St. Louis 4, Chi. Cubs 3
Los Angeles 3, Washington 2

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Cleveland-Area Tattoo Parlor Offers Free Cavaliers Tattoos for Fans

@mierke_017/Twitter(CLEVELAND) — Cavs fans in Cleveland can get free tattoos on their calves.

On Tuesday, a tattoo parlor in the Cleveland area was offering free Cavaliers tattoos after the team’s historic NBA Championship win.

“No necks or ribs or changing the design,” said a Facebook post from Classic Tattoo East in Willoughby, Ohio. “We will do them in color and black and grey. GO CAVS!!!!!!!”

According to the Plain Dealer, about 150 fans were lined up around the building at one point and the line had to be cut off because there were too many people.

The Cavaliers’ 93-89 victory over the Golden State Warriors in Game 7 marked the first time any NBA team had overcome a 3-1 deficit to become champions. It was also the city of Cleveland’s first major title since 1964. Cavaliers fans will celebrate the victory in downtown Cleveland on Wednesday with a parade and rally.

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Chile’s Soccer Prowess Contributes to Country’s Pollution Problem

iStock/Thinkstock(SANTIAGO, Chile) — Chile is dealing with an elevated level of air pollution and it may have something to do with the fact their country’s soccer team was on fire at the Copa America on Saturday.

Well, not literally, but the seven-to-nil win against Mexico may have inspired some Chilean soccer fans to celebrate the blowout victory with barbecues. The emanating smoke may be a contributing factor in the increased air pollution recorded in Santiago and some southern Chilean cities over the weekend, authorities reportedly said.

Chile’s next match is against Colombia on Wednesday night in Chicago. Along with barbecues, traffic congestion and burning firewood were also named as contributing pollutants.

A graph compiled by newspaper La Tercera showing the pollution levels as they correlate to Chile’s matches was tweeted by Santiago’s mayor, Claudio Orrego.

Para los q aún no se convencen de correlación entre partidos de Chile y episodios críticos del aire, vía @latercera pic.twitter.com/rbYE53DCim

— Claudio Orrego (@Orrego) June 21, 2016

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Meet the 69-Year-Old Cleveland Cavaliers Fan Who’s Bought Season Tickets Every Year Since 1971

ABCNews.com(CLEVELAND) — Larry Weiser bought his first set of season tickets for the Cleveland Cavaliers in 1971, just one year after the team was created.

Now 69, Weiser has bought season tickets every year since then, making him the longest-running season ticket holder in the team’s history and possibly, the Cavs’ biggest fan.

“I have seen more Cavs games than anyone else in the world,” he told ABC News Tuesday. “They have always been my team.”

For 45 years, Weiser has been waiting for his team to win its first NBA championship. That finally happened this past Sunday night.

Unfortunately, Weiser had to watch the game from home since he had recently broken his leg in a fall, but Weiser still called it “the greatest night of my life.”

“I was like in a tunnel watching that game,” said. ” I was so focused on it…. And yeah, I had a couple of tears at the end.”

The die-hard Cavs fan added that he celebrated by popping champagne that he’d saved from 1970, the year the team was first formed.

“I don’t think there’ll ever be another game like this in the city,” Weiser said, explaining how incredible it was “to see the city so joyous” after the Cavs broke the infamous “Cleveland sports curse” when they won the city’s first major sports championship in 52 years.

Weiser said he already has his tickets for the next season.

“Oh yeah, you can bet I’ll be there that first game,” he said. “Just look right behind the national announcers. That’s where I’ve been and where I’ll always be. You’ll see me right there, probably standing and cheering.”

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IOC Upholds Olympic Ban on Russia’s Track and Field Athletes

iStock/Thinkstock(LAUSANNE, Switzerland) — The International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced today that it has upheld the ban imposed by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) on Russia’s track and field athletes.

Meeting in the Swiss city of Lausanne, the IOC said that the widespread doping allegations in Russia casts “very serious doubts on the presumption of innocence” on Russian athletes and every athlete from the country who wants to compete in the Olympics will have to undergo an individual doping evaluation from an independent lab before being allowed to compete.

Although some Russian media and officials had pinned hopes on the IOC intervening in the ban, most indications were that the Olympic body would affirm the IAAF decision. On Saturday, the IOC released a statement that it “fully respected” the IAAF decision and said it accepted the IAAF’s right to determine athletes’ eligibility to compete.

Many Russians feel the doping investigations and the Olympic ban are part of a political campaign to punish Russia. The country’s sports minister told Interfax that athletes were “hostages of these political decisions, and of the pressure that’s being exerted on the country.”

Russia’s president Vladimir Putin on Friday called the IAAF decision “unfair.”

The ban comes amid suggestions that all Russian athletes, including those outside of track and field, could be banned from the Rio Games if a new World Anti-Doping Agency investigation finds that a doping coverup took place at the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014.

Ahead of the meeting, Russian officials warned that they were not hoping for anything from the IOC summit. Russia’s sports minister, Vitaly Mutko, in an interview with the news agency Interfax, said he was not expecting “any kind of decisions” from the IOC, which he said was not empowered to lift the bar on Russia’s track and field athletes.

On Friday, the IAAF said that it was keeping a “very tiny crack” open for clean Russian athletes to still compete in Rio, but it was insistent it would not be under the Russian colors. The body said a very small number of Russian athletes could be permitted to compete under “a neutral flag” if they can prove they were not “tainted” by the systemic doping in the country and were also able to present clean tests taken outside of Russia. Some Russian officials have expressed hopes that the IOC might somehow act to widen this opening.

The IOC’s president, Thomas Bach, has previously suggested athletes with an independently proven test record could be allowed to compete as individuals. Some Russian athletes have said they would consider this option, although others have already ruled it out, including the two-time Olympic champion, pole-vaulter, Elena Isinbaeva.

Russia’s track and field athletes were first suspended in November, after the World Anti-Doping Agency published a damning report accusing the country of running a sprawling coverup of doping, supported by the F.S.B. security service. The country committed to fixing its anti-doping procedures, but after a six-month evaluation, an IAAF commission found a “deep-rooted culture of doping” still existed in Russia and that it was still too difficult to be sure which athletes were not part of it.

While they waited to learn their fate, Russia’s track and field athletes were competing today at the country’s national championships, which coincided with the IOC meeting. Held in the sleepy provincial city of Cheboksary, about 400 miles from Moscow, the event is normally the final qualifying event for Russia’s Olympic team selection.

In light of the ban though, pained uncertainty hung over the event. Athletes, with the words “Fair Play” printed on their competition numbers, pressed for qualifying results in front of a small crowd.

“You can probably compare it to the explosion of an atom bomb, just without human casualties,” said Lyukman Adams, a triple jumper, who won a silver medal at the 2014 European Championships. “One thousand four hundred days of preparation and in one day it’s all finished.”

Sergey Shubenkov, the world champion in the 110m hurdlers, told reporters he was trying not think about the ban while he ran. “I’m concentrating on my race,” he said, after completing a qualifying heat.

Shubenkov, who has run the hurdles in under 13 seconds, was among Russia’s best medal hopes.

Adams, echoing several other Russia athletes, said Russia’s track and field federation should now appeal the IAAF ban in court.

There are indications that the track and field ban could yet become a complete ban on Russian athletes from the Rio Olympics. On Monday, Craig Reedie, WADA’s president hinted the body was considering recommending all Russian athletes be barred if a new investigation into allegations of a cover up at the Sochi Olympics showed them to be true. Reedie said he inclined to create a “precedent-setting” opportunity if that happened, the Guardian reported.

In Cheboksary’s stadium, spectators seconded those views.

“There’s no chance of us going to the Olympics, because nobody wants us there,” said Andrei Foren, who was watching his daughter train at the stadium, wearing a T-shirt branded with a photograph of Putin sailing a speedboat. “They’ve united against us.”

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Dwyane Wade Talks ESPN’s Body Issue, Insecurities and Marriage

Phil Ellsworth / ESPN Images(NEW YORK) — Dwyane Wade is a three-time NBA champion married to one of the most accomplished women on the planet and an icon trying his hands at several successful business ventures.

But the 12-time All-Star is still human and, like everyone else, has insecurities.

It was just announced that Wade, 34, will be on the cover of ESPN The Magazine‘s Body Issue, and you’d think that for someone who has dominated in front of millions of fans, posing sans clothes would be a piece of cake. But you’d be wrong.

Wade — one of the most in-demand athletes on the planet — was approached about the issue, focused on self growth and empowerment, several times. He passed without a second thought for almost seven years.

“It wasn’t like even, ‘Maybe,'” he told ABC News. “It was like, ‘Absolutely not’ every time. I just wasn’t comfortable with the notion of posing naked in front of a photographer. It never was something I thought I wanted to do…. A lot of people say, ‘You’re a professional athlete, how could you not embrace your body?’ But it was from a lot of insecurities in my life growing up in a kid.”

The Chicago native spoke about “feelings inside that people don’t get to see” that stem from his upbringing, “being from the broken home that I was from.”

“Even though you become great at a sport, people cheer you on, those insecurities don’t necessarily wash themselves away,” he said.

Wade “still doesn’t know” what changed his mind this year, but he has an idea of where some of this personal growth has come from — his wife, Gabrielle Union.

“When I got married to my wife … I would never walk around on vacation with my shirt off. I would always have something on, something covered and she was like, ‘What are you doing, you weirdo?'” he said. “It took me a few years, even by myself in the house walking around naked.”

Over almost two years of marriage, Wade said his relationship with his actress, model and activist wife has solidified his view of the “purpose” of such a union, “to help each other grow as people.”

“I think we’ve both done that for each other,” he said. “I get to see a different side of her no one else does and her insecurities, and she gets to know mine as well. We go out and are public figures, so we share that [with the world] but we don’t share it all…. I think that’s one of the things that drove me to be in a relationship with her and even get married…. I felt that she has been helping me be a better person.”

But Union, 43, is also Wade’s “best friend,” and he knows the two will always be connected in that way.

The shoot itself is something Wade describes as “one of the most uncomfortable shoots I’ve ever done,” but added that ESPN went above and beyond to make him feel better about the situation.

“When I got done, I felt still uncomfortable and when it comes out, I think I’ll still be uncomfortable, but inside, I felt this sigh of relief that I once again overcame something that I feared and I tried something that I never thought I would six or seven years ago,” he said.

As Wade transitions into the next stage of his career, he’s begun to expand his interests outside of basketball. His appearance in the Body Issue is connected with a new line of underwear, the Wade X Naked collection — another milestone for a man who never saw himself working in such a capacity.

He knows “you never replace 20,000 people screaming your name,” but “I’m doing everything to work on the future, things that are coming that I want to do and things that I didn’t even know I wanted to do.”

One of Wade’s role models outside the game is Magic Johnson, who has made as big, if not a bigger, name for himself post-basketball through TV, franchise ownership with Starbucks and much more. He’s one of the most successful businessmen on the planet. He’s also an NBA legend.

“I don’t know what I want to do when I’m done, but I know when I’m done, there’s gong to be a lot of options ’cause I’m going to make sure I put myself in the right position,” he said.

ESPN The Magazine Body Issue hits newsstands on July 8.

ABC News and ESPN are both part of Disney Co.

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Scoreboard Roundup — 6/20/16

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

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Chi. White Sox 3, Boston 1/10 innings
Cleveland 7, Tampa Bay 4
Detroit 8, Seattle 7/12 innings
Texas 4, Baltimore 2
Houston 10, Anaheim 7

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Pittsburgh 1, San Francisco 0
Colorado 5, Florida 3
Arizona 3, Philadelphia 1
St. Louis 3, Chi. Cubs 2
Los Angeles 4, Washington 1

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