Archive for November 7th, 2011

The Israeli women’s basketball league canceled its entire season after local players went on strike to protest a new rule giving more playing opportunities to foreigners. The decision leaves several top WNBA players out of work.

This is the first time in the league’s 54-year history that a whole season has been scrapped. Israel has one of Europe’s top professional leagues, and the WNBA said 13 of its players spent their winter in Israel last season.

Most of the league’s top players are Americans who come over after the WNBA season. Players who were set to take part this season included Jia Perkins of the San Antonio Silver Stars, Tanisha Wright of the Seattle Storm, Karima Christmas of the Tulsa Shock and Plenette Pierson of the New York Liberty.

The strike centered on the league’s decision to reverse a policy requiring teams to have at least two Israeli players on the court at any time — a rule that is common in Europe to help promote local talent. The new regulations would allow teams to play four foreigners at the same time, angering local players who saw their possibilities of earning playing time diminished. A similar rule change took place this offseason in the Israeli men’s league as well.

– Reported by Aron Heller of the Associated Press

shaquille oneal

O’Neal speaks of Kupchak in only six pages of the 281-page “Shaq Uncut: My Story,” co-written by Jackie MacMullan, slated for a Nov. 15 release. But that’s enough prose to label Kupchak as the main culprit behind Shaq’s hasty departure from the Lakers.

According to the book, Kupchak promised to grant Shaq a contract extension following the 2003-04 season and not to discuss their contract negotiations publicly. Once the 2003-04 season ended, however, O’Neal was disturbed by an apparent interview in which Kupchak revealed the Lakers’ plan to hold onto Bryant while keeping their options open with O’Neal.

“That was it. That was the end of me in a Lakers uniform. Mitch broke our agreement. How could I trust him again?” Shaq writes in the book. “For months, I kept waiting for Mitch to come to me and say, ‘Shaq, you’re getting older, we need some new players. Mr. Buss doesn’t want to pay you and Kobe doesn’t want you here.’ But that conversation never happened. So that was when I demanded a trade. I couldn’t trust Mitch anymore and it was clear Kobe was now the one with all the power.”

– Reported by Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Times Blog

kris humphries

Kim Kardashian, Kris Humphries and the pastor who officiated at the couple’s August wedding met for two hours Sunday at Humphries’ Minnesota home, RadarOnline.com has confirmed.

Pastor Joel Johnson, who is Kris’ hometown minister, spent two hours with the estranged pair at Humphries’ lavish lakefront home.

As RadarOnline.com previously reported, Kim flew overnight from Los Angeles for the gathering. She arrived in Minneapolis at 5:30 am.

Kim was seen making several emotional phone calls from the home’s porch, and Pastor Johnson declined to answer reporters questions about how the couple is doing.

– Reported by Radar Online

lamarcus aldridge

Trail Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge put on a sold-out charity basketball game Sunday night with the NBA’s tense labor situation as a backdrop.

A fan held a sign that said “Thanks LaMarcus” during the game that included Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder, Josh Howard of the Washington Wizards, Atlanta’s Jamal Crawford and several other players…

Aldridge’s main goal on Sunday night was to have fun and raise money for charity.

His “Home” team beat the “Guest” team, 164-157. Aldridge had 42 points and 13 rebounds while Durant led the guests with 47 points.

One of the highlights of the game came when Nate Robinson, also of the Thunder, did “the Dougie” with a kid who was a performer during a break.

Absent was Blazers guard Brandon Roy, who Aldridge said had to attend to a family matter.

– Reported by Anne M. Peterson of the Associated Press

The house DJ towered above it all on Sunday from a balcony at the Chiles Center, lights down, sipping a cold beverage in a giant plastic cup through a straw, while bopping his head to the thumping music. Maybe a hundred feet below on the court, Kevin Durant, was dancing and warming up. Mostly dancing, while he bounced the ball. And it was right then that former Trail Blazers Darnell Valentine, elected coach of the “AWAY” team, walked in the place.

“It’s like they took a basketball court and dropped it into the middle of a night club,” Valentine said.

There was a dance team in slick black outfits. And a spotlight that scanned the building. Also, running commentary from a couple of guys seated courtside who cracked jokes and yelled things such as “Whaaaaat?!?!?” at random moments. I expected a woman with a bare mid-drift and a sequin skirt would appear at some point with a tray of Jell-O shots, or yo-yo’s and cigarettes. But alas, this thing ultimately turned into a basketball game.

– Reported by John Canzano of the Oregonian 

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