Archive for November 19th, 2011

UCLA and NBA great Walt Hazzard dies

Walt Hazzard, the former UCLA and NBA star who played on the Bruins’ first NCAA championship basketball team in 1964 and later coached the team for four seasons in the 1980s, died Friday. He was 69.

Hazzard’s family said he had been recuperating for a long time from complications following heart surgery. The school said Hazzard died at UCLA Ronald Reagan Medical Center.

He had a stroke in March 1996 and made a strong recovery, but became less publicly active. He made occasional appearances at UCLA games in recent years.

– Reported by the Associated Press

A three-year starter, Hazzard did become an All-American in 1963 and again in 1964, when the Bruins went 30-0 and won the first of Wooden’s 10 NCAA titles. Hazzard was named the outstanding player of the 1964 NCAA Final Four.

“Recruiting after that 1964 national championship was tremendous,” Wooden said later. “Lew Alcindor [Kareem Abdul-Jabbar] would never have come to UCLA had we not won it in 1964 and 1965.”

UCLA was also where Hazzard met his future wife, Jaleesa, who was a Bruin cheerleader.

Hazzard, attired in a sweater, shorts and sandals, was on campus one day with his roommate, tennis player Arthur Ashe, and said, “See that girl? I’m going to marry her.”

She told him, “Not if you don’t wear socks.” The two were married in May 1964. By then Hazzard’s future lay before him.

– Reported by Chris Foster of the Los Angeles Times

Nevada regulators Thursday approved the transfer of the Maloof family’s Palms Casino to its creditors.

The Maloofs, who own the Sacramento Kings, have just 2 percent of the Palms under the deal approved by the Nevada Gaming Commission.

The new majority owners are two investment firms that held the resort’s debt, Leonard Green & Partners and TPG Capital.

George Maloof will continue to run the Las Vegas property, which opened 10 years ago this week.

– Reported by Dan Kasler of the Sacramento Bee

Kevin Durant

President Obama hasn’t hid his desire for the NBA lockout to end, but he is taking advantage of the league’s work stoppage by luring some of the game’s top stars to participate in a fundraising game on Dec. 12 in the District.

Kevin Durant, Dwight Howard, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Chris Bosh, Blake Griffin and Wizards guard John Wall are among the players who have committed to play, according to the Obama campaign Web site. Tickets for the first “Obama Classic” start at $100 and courtside seats can be purchased for $5,000.

Proceeds from the game will go to the Obama Victory Fund to support the president’s 2012 reelection campaign and the Democratic National Committee. Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt said both the venue and Obama’s participation in the event have yet to be determined.

– Reported by Michael Lee of the Washington Post

The venue for the game has not been finalized, but a number of former and current NBA players already have committed to participate. They include: Dwight Howard, Kevin Durant, Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony, Ray Allen and Chris Bosh.

Sources also said Baron Davis, Vince Carter, Alonzo Mourning. Jamal Crawford, Rudy Gay, Kevin Love, Russell Westbrook, Amare Stoudemire, Blake Griffin, Tyler Hansbrough, Derek Fisher, Antawn Jamison, Juwan Howard, Quentin Richardson, Dahntay Jones, Brandon Knight, Jerry Stackhouse, John Wall, Dikembe Mutombo, Patrick Ewing and Doc Rivers are expected to play. Veteran WNBA star and all-time leading scorer Tina Thompson and former USC great Cheryl Miller also is expected to participate.

– Reported by Ric Bucher of ESPN the Magazine 

Basketball blog