NBA

Chris Haynes joins CSN for next three seasons

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Chris Haynes joins CSN for next three seasons

COMCAST SPORTSNET PRESS RELEASE:

Portland,OR (June 8, 2012) ComcastSportsNet Northwest, home for Northwest sports, today announced the addition ofTrail Blazer and NBA Insider, Chris Haynes, with the signing of a three-yearcontract. Haynes, entering his second season with Comcast SportsNet, willcontinue to expand the role he began during the 2011-2012 Trail Blazers seasonon the network and on CSNNW.com breaking news and providing reliable insideinformation alongside CSNNW.coms senior editor Dwight Jaynes. His contract iseffective as of Sunday, July 1st.

Duringthe 2011-12 season, Haynes was the only member of Portland media to attend allTrail Blazers games, home and away. He will continue to be present at everygame, at practices, at shoot-arounds, at press conferences and at major NBAevents bringing exclusive videos, interviews and information to CSNNW.com.Additionally, Haynes will continue his popular Insider Blog on CSNNW.com and hewill be a regular on Comcast SportsNet programs Rip City Live and TalkinBall.

Lastseason, Haynes broke many stories that were continuously picked up by nationaloutlets such as Yahoo, ESPN, Sports Illustrated and HoopsHype. Those storiesincluded Greg Odens issues with blood clots in his ankle, Batums intent tosign his first offer this summer, Jamal Crawfords decision to opt out andSteve Kerr turning down the GM position.

Priorto joining Comcast SportsNet, Haynes wrote for SLAM Magazine andProBasketballNews.com and worked for Fox Sports Radio in Fresno, CA. Haynes hascovered a variety of major sports that include the NBA Finals, the World Seriesand the NCAA Mens Basketball Tournament. He is a member of the Pro BasketballWriters Association and the National Association of Black Journalists.

Weare thrilled to have Chris Haynes join our team here at Comcast SportsNet,providing year round coverage of the Trail Blazers for the TV network andCSNNW.com, said Director of Digital Media Kevin Berry. Senior Digital Editorand TV Host Dwight Jaynes said, We believe that Chris tireless work ethic andconnections throughout the NBA with players, coaches, agents and generalmanagers, combined with my decades of experience in covering the league willreinforce the fact that Comcast SportsNet and CSNNW.com are the premieredestinations in the Northwest for fans to find breaking news, unbiased analysisand year-round coverage of the Trail Blazers and NBA.

ReadChris blog at CSNNW.com and follow him on Twitter @ChrisBHaynes.

NBA makes it official: 2017 All-Star Game pulled from Charlotte due to “bathroom law”

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NBA makes it official: 2017 All-Star Game pulled from Charlotte due to “bathroom law”

This has been rumored for months and reported as all but done this morning, now the NBA has made it official:

The 2017 NBA All-Star Game has been pulled from Charlotte.

From the official press release of the NBA.

“The NBA has decided to relocate the 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte with the hope of rescheduling for 2019.

“Since March, when North Carolina enacted HB2 and the issue of legal protections for the LGBT community in Charlotte became prominent, the NBA and the Charlotte Hornets have been working diligently to foster constructive dialogue and try to effect positive change. We have been guided in these discussions by the long-standing core values of our league. These include not only diversity, inclusion, fairness and respect for others but also the willingness to listen and consider opposing points of view….. While we recognize that the NBA cannot choose the law in every city, state, and country in which we do business, we do not believe we can successfully host our All-Star festivities in Charlotte in the climate created by HB2.

“We are particularly mindful of the impact of this decision on our fans in North Carolina, who are among the most passionate in our league. It is also important to stress that the City of Charlotte and the Hornets organization have sought to provide an inclusive environment and that the Hornets will continue to ensure that all patrons — including members of the LGBT community — feel welcome while attending games and events in their arena.”

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Oh, that memory of Ken Griffey Jr. sticking his head out of that pile at home plate

Oh, that memory of Ken Griffey Jr. sticking his head out of that pile at home plate

As Ken Griffey Jr. takes his rightful place in baseball's Hall of Fame this weekend, I can't help but think back to the Seattle Mariners' 1995 season -- the year when the entire Pacific Northwest went bonkers for the Mariners.

Yes. even Portland set aside its usual distaste for all things Seattle to pull for a team that just wouldn't quit. It was a team that emerged from years of mediocrity to capture the hearts and minds of baseball fans everywhere. It was a lovable bunch on the field, playing with joy and abandon, constructing big comebacks for miracle late-season wins.

But it wasn't very lovable in their clubhouse, I can tell you. I was dispatched by The Oregonian to cover the M's brilliant late-season run that August and September, the most time I've ever spent following a big-league team around. Griffey was, at least at that time, difficult to cover. He could be temperamental and hard to approach. Randy Johnson, who would win the Cy Young Award that year after going an overpowering 18-2, was intimidating and impossible to approach. But the rest were easy to talk with and cooperative.

On Aug. 24 of that season the Mariners were 11 1/2 games behind the division-leading California Angels and a game under the .500 mark. Griffey had been out of the lineup with a broken wrist through much of the season and even the torrid hitting of Edgar Martinez couldn't keep Seattle close. But the team caught fire and the emotion began to build, the way it can do in baseball, where the season-long soap operas can grow in intensity with each game.

Eventually, the M's caught the Angels and faced them in a one-game playoff in the ancient Kingdome, where Seattle -- behind Johnson -- pummeled California 9-1.

Next up, the playoffs -- a foreign place for the Mariner franchise -- and a battle with the New York Yankees. Seattle Manager Lou Piniella vs. one of his former teams. The Yanks handled Mariner pitching with ease in the first two games in Yankee Stadium, winning 9-6 and 7-5. About all I remember from covering those games was talking to Jay Buhner afterward about New York fans throwing batteries at him in right field.

Things turned around in Seattle, though, as Mariner fans turned the Kingdome into a cauldron of noise. Let's cut to the chase, the best-of-five series went to a fifth game and it turned into an incredible battle. The Yankees, behind David Cone, held a 4-2 lead before the Mariners tied it in the eighth. Then, in the ninth, New York mounted a rally -- getting two on with none out,.

But then the emotion of the game went from 10 out of 10 to about 15 out of 10. Out of the Seattle bullpen came Johnson, the Big Unit, charging to the mound as if he owned it. He had rested just one day since winning Game 3 but was ready for this challenge. He fanned Wade Boggs and got Bernie Williams and Paul O'Neill on popups.

And in my estimation, there's never been a louder sports arena anywhere than the Kingdome was on that night -- a combination of fan loyalty, panic and hope. In the pressbox, I couldn't hear the person next to me even though he was screaming at me. I was getting hand signs from a baseball-scout friend of mine sitting down the third-base line, who was wide-eyed as he signaled me that Johnson was hitting near 100 on the radar gun on one day's rest.

I will admit, for the first time, in that cement-mixer of a domed stadium with all that excitement, the hair on the back of my neck was standing at attention. This was craziness.

The Mariners couldn't score in the bottom of the ninth and then Johnson struck out the side in the 10th. Again the M's failed to score in their half of the inning. By this time, I'm pretty sure everyone in that stadium was dealing with a massive stress headache.

The Yankees finally broke through against Johnson in the 11th, getting a run to take a 5-4 lead. At that point, though, nobody in that stadium figured the home team as being finished. It just wasn't that type of season and not that type of team.

Joey Cora beat out a bunt single (barely) to lead off the bottom of the 11th and Griffey slammed a hard grounder into right-center field for a single to move Cora to third. Martinez followed -- and you probably know this part -- with a line-drive double down the left-field line. Cora scored easily, of course, to tie the game and Griffey -- not fast but a brilliant baserunner -- glided all the way from first to slide safely into home with the winning run.

You can watch that entire bottom of the 11th here.

It was an amazing finish and the lasting image is Griffey's head poking out of the big pigpile at the plate with a broad smile on his face as the entire Pacific Northwest celebrated another Mariner comeback. That moment was and IS STILL magic.

For me, Griffey's successful dash to the plate was a symbol of his career -- daring, bold, confident, skillful and smart. He was a great fielder, terrific home-run hitter and could seemingly do whatever was necessary to win games.

When I think about the Seattle Mariners, I think of Griffey -- the face of the franchise for so many years. And I always see that face, poking its way out of the bottom of the pile, flashing that magnetic smile of success.

Congrats, Junior. And thanks for the memories.

Recapping an amazing evening at the Dame Dolla (Damian Lillard) birthday concert

Recapping an amazing evening at the Dame Dolla (Damian Lillard) birthday concert

Written by Garrett Thornton 

Damian Lillard has been a household name in Portland for the past four years as he has quickly risen to super-stardom on the NBA.

On Friday night, Lillard, aka Dame D.O.L.L.A., became an absolute legend.

The night of his 26th birthday, Lillard performed his first hip-hop concert in front of a sold out crowd of 1,500 people at Portland’s McMenamin’s Crystal Ballroom. Those 1,500 people left at the end of the night feeling like part of the family, like they just celebrated the birthday of a close friend.

When tickets for the show went on sale the evening of Wednesday, July 6th, they sold out in less than two hours. The man that draws 20,000+ to the Moda Center 41 times a year had no issue filling the Crystal Ballroom. From that evening on, the excitement crescendoed leading up to the show on his birthday, July 15th.

Doors opened at 7pm and the line started forming well over an hour before they would ever open. The line was full of a diverse crowd, just as you would expect from any crowd in Portland. There were folks dressed in all sorts of Blazer gear, Lillard jerseys, Lillard shoes, and of course, a lot of adidas gear.

As the doors opened and the crowd flooded the upper level of the historical building where the Crystal Ballroom is located, there was a ton of excitement for what was sure to be an event that would be talked about for years to come.

The show started with Blazer in-house DJ, DJ OG One, spinning a few tracks from past and present. The crowd was really starting to get into it.

Local Portland emcee Rose Ciddy was the first act to hop on stage as he performed a freestyle and one of his tracks. Danny from Sobrante, another Oakland native, was next on stage and started to bring a bit of the Bay Flavor.

The show really started when Lillard’s cousin, Brookfield Duece, performed. He brought so much energy and excitement to the building. Definitely a very talented rapper, Brookfield Duece was the perfect act to precede the main attraction.

There was a bit of a lull in the show when Brookfield Duece finished but that lull was soon replaced by a few classic tracks that DJ OG One played. Then the music cut off.

DJ OG One said, “I have some good news and some bad news … The bad news is Damian Lillard stepped out of the building … The good news is, Dame D.O.L.L.A. is here!”

As the crowd went wild, Lillard appeared from the car side of the stage.

What really set this show apart from any other hip hop show I have ever been to was the family atmosphere. Lillard has surrounded himself with good people and they were all there to celebrate his birthday with him. There were 20+ people on the stage the whole time. His brother, Houston, danced the entire show. His mom, sister, cousins, and friends were all a part of the show on the stage.

Lillard’s raps are very conscious and timely. His song “Bigger Than Us” speaks to the need that we each need to get better in a world that is so divided. His commentary between songs was even more intimate and important. He is truly a leader and role model on and off the court.

The crowd was loud, like Lillard just got a game-winner loud. There were 4 separate times when the crowd chanted M-V-P, there were Rip City chants, Dame Time chants. It was incredible. Not very often is there such a connection at a concert of this size.

At one point Lillard said, “What y’all are doing tonight is so Rip City … And that’s why I’m always gonna be here.”

It is so refreshing seeing a superstar step out of his own comfort zone and share something with his fans. Portland has had a run of distant stars (ala LaMarcus Aldridge) that what Lillard did Friday night was in stark contrast to what we are used to.

The night ended with cameos from Tim Frazier, CJ McCollum, and a Lillard family dance party on the stage.

Lillard vowed that there would be more shows to come but that this one was special. That it was. Rip City will remember this one for a long time.

Team USA sticking with what has worked: High pressure D and running

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Team USA sticking with what has worked: High pressure D and running

LAS VEGAS — The core of the Argentinian team have played together since they were young teens. Same with the Spanish side. And Lithuania. And Croatia.

“A lot of other teams, other countries, have been playing together since however long,” Team USA’s likely starting point guard Kyrie Irving said. “For us, we all have our regular season games, then of course the playoffs, and after that we go straight into (Team USA camp). So we have to come together a lot quicker than other teams.”

[READ MORE AT NBCSPORTS.COM]

'No Tuna for you'-Plan B means Salmon on the Pacific

'No Tuna for you'-Plan B means Salmon on the Pacific

Thursday night I received a text from Brandon Glass that I’d been expecting, but not hoping for.  “Winds 15-20 knots offshore, Tuna is a no-go.”  For the time being, my bucket list item of heading out to the blue water to chase Albacore Tuna would have to wait.  A few minutes later, my phone buzzed again with the promise of rather exciting plan B. “Near shore looks good.  We’ll fish Salmon and Sturgeon instead.”  My spirits quickly lifted in anticipation of aggressive Chinook and Coho in the not-so distant waters of the Pacific. 

The next morning I would join my good friends Tracy, and Chris along with a couple fellas from Wisconsin named Mike and Dave.  As luck would have it, Mike and Dave’s previously scheduled guide had to cancel due to illness.  Fortunately for them, Brandon happened to have a couple open seats.

We crossed the bar Friday morning in comfort as Brandon’s 28’ Alumaweld effortlessly made short work of 6-8’ swells as we rounded Peacock Spit and headed toward Long Beach. 

Our rig for the day was whole Anchovies behind a Yakima Bait Fish Flash.  One trick Brandon likes to add is to slide a Hoochie skirt over the nose of the Anchovy.  This adds color and can help direct the bite toward the front of the bait and reduce short-strikes.  Most anglers use divers to get their gear down but we used lead.  His reasoning behind this is that lead allows you to feed line to a fish after it strikes if need be, this often results in another opportunity.  In the same scenario, a diver will simply trip and come to the surface.  That’s not to say that divers don’t have their place out on the pond, but they do have their short comings. 

We began our first pass along a rip line in about 60’ of water straight out from the condos.  A quick flurry of bites within the first few minutes resulted in a hatchery Coho, a native Coho, and one that spit the hook.  After that, things slowed down a bit as we searched for a new pod of fish.  After receiving some intel, we made the move out to deeper water to begin our third pass.  This time, as soon as the first two baits hit the water we had a double, then a triple.  It was at this point that things got out of hand.  The incoming tide kept pushing us toward the beach, so as soon as the bite tapered off, we picked up and ran back out and got right back on the fish again. 

I don’t recall a quad, but I counted at least three triples, and too many doubles to count.  The grade of Coho is very good for this early on.  Ours averaged about 6-7 pounds which is great since most of these fish will spend another month in the fertile pastures of the Pacific before hitting freshwater.  We also landed three Chinook and had a couple others spit the hook.  I can say with confidence that this is shaping up to be another outstanding Chinook year for Buoy 10.  The reports from the ocean outside of Illwaco have indicated that there are a lot of adult Kings out there right now, so get ready.

Though my bucket list item will have to wait until next year, by 11:00, we had rounded out our limits of bright Salmon and were headed back to the sheltered waters of the estuary for some catch and release Sturgeon.  Hard to argue with a day like that.

Did someone say Buoy 10?  Yeah, it’s already the most wonderful time of the year again and I’ll have a run down for you next week.  Stay safe out there and have fun!

Fitness tip of the Week: Deadlifts aren't just for the Olympics

Fitness tip of the Week: Deadlifts aren't just for the Olympics

Julie Richardson is a local fitness instructor and registered dietitian. A graduate of Oregon State University, Julie teaches a variety of fitness classes in the Portland Metro area and also does personal training and nutrition consultations for her clients. Find out more at her Facebook page

Whenever I think of the deadlift I can’t help but recall Kevin Nealon on Saturday Night Live introducing Olympic weightlifter, Phil Hartman, who is going for the gold. Phil grips the bar with all his might, throws his lower back up to the sky, grits his teeth, and yanks up on the weight as hard as he can. Instead of pulling the bar up he yanks his arms from their sockets in agony and defeat.

Believe it or not, the deadlift is not just for the Summer Olympics. You too could benefit from incorporating deadlifts into your workouts. In fact, despite the name of this lift, it will make your hamstrings and glutes feel alive. In fact, your calves and back will know something is going on as well. 

In this video you will learn how to do this safely and effectively. Many people avoid this lift to save the lower back. If you don’t know what you’re doing, avoiding is not a bad plan. However, after watching this, you’ll look like a pro. Whether your audience is yourself in the mirror or other gym goers you’ll be sure to impress. 

Before stacking on the weight be sure to get your form down first. As your strength improves you can add weights accordingly. Dumbbells work too. Whatever you do, don’t overdo this one. The deadlift is not a race to the standing position nor is it a drop to the floor. If you aren’t in control, you aren’t doing it safely. No need to reenact the old Saturday Night Live sketch. 3 sets of 10 for beginners.

Always consult your physician before beginning any exercise program. This general information is not intended to diagnose any medical condition or to replace your healthcare professional. Consult with your healthcare professional to design an appropriate exercise prescription. If you experience any pain or difficulty with these exercises, stop and consult your healthcare provider.

Kobe Bryant's letter to his "younger self" reveals "tears and heartache"

Kobe Bryant's letter to his "younger self" reveals "tears and heartache"

"The Players Tribune" is often a source of interesting, even revealing, stuff about modern athletes. I recommend checking it out periodically just to hear what players think of themselves and their roles in society. And Kobe Bryant's "letter to my younger self" today reveals hard feelings still exist between the former Laker star and his parents:

The next time I write to you, I may touch on the challenges of mixing blood with business. The most important advice I can give to you is to make sure your parents remain PARENTS and not managers.

Before you sign that first contract, figure out the right budget for your parents — one that will allow them to live beautifully while also growing your business and setting people up for long-term success. That way, your children’s kids and their kids will be able to invest in their own futures when the time comes.

And he ends his short piece with this:

Trust me, setting things up right from the beginning will avoid a ton of tears and heartache, some of which remains to this day.

Bryant's problems with his parents go back a few years, including a lawsuit when his mother tried to sell some of his memorabilia. This is ugly stuff and I understand his resistence to allowing family members to bleed his bank account. On the other hand, Bryant is a very wealthy man and if his parents need money so badly that they are attempting to sell some of his stuff, you'd think he could take care of the problem without damaging his net worth too much.

 

Tiger Woods withdraws from PGA Championship, won't play this season

Tiger Woods withdraws from PGA Championship, won't play this season

Tiger Woods ruled himself out of the PGA Championship on Tuesday, marking the first time in his career that he’s missed four consecutive majors.

Woods hasn’t played since a tie for 10th at the Wyndham Championship last August. After undergoing two back surgeries last fall, he said at multiple news conferences this year that he’s progressing, but apparently not to the point that he’s able to return to competition this season.

In an email to GolfChannel.com, Woods' agent, Mark Steinberg, said: "Continuing to make progress, but simply not ready for PGA. Will not play in the '15/'16 season and will continue to rehab and work hard to then assess when he starts play for the '16/'17 season."

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Diego Valeri wins MLS Player of the Week

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Diego Valeri wins MLS Player of the Week

Portland Timbers midfielder Diego Valeri was voted MLS Player of the Week by the North American Soccer Reporters (NASR) for Week 19 of the MLS season, it was announced Tuesday.

Valeri starred in the Timbers’ 3-1 win over the rival Seattle Sounders on Sunday, notching a brace to power Portland to their Cascadia Cup victory at Providence Park.

The Argentine playmaker scored both of his goals in a six-minute span on either side of halftime. Hegot things started in the 44th minute, collecting a Lucas Melano pass just outside the area and curling a low shot inside the far post to punctuate a Timbers counterattack and give Portland a 1-0 lead.

Valeri made it 2-0 in fantastic fashion in the 50th minute. Left back Jermaine Taylor started the play, hitting a long cross-field ball to Valeri on the right edge of the area. Valeri took the ball down with his chest and headed it toward the end line before hitting the bouncing ball out of the air, over Seattle goalkeeper Stefan Frei off the far post and in from a very tight angle.

Valeri, who was making his return Sunday after missing three games due to injury, now has nine goals and five assists in 17 appearances this season.

He and the sixth-place Timbers will return to action on Saturday when they host the LA Galaxy at Providence Park (3:30 pm ET; ESPN in the US, MLS LIVE in Canada).

Trail Blazers, Maurice Harkless 'not any closer' to getting free agent deal done

Trail Blazers, Maurice Harkless 'not any closer' to getting free agent deal done

The waiting game continues for restricted free agent Maurice Harkless and the Trail Blazers, as the two sides are "not any closer" to reaching a deal according to his agent, Happy Walters. 

Walters says several teams have shown interest in Harkless, but the small forward wants to re-sign with Portland. However, talks with the Blazers have shown "no movement" in recent days.

If Harkless receives an offer from another team, the Blazers will have three days to decide whether to match the offer. 

Harkless, who last season became a late-season starter at small forward and was a catalyst to the Blazers’ playoff run into the second round,  was given a $4 million qualifying offer in June, which is a 125% raise from last season. Walters said there is a chance Harkless will accept the one-year qualifying offer and become an unrestricted free agent after the 2016-2017 season. 

"He's in no rush,'' to make a decision, Walters said. 

Harkless averaged 6.4 points and 3.6 rebounds last season, but his real impact was made late in the season. He started the final 11 games at small forward, when the Blazers went 8-3. He then became a central figure in the playoffs, when he averaged 11.0 points and 5.1 rebounds.

His versatility on defense in the playoffs – during which he was used to guard point guards like Chris Paul as well as top scorers like Klay Thompson – was an important facet to the Blazers advancing to the Western Conference semifinals.

The Blazers have 14 players under contract, one less than the maximum allowed by the NBA. Two of the Blazers' top offseason signings  -- Allen Crabbe (four years, $75 million) and Evan Turner (four years, $70 million) -- are wings like Harkless. The Blazers also have Al-Farouq Aminu, who last season started at both small forward and power forward.