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Adrian Peterson wants to break Emmitt Smith’s rushing record

06.16.15 at 8:55 am ET
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Despite missing nearly all of 2014, Adrian Peterson remains optimistic about breaking the all-time NFL rushing record of 18,355 rushing yards set by Emmitt Smith.

“I don’€™t think it’€™s impossible,” he told the Pioneer Press during Adrian Peterson Day in Palestine, Texas, on Saturday. “A lot of things are still to come. … I look at things that anything is possible. He played 15 years. I’€™m going into year nine but I’€™ve only got eight on the body. That’€™s a long-term goal (to break the record).”

The Vikings running back currently sits at 10,190 career rushing yards to begin his age-30 season. However, he believes that he’s capable of playing seven or eight more years in the league, which is unprecedented longevity for a running back. In order to break the record, Peterson would have to average 1,021 yards per season over the next eight years.

“I think I can play (past Smith’s retirement age of 35),” Peterson said. “I’m blessed with tremendous talent and recovery and everything, so I feel like I’ll be able to play as long as I want. … I want to play seven more (years). Eight. I really feel that I can be 38 out there and still be the best running back in the NFL.”

In addition to Smith’s record, Peterson also alleged that he has the ability to break Eric Dickerson‘s single-season rushing record of 2,105 yards. Meanwhile, Vikings running back coach Kirby Wilson told Marc Sessler last week that he wants the veteran tailback to have a more “balanced workload,” perhaps leading to fewer carries in 2015.

Peterson’s wife, Ashley, still believes her husband’s season goal is attainable.

“I’d say 2,200 yards (this season),” she said of her husband’s goals in 2015. “I think he can definitely do it. His mind-set is totally different than anybody I’ve ever met. He’s very determined; he’s very strong-minded; he’s very strong-willed. I think he has a goal in mind and he’s not going to stop until he reaches that goal. … I think he’s going to go out there and surprise a lot of doubters and the naysayers.”

Read More: Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings,

Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Stanley Cup arrives late to Blackhawks’ party

06.16.15 at 8:14 am ET
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Welcome to Tuesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

TUESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Braves at Red Sox, 4:05 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Mariners at Giants, 3:45 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Nationals at Rays, 7:10 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Diamondbacks at Angels, 10:05 p.m. (MLB Network)
NBA: Finals, Warriors at Cavaliers, 9 p.m. (ABC; WEEI-AM)
Soccer: Women’s World Cup, Nigeria vs. United States, 8 p.m. (Fox)
Soccer: Women’s World Cup, Ecuador vs. Japan, 5 p.m. (FS1)
Soccer: Women’s World Cup, Australia vs. Sweden, 8 p.m. (FS1)

AROUND THE WEB:

— The Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup with Monday’s Game 6 win over the Lightning, but when the game ended there was no Stanley Cup in the building.

Due in part to flooding and road closures in Chicago, the Cup was late to the party. It left its hotel outside the city at puck drop, but even a police escort that reportedly reached speeds of 100 mph couldn’t get it to the United Center on time.

“Mother Nature was not a hockey fan tonight,” Cup supervisor Phil Pritchard told ESPN.com.

The Cup eventually arrived about 10 minutes after the Blackhawks closed out their 2-0 victory, and the players were able to celebrate with it in the usual fashion, parading it around the ice.

While the Blackhawks have won three championships in the past six seasons, this marked the first time they have clinched the title at home since 1938. Coincidentally, when Chicago won in 1938, the Cup was not there — reportedly having been kept in Toronto in anticipation of the heavily favored Maple Leafs winning the series.

— The Warriors are looking to close out the NBA Finals in Tuesday night’s Game 6 against the injury-depleted Cavaliers, and one of the topics of discussion over the past couple of days has been: Will LeBron James win the MVP even if his team loses?

The last losing player to win a Finals MVP was Jerry West, after his Lakers lost to the Celtics in 1969, and James appears poised to become the next — unless he can lead a Cleveland resurgence, or unless Warriors star Steph Curry has a huge closeout game to make up for his mid-series struggles.

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Read More: Chuck Blazer, LeBron James, stanley cup,

Monday’s Morning Mashup: Despite Cavaliers’ Game 5 loss, LeBron James ‘confident because I’m the best player in the world’

06.15.15 at 8:07 am ET
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Welcome to Monday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MONDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Braves at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN, ESPN; WEEI-FM)
NHL: Stanley Cup Final, Lightning at Blackhawks, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
Soccer: Women’s World Cup, Thailand vs. Germany, 4 p.m. (Fox)
Soccer: Women’s World Cup, Ivory Coast vs. Norway, 4 p.m. (FS1)
Soccer: Women’s World Cup, Netherlands vs. Canada, 7:30 p.m. (FS1)

AROUND THE WEB:

— The Cavaliers have lost two straight to the Warriors in the NBA Finals, including a 104-91 loss in Sunday’s Game 5 that has them in a 3-2 hole, but LeBron James remains convinced he can turn things around.

“I feel confident because I’m the best player in the world,” he said after Sunday’s loss. “It’s that simple.”

James finished Sunday’s game with a triple-double: 40 points on 15-of-34 shooting, 14 rebounds and 11 assists — all game highs. It’s the third game this series he’s scored at least 40 points, and it was the second-highest-scoring triple double in Finals history. During one 22-minute stretch starting in the first quarter, James scored or assisted on 17 consecutive Cleveland baskets.

However, despite playing every position for the undermanned Cavaliers, James was unable to carry Cleveland to victory. Although he is averaging 36.6 points, 12.4 rebounds and 8.8 assists in the series, James said he can do more as the Finals shifts to Cleveland for Tuesday’s Game 6.

“I don’t put a ceiling on what I’m capable of doing,” James said. “I know I’m shouldering a lot of the burden, but it is what it is.”

The last team to overcome a 3-2 Finals deficit and win a title was James’ Heat team in 2013 against the Spurs (helped by Ray Allen‘s series-saving 3-pointer in Game 6).

“We’ve got enough to win it,” James said. “We protect home, we come here [back to Oakland for Friday’s Game 7]. We’ll worry about Tuesday first. But it we protect home like we’re capable of doing, we force a Game 7.”

— Sepp Blatter reportedly is reconsidering his decision to step down as FIFA president, and, as expected, that’s not being received well in soccer circles.

Domenico Scala, who as head of FIFA’s audit and compliance committee has been tasked with overseeing the election for Blatter’s successor, said new leadership is crucial following the investigations into widespread corruption in the organization, as FIFA attempts to “regain the trust of the public.”

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Read More: LeBron James, Sepp Blatter,

Thinking Out Loud: ‘Patriot Way’ or the highway

06.12.15 at 10:39 pm ET
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Rooke_JohnThinking out loud … while wondering whatever happened with Hope Solo’s domestic violence case?

— A poster boy candidate for “talk is cheap” has to be now-former New England linebacker Brandon Spikes. After his mea maxima culpa in repairing whatever fences needed mending with the Patriots, he left his car on the side of I-495 in Foxboro last weekend after hitting “something.” Like maybe, another car? There were no dead deer found in the vicinity, either. He’s been cited by police for speeding, negligent driving and leaving the scene of an accident. So … what are we left to believe? The Patriots didn’t wait to find out, and cut bait. Stupid is as stupid does.

— And Malcolm Butler was late for an optional, non-mandatory (wink, wink) practice. You might think being asked to sit out a few OTA sessions was a bit harsh, but here’s reality — it’s not. Not when you consider Bill Belichick‘s track record on internal discipline, or have you forgotten a running back named Jonas Gray?

— Not for nuthin’, but BB’s discipline wasn’t so much aimed at Butler as it was aimed toward EVERY OTHER Patriots player. Brandon Spikes sure learned the hard way — then again, he may have done something really dumb. No one is immune to being disciplined, not even Super Bowl heroes. Childish? Depends on your point of view. It’s simply a part of the mystique that goes into what you’ve heard called “The Patriot Way.”

— I’m of the opinion the Patriots had a group session in the offseason on how to answer questions by saying absolutely nothing. Or, saying the exact same thing. They’ve all become Belichick’s Stepford Patriots. Google the term “Stepford” and you’ll get the meaning. Every answer to every question by the media in this offseason, it seems, has led back to, “We’re just working hard and trying to be the best we can be on the field.”

— Just once, I’d love to see one of the Stepford Patriots have a good, old-fashioned meltdown of a hissy fit. You know, the kind where cheeks get red and puffy and tears come pouring out like they came from a 5-year-old? Yeah, that would give us something to talk about for a while, and probably earn the player a ticket out of town with a lifetime of embarrassment to follow. But I’ll wager more than just a few players and coaches have at least thought about it.

— New tight end Scott Chandler was visibly nervous when answering questions from a media mob this past week, like he was afraid to say the wrong thing. Even Rob Gronkowski, taping a “Celebrity Family Feud” episode that will appear later this month, couldn’t offer an answer to, “Name something you can inflate or deflate.” His response? “I can’t even answer that.”

— Does this mean we’re witnessing the end of “Yo soy fiesta?” Say it ain’t so, Gronk!

— Did anyone see Patriots owner Robert Kraft quoted on ProFootballTalk.com this week on TB12’s suspension? “It’s our hope that opening game here, we’ll have the privilege of having everyone who deserves to be on the field starting that game. I know that’s what our fans want and that’s what we want.” Translation: “I know something you don’t know!”

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Friday’s Morning Mashup: FIFA ‘perplexed’ by European Parliament resolution calling for Sepp Blatter to leave post

06.12.15 at 8:00 am ET
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Welcome to Friday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

FRIDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Blue Jays at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Royals at Cardinals, 8 p.m. (MLB Network)
Soccer: Women’s World Cup, United States vs. Sweden, 8 p.m. (Fox)
Soccer: Women’s World Cup, Australia vs. Nigeria, 5 p.m. (FS1)
Soccer: Women’s World Cup, Switzerland vs. Ecuador, 7 p.m. (FS1)
Soccer: Women’s World Cup, Japan vs. Cameroon, 10 p.m. (FS1)
Soccer; UEFA European qualifying, Italy at Croatia, 2:30 p.m. (ESPN2)

AROUND THE WEB:

Sepp Blatter

Sepp Blatter

— FIFA president Sepp Blatter, apparently unable to grasp the enormity of the situation facing world soccer’s governing body, insisted Thursday that despite the issues he is “all the more proud that our organization runs smoothly in a crisis.” This came on the same day communications director (and Blatter confidant) Walter De Gregorio left his post three days after he repeated a joke about FIFA corruption on a TV show, and the European Parliament urged Blatter to vacate his post for an interim leader.

Blatter has said he will leave when a replacement is named, and it was announced Thursday that FIFA’s executive committee will meet July 20 in Zurich to set a date for the election of Blatter’s successor — which won’t come until at least December.

On Monday, De Gregorio, appearing on a German-language TV program, was asked to tell his favorite joke about FIFA. De Gregorio responded by saying he was in a car with Blatter and FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke, so who was driving? “The police,” he said.

Although De Gregorio is out as communications director, FIFA said he would remain as a consultant until the end of the year.

The European Parliament, meeting in France, passed a resolution encouraging Blatter to depart soon and urged its member states to “cooperate fully with all ongoing and future investigations on corrupt practices within FIFA.”

Responded the Zurich-based soccer organization: “FIFA is perplexed by the European Parliament’s resolution.”

— Eagles coach Chip Kelly showed his Bill Belichick side once again this offseason, reportedly releasing Evan Mathis on Thursday after the two-time Pro Bowl guard skipped all of this spring’s voluntary practices because of a contract dispute.

Mathis, who started 56 games during his four seasons in Philadelphia, was due to make $5.5 million this year and $6 million next year.

Tweeted Mathis on Thursday afternoon: Thanks for the memories Philly.

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Read More: Andy Lee, Chip Kelly, Evan Mathis, FIFA

Report: Cubs, Blue Jays have spoken to Phillies about trade for Jonathan Papelbon

06.11.15 at 9:25 am ET
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Closer Jonathan Papelbon has drawn interest from the Cubs and Blue Jays, according to Ken Rosenthal, and the Phillies seem likely to trade him.

Since Papelbon is making more than $8 million for the remainder of the year and has a $13 million option for next season that will vest if he finishes 26 more games than the 22 he’s already completed, Rosenthal noted both the Jays and Cubs would like to get away with paying as little as possible for the closer financially as well as prospects, but talks are at an “impasse.”

After the Phillies spoke with Toronto late last week, they began more intently scouting the Blue Jays’ minor league affiliates, and “the sense among the industry,” according to Rosenthal, is that Philadelphia would prefer the Jays swap over one with Chicago.

Papelbon, who has a no-trade clause and can refuse a deal if he desires, expressed his willingness during spring training to try a a trade to Toronto.

“Yes, Toronto interests me — if it interests [Phillies general manager] Ruben [Amaro Jr.],” Papelbon told CSN Philadelphia. “I know some of the guys on their coaching staff. They’re a good team. If Ruben can do a deal with them, I’d be interested.”

But, the Cubs could still have a chance at reuniting Papelbon with Theo Epstein, than man who drafted him with the Red Sox in 2003. The Cubs picked up free agent righty Rafael Soriano in part because they’re trying to build up as many late-inning options as they can.

“While Epstein and Hoyer know that Papelbon occasionally is brash and outspoken, they also know that players respect his work habits and competitive spirit — and that he likely would not be a distraction in manager Joe Maddon‘s clubhouse,” Rosenthal wrote.

Papelbon is an unblemished 12-for-12 in save situations this year, posting a 1.13 ERA with 29 strikeouts, six walks and one home run over 24 innings. He was 39-for-43 last season with a 2.04 ERA, striking out 64, walking 15 and surrendering just two home runs in 66 1/3 frames.

Read More: Jonathan Papelbon,

Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Yankees place closer Andrew Miller on DL after winning streak snapped

06.11.15 at 8:12 am ET
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Welcome to Thursday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

THURSDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Red Sox at Orioles (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Padres at Braves, noon (MLB Network)
MLB: Giants at Mets, 7:10 p.m. (MLB Network)
NBA: Finals, Warriors at Cavaliers, 9 p.m. (ABC; WEEI-AM)
Soccer: Women’s World Cup, Germany vs, Norway, 4 p.m. (FS1)
Soccer: Women’s World Cup, China vs. Netherlands, 6 p.m. (FS2)
Soccer: Women’s World Cup, Ivory Coast vs. Thailand, 7 p.m. (FS1)
Soccer: Women’s World Cup, Canada vs. New Zealand, 9 p.m. (FS1)

AROUND THE WEB:

— While the Red Sox have been battling to stay out of last place in the American League East, the unheralded Yankees are having a surprisingly successful year, spending much of the season in first place.

However, on Wednesday, New York’s seven-game winning streak came to an end with a 5-4 loss to the Nationals in 11 innings. And the day got worse when the team announced that closer Andrew Miller was being placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained flexor mass muscle near the elbow.

Miller, the former Red Sox reliever who signed a four-year, $36 million deal as a free agent this past offseason, has struck out 43 in 26 1/3 innings and has not blown a save in 17 opportunities. He closed out Tuesday’s win but has been having trouble warming up lately.

“My job is to go out there and be able to perform at a high level, and I was kind of getting concerned that I wouldn’t be able to do that,” Miller said. “It’s been building.

“There was no moment or anything like that. It’s just been a little bit tougher every time out lately and I didn’t want to go into a game and not be able to do my job, or not be able to go into a game or something like that and hang guys out to dry.

“For me it’s frustrating. It’s a long season and we’ll take care of it.”

Dellin Betances, who was not used in Wednesday’s game because he has been used so much lately, will shift into the closer role.

“It’s tough,” outfielder Brett Gardner said of Miller’s injury. “We had a pretty good thing going with him and Dellin in the eighth and ninth. We’ll find guys to fill in the best we can. It’s kind of like when Jacoby [Ellsbury] went down — it’s a guy who can’t really be replaced. Just do our best. Other teams aren’t going to wait on us.”

— The future of the Coyotes in Arizona is in doubt after the city of Glendale voted Wednesday night to end an arena lease agreement with the team.

The Glendale City Council voted 5-2 to end the 15-year, $225 million lease agreement signed after the team was purchased from the NHL in 2013. The city said it would be open to renegotiating the deal, but the Coyotes refused.

“We’ve all taken a beating tonight here, and I think it’s all unjust because most of the fans don’t understand the complexity of this issue,” said Glendale mayor Jerry Weiers, who was interrupted by several Coyotes fans at the meeting. “The complexity of this issue is the fact that you don’t have all the information. When you have more information, I think you will have a better understanding.”

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Read More: Andrew Miller, Dellin Betances,

Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Rookie Chris Heston joins Giants’ record-tying streak of no-hitters

06.10.15 at 7:54 am ET
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Welcome to Wednesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

WEDNESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Red Sox at Orioles, 7:05 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Nationals at Yankees, 1 p.m. (MLB Network)
NHL: Stanley Cup Final, Lightning at Blackhawks, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
Soccer: Exhibition, Germany vs. United States, 2:45 p.m. (FS1)

AROUND THE WEB:

— In what has become an annual occurrence, a Giants pitcher threw a no-hitter, with rookie Chris Heston doing the honors Tuesday night against the Mets.

Heston, a 27-year-old right-hander making just the 13th start of his major league career, hit a batter but then struck out the side (all called third strikes) in the ninth inning to close out the 5-0 win. It was the first no-hitter by a rookie since Clay Buchholz of the Red Sox in 2007, and the first no-hitter Heston could recall pitching at any level.

“I definitely threw more in the backyard than I have in real life, that’s for sure,” he said afterward.

Heston, who hit three batters but allowed no other baserunners, struck out Ruben Tejada to end it, then hopped off the mound, slapped his glove and hugged catcher Buster Posey.

“I wasn’t too sure where to go after that last out,” he said.

The Giants are just the second team to have a no-hitter in four straight seasons, joining the 1962-65 Dodgers (all from Sandy Koufax). Tim Lincecum threw no-hitters in 2012 and ’13, and Matt Cain had one last year.

— Bob Costas joined in on the criticism of ESPN for the network’s decision to give the Arthur Ashe Courage Award to Caitlyn Jenner, calling the decision a “crass exploitation play.”

Costas, speaking on Dan Patrick’s radio show Tuesday, said he supported Jenner’s decision to find happiness by switching genders, but he said the network is buying in to the “Keeping Up with the Kardashians culture that has overtaken a good part of the cultural landscape.”

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Read More: Bob Costas, Caitlyn Jenner, Chris Heston, Muhammad Wilkerson

Indians select last year’s No. 1 overall pick Brady Aiken at No. 17 in MLB draft

06.09.15 at 8:59 am ET
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With the 17th pick in the 2015 MLB draft, the Indians selected left-handed pitcher Brady Aiken.

Aiken was selected No. 1 overall by the Astros in last year’s draft, however, he refused to sign. The Astros found an irregularity in Aiken’s UCL during pre-draft workouts and withdrew their $6.5 million signing bonus in favor of less money, causing him not to sign.

In an article he wrote for the Players’ Tribune last March, Aiken wrote that he does not regret not signing with the Astros.

“I can honestly say I don’€™t regret not signing,” Aiken wrote. “It was a very difficult decision, but it also was an informed decision. … This wasn’€™t a decision we made lightly. The money wasn’€™t the only factor to consider.”

The 18-year-old enrolled at IMG Academy, a postgraduate institution, in order to remain eligible for the 2015 draft. Just 13 pitches into his first start with the school, he tore his UCL and received Tommy John surgery less than a week later.

In his article, Aiken wrote that he valued an organization that would take care of him and provide an environment for success.

“I wanted to play somewhere I felt comfortable, with a support system I felt would lay the groundwork for a successful and long career,” Aiken wrote. “Making sure I had that in place was worth the frustration of not being able to get on with my career sooner.”

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Read More: Brady Aiken, Cleveland Indians, Houston Astros,

Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Shaquille O’Neal admits to deflating basketballs with Lakers

06.09.15 at 8:08 am ET
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Welcome to Tuesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

TUESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Red Sox at Orioles, 7:05 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Nationals at Yankees, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
NBA: Finals, Warriors at Cavaliers, 9 p.m. (ABC)
Soccer: Women’s World Cup, France vs. England, 1 p.m. (Fox)
Soccer: Women’s World Cup, Spain vs. Costa Rica, 4 p.m. (FS1)
Soccer: Women’s World Cup, Colombia vs. Mexico, 4 p.m. (Fox)
Soccer: Women’s World Cup, Brazil vs. South Korea, 7 p.m. (FS1)

AROUND THE WEB:

Shaquille O'Neal

Shaquille O’Neal

— As the Deflategate controversy continues, Shaquille O’Neal is the latest athlete to admit to deflating balls before games. O’Neal said on a recent podcast that he would let some air out of basketballs during the Lakers’ championship run in the early 2000s — “Get the ball, ‘Tsssss’ let a little bit of air out, squeeze it — OK, good,” he said.

“Sometimes, in the games during all my championship runs, if a ball was too hard, I let air out,” O’Neal said (via ESPN.com). “I’d have a needle. A friend of mine would have a needle and I would get the game ball. … I needed that extra grip, but I wasn’t doing that for cheating purposes. I just needed the extra grip for my hands so I could palm it, a la Michael Jordan, the way he used to palm it.”

O’Neal insists he was not breaking the rules, because he was not attempting to go below the league-mandated minimum of 7.5 psi.

“First of all, I’m not aware of any letter of the law that says, you can’t let air out of the ball,” O’Neal said. “I’m not aware of that. Second of all, it’s all about my [comfort level]. A lot of times, if the balls have too much air in them, they’re too bouncy. I didn’t want them to be bouncy. I needed that grip.”

Phil Jackson, who coached O’Neal with the Lakers, previously admitted that his Knicks teams used to deflate balls in the 1970s. Like O’Neal, Jackson said it should not be considered illegal because the balls did not fall below the league minimum psi.

Jackson told reporter Sam Smith for a book that other teams used to deflate balls below the NBA standard in an attempt to slow his Michael Jordan-led Bulls teams, but he would carry a pressure gauge and check the game balls so that they could be fixed.

— A defamation suit filed by former 49ers linebacker Ray McDonald against a woman who accused him of rape was dismissed by a California judge, who said McDonald failed to prove the woman talked to anyone but police.

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Read More: Oscar Pistorius, Phil Jackson, Ray McDonald, Shaquille O'Neal