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Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Kings reportedly show interest in Rajon Rondo 07.01.15 at 7:06 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 Blue Jays, 1:07 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Yankees at Angels, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
Soccer: Women’s World Cup semifinal, Japan vs. England, 7 p.m. (FS1)
Soccer: Exhibition, Mexico vs. Honduras, 9:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
Tennis: Wimbledon, 7 a.m. (ESPN)

AROUND THE WEB:

— Free agent point guard Rajon Rondo’s stock dropped precipitously after he was sent packing by the Mavericks during the first round of the playoffs after another behavioral issue like those that have dogged him throughout his college and professional career.

Now the former Celtic is an afterthought among discussions of this free agent class.

On Tuesday night, however, Rondo reportedly found some interest — appropriately enough from the franchise that might be the most dysfunctional in the league.

According to an ESPN report, the Kings “came on strong” Tuesday night and requested a meeting with Rondo after forward Rudy Gay pushed management to pursue him.

Rondo is expected to sign a one-year deal as he tries to build back his reputation and show he can avoid confrontations with his coach. The Kings recently hired George Karl, although there have been reports that they are looking to replace him before he coaches a game.

— Warriors star Steph Curry was named league MVP and beat LeBron JamesCavaliers in the NBA Finals. Now he’s surpassed LeBron in jersey sales for the first time.

Based on rankings of overall sales at NBAStore.com from April through June, Curry ranked No. 1, with James dropping to second. Fellow Warriors Klay Thompson (fifth) and Draymond Green (15th) helped Golden State rank first in team sales during the playoffs.

The Celtics ranked a solid ninth on the team list, although the C’s had no player in the top 15.

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Read More: LeBron James, nike, Phil Knight, rajon rondo
Friday’s Morning Mashup: Cavaliers coach David Blatt plays down report of rift with LeBron James 06.19.15 at 8:01 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: Red Sox at Royals, 8:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Tigers at Yankees, 7:05 p.m. (MLB Network)
Golf: U.S. Open, noon (FS1), 8 p.m. (Fox)

AROUND THE WEB:

David Blatt

David Blatt

Cavaliers coach David Blatt played down an ESPN report that LeBron James is frequently dismissive and rude to him — even while Blatt is instructing the team during games — and said that he “absolutely” plans to return next season.

“People sometimes judge things on a game or on a period of time and they forget that we’re in there working together and striving to make the utmost of our team and of our situation day to day,” Blatt said Thursday, “and a bond develops over time that is a lot more than what meets the eye.”

Blatt acknowledged that he adjusted his coaching style to work with James, who carried the team to the sixth game of the NBA Finals.

“Absolutely, yes,” Blatt said. “He is a galvanizing player. He is our best player. He’s the league’s best player. He’s a winner. He’s a proven champion. I think it’s important that he feels empowered and at the same time that he knows that he’s very much a part of this team. He’s exhibited that, and always put the team’s success beyond his.

“Now if he has felt that he has something to say and wants to impose his will in terms of influencing in a positive way on those around him, that’s a good thing. That’s a good thing for all, and I certainly encourage that and certainly respected the fact that LeBron’s heart was in the right place.”

General manager David Griffin supported his coach — and he noted that James did publicly as well, telling the media two weeks ago that Blatt had done “a hell of a job.” Griffin dismissed the constant stream of negative press directed at Blatt.

“It never has to go away because it’s all conjecture,” Griffin said. “So I think one thing David did as well as anybody I’ve ever seen, and I wish I did better, was just ignore the noise from the media perspective. Because frankly, none of that means anything. We know what actually takes place here.”

— The Nationals got a scare Thursday when right fielder Bryce Harper went down while making a throw to home plate in the sixth inning of their game against the Rays.

Harper ran in to pick up single and planted on the damp grass to throw home, but his throw went wild and he fell to the ground in pain. He limped off the field, favoring his left knee. The team later said he had a strained hamstring and would be evaluated Friday.

“I’ve had problems with my left knee before — I’ve had surgery on it,” Harper said. “So you know, it was definitely really scary.”

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Read More: Bryce Harper, David Blatt, Dez Bryant, LeBron James
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,
Monday’s Morning Mashup: Email links Sepp Blatter to alleged World Cup bribe 06.08.15 at 7:57 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:
NHL: Stanley Cup Final, Lightning at Blackhawks, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
Soccer: Women’s World Cup, United States vs. Australia, 7:30 p.m. (FS1)
Soccer: Women’s World Cup, Sweden vs. Nigeria, 4 p.m. (Fox)
Soccer: Women’s World Cup, Japan vs. Switzerland, 10 p.m. (FS1)

AROUND THE WEB:

Sepp Blatter

Sepp Blatter

— When Sepp Blatter announced last week he would resign as FIFA president, it came as a surprise, as he had been defiant until that point. A report Sunday might have shed some light on why Blatter changed his approach.

According to South Africa’s Sunday Times, a 2007 email from FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke to the South African government makes reference to the alleged $10 million bribe paid to soccer executives after South Africa was awarded the 2010 World Cup, and it mentions that the payment was discussed by Blatter and South African President Thabo Mbeki.

The U.S. Department of Justice has said the $10 million was transferred to then FIFA executive committee member Jack Warner in 2008 for him and two other committee members to share after they voted for South Africa in 2004. American Chuck Blazer, one of the other alleged FIFA recipients, already has admitted receiving bribes in connection with the 2004 vote.

FIFA said in a statement Sunday that the email constitutes “information, not involvement” on behalf of Blatter and Valcke. The organization also claims the money was a legitimate donation to help soccer development in the Caribbean. The DOJ says Warner, from Trinidad, kept most of the money for himself.

Morocco, which lost out to South Africa via a 14-10 vote by FIFA’s ruling panel of executives, also offered a bribe to Warner, the DOJ alleges.

— An ESPN report indicates U.S. Women’s National Team goalie Hope Solo was the “primary aggressor” during her fight with her half-sister and teenage nephew last year, and that she was combative and insulting with officers after her arrest.

The report indicates Solo had been drinking when she arrived at her relatives’ home and initiated the fight. She had faced two counts of domestic violence, but the charges were dismissed on procedural grounds earlier this year.

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Read More: Hope Solo, LeBron James, Mike Aviles, Sepp Blatter
LeBron James on Kevin Love injury: ‘We can’t fill Kevin’s shoes’ 04.29.15 at 10:45 am ET
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After sustaining ‘”extensive”damage in his left shoulder in a play with Celtics center Kelly Olynyk, Cavaliers power forward Kevin Love appears likely to miss the remainder of the postseason. Love’s absence reduces Cleveland’s “Big Three”of LeBron James, Love and Kyrie Irving to just two.

“We all have to pick our own game up,” James said. “We can’t fill Kevin’s shoes, you can’t do that, he’s special for a reason.”

During Game 4 of the Celtics-Cavs first-round matchup, Love and Olynyk got tangled when chasing a loose ball. Olynyk popped Love’s arm from its socket by yanking down. Olynyk was suspended for one game by the NBA.

Cleveland general manager David Griffin said the team is learning more about the injury and weighing its options when it comes to treatment.

“Surgery is an option as well, if necessary. We’re going to continue to look at that, but I don’t want there to be any expectation on Kevin that he’ll be back,” Griffin said. “I think it would be a real surprise if he we were able to participate in the postseason. I’ve still got a sliver of hope very late, but highly unlikely.”

Averaging 16.4 points and 9.7 rebounds per game in the regular season, Love will be missed for the rest of Cleveland’s run at the title.

“Obviously, he brings so much to our team offensively and defensively,” James said. “It’s a big blow for us. We’ve got to have guys step up. You never want to have one of your major role players out. Everyone has to pick up not what he was able to do, but they have to pick up what they are capable of doing.”

Starting guard J.R. Smith also will be unavailable for the Cavs for the first two games of the second round after being suspended for swinging his arm and making contact with C’s forward Jae Crowder’s head after the two were jockeying under the basket for positioning.

Even with the roster losses, Cleveland coach David Blatt says his team is prepared for what’s to come.

“Our guys have been locked in for quite some time now,” he said. “Everyone recognizes that we all have to pick it up. The next-man-up mentality is prevalent in our work and our feeling. We’re hurting for what happened to Kev on a team level, on a personal level, but not discouraged to the point where we are any less ambitious and any less hungry to continue on this path.”

Read More: Cleveland Cavaliers, J.R. Smith, Kevin Love, LeBron James
Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Angels OF Josh Hamilton reportedly admits to relapse with drugs 02.26.15 at 8:05 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:
NBA: Warriors at Cavaliers, 8 p.m. (TNT)
NBA: Thunder at Suns, 10:30 p.m. (TNT)
College basketball: Nebraska at Ohio State, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Vanderbilt at Tennessee, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: High Point at UNC Asheville, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Houston at Temple, 7 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Texas-El Paso at Louisiana Tech, 8 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Arizona at Colorado, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: SMU at Memphis, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Rutgers at Purdue, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Tennessee Tech at Morehead State, 9 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Arizona State at Utah, 10:30 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: San Diego at Gonzaga, 11 p.m. (ESPNU)
NHL: Wild at Predators, 8:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
Soccer: UEFA Europa, Liverpool at Besiktas, 1 p.m. (FS1)
Soccer: UEFA Europa, Young Boys at Everton, 3 p.m. (FS1)

AROUND THE WEB:

— Angels outfielder Josh Hamilton, in a meeting with MLB officials Wednesday in New York, admitted to having a relapse and using cocaine a couple of months ago even though he apparently did not fail a drug test, according to a report from CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman.

Hamilton, 33, was suspended from baseball for 2 1/2 seasons in 2004 after well-publicized battles with cocaine and alcohol addiction. He came back to win the 2010 American League MVP award with the Rangers but had two relapses. He signed with the Angels as a free agent before the 2013 season, inking a five-year, $125 million deal, but has not lived up to his contract, hitting just .255 with 31 home runs and 123 RBIs over two injury-plagued seasons.

MLB could treat Hamilton as a first-time offender because he was in the minor leagues when he was suspended in 2004. However, Los Angeles Times writer Bill Shalkin reported that it is “unlikely” that would be the case. Hamilton already is subject to testing three times a week due to his past transgressions.

“I can say that Josh is going to meet with league officials in New York,” Angels general manager Jerry DiPoto told the Los Angeles Times on Wednesday afternoon. “At this point I have no other information to offer.”

Hamilton has been recovering from Feb. 4 shoulder surgery that is expected to keep him sidelined into May. He has been staying at a friend’s ranch in Houston rather than remain with his team, which raised some eyebrows across the league.

— The fallout continues from Monday night’s court-storming incident in Manhattan, Kansas, as the Big 12 Conference publicly reprimanded Kansas State for failing to prevent the fans from pouring onto the court and jeopardizing the Kansas players’ safety after the Wildcats’ upset of the eighth-ranked Jayhawks.

Although no injuries were reported, Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said in a statement that K-State’s events-management policy “was unsuccessful in ensuring the safety and security of both game participants and spectators,” and “revisions to policies and procedures must guarantee that no future incidents occur.”

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Read More: Josh Hamilton, LeBron James,
Ray Allen reportedly weighing options for next team 02.09.15 at 10:54 am ET
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Ray Allen reportedly is slated to pick a team to play for in the next 10 days, at some time during the All-Star break. The guard is a free agent and hasn’t played professionally since the NBA Finals back in June.

Teams Allen is considering reportedly include the Cavaliers, Warriors, Hawks, Wizards, Heat and Clippers.

Fox Sports Ohio said that LeBron James and Allen met in late January and that “Allen was said to be concerned with the state of the Cavs at the time.”

James and other ex-Heat players Mike Miller and James Jones “each made a recruiting pitch for Allen to join the Cleveland Cavaliers during the offseason.”

While many teams have expressed interest, most recently, Atlanta is said to have thrown its hat into the ring. Though nothing is imminent, the Hawks “have had discussions with representatives” for Allen, according to Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

As of Jan. 22, it was Washington that had most aggressively been pursuing Allen, per Alex Kennedy of BasketballInsiders.com. The Wizards apparently have interest in reuniting Allen with Paul Pierce.

With myriad teams to choose from, Allen’s decision likely will come down to what kind of role he’d be filling with a prospective team.

“If he goes to Golden State, how much is he really going to play there? If he goes to Cleveland, what’s his role going to be? Washington can guarantee a lot of minutes for him off the bench, and I think that’s a big factor in this,” Kennedy told a Washington radio station on Jan. 23.

Read More: Atlanta Hawks, Cleveland Cavaliers, LeBron James, Miami Heat
Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: LeBron James returns, pushes coach in Cavaliers’ loss 01.14.15 at 8:00 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:
NBA: Hawks at Celtics, 8 p.m. (CSNNE)
NBA: Wizards at Bulls, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: Clippers at Trail Blazers, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: North Carolina at NC State, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Houston at East Carolina, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: St. John’s at Providence, 7 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Notre Dame at Georgia Tech, 7 p.m. (NESN)
College basketball: Texas Tech at Kansas State, 8 p.m. (ESPNews)
College basketball: UCLA at USC, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Iowa State at Baylor, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Xavier at Villanova, 9 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Florida State at Pittsburgh, 9 p.m. (NESN)
College basketball: San Diego State at Wyoming, 11 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Stanford at California, 11 p.m. (ESPNU)
NHL: Flyers at Capitals, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)

AROUND THE WEB:

LeBron James returned to the Cavaliers lineup following his two-week absence with back and knee issues, but the team continued to struggle, dropping a 107-100 decision to the Suns that left Cleveland one game below .500 at 19-20. And during the game, James did not do much to dissuade rumors he lacks respect for coach David Blatt, pushing the coach aside when the two were arguing a call with a referee.

However, after the game both the player and coach said James was only trying to prevent Blatt from getting a technical foul following a questionable offensive foul call on James.

“[Blatt] was getting a little fired up about it, too, and he was on his way to a technical, so I just got him up out of the way before he got a T,” James said. “So, I was just protecting my coach.”

Said Blatt: “I just thought my guy was taking a lot of hard hits, and I didn’t like it and I was expressing my opinion. And LeBron stepped in to sort of protect me in that situation, which is more than fine. What I really wanted to do is protect him.”

Meanwhile, James looked like his old self on the court, recording 33 points, seven rebounds and five assists in almost 37 minutes, and showing the quickness he lacked earlier this season.

“I couldn’t make those moves two weeks ago,” James said. “I know it and for me to come back and feel [like] myself again it was pretty good.”

— Rumors continue to persist that Mikhail Prokhorov will sell the Nets, but the team issued a denial Tuesday.

“As we have said for many months, ownership is always open to listening to offers — that’s just good business,” Prokhorov spokeswoman Ellen Pinchuk said in a statement. “There is nothing imminent in terms of a sale of any stake in the team.”

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Read More: David Blatt, Kurt Busch, LeBron James, Mikhail Prokhorov
Monday’s Morning Mashup: Tributes pour in following death of ESPN’s Stuart Scott 01.05.15 at 8:17 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:
NBA: Hornets at Celtics, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE)
NBA: Wizards at Pelicans, 8 p.m. (NBA TV)
NBA: Thunder at Warriors, 10:30 p.m. (NBA TV)
College basketball: Notre Dame at North Carolina, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: West Virginia at Texas Tech, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Oklahoma at Texas, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Texas Southern at Southern, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
Soccer: FA Cup, Liverpool at Wimbledon, 2:55 p.m. (FS1)

AROUND THE WEB:

Stuart Scott

Stuart Scott

— Tributes poured in Sunday for Stuart Scott after the longtime ESPN anchor died of cancer at the age of 49.

Scott, known for catchphrases such as “Boo-ya!” and “As cool as the other side of the pillow,” was very popular with both fans and athletes since his arrival at ESPN in 1993.

Tweeted LeBron James: Thank you so much for being u and giving us inner city kids someone we could relate to that wasn’t a player but was close enough to them.

Even President Barack Obama issued a statement about Scott’s passing.

“I will miss Stuart Scott,” the president said. “Twenty years ago, Stu helped usher in a new way to talk about our favorite teams and the day’s best plays. For much of those twenty years, public service and campaigns have kept me from my family — but wherever I went, I could flip on the TV and Stu and his colleagues on SportsCenter were there. Over the years, he entertained us, and in the end, he inspired us — with courage and love. Michelle and I offer our thoughts and prayers to his family, friends, and colleagues.”

Moments of silence were held before both of the days NFL wild card games.

Scott accepted the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance at the ESPYs on July 16. In his acceptance speech, he said: “When you die, it does not mean that you lose to cancer. You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and in the manner in which you live.”

— The natives are getting restless in New York, and they’re taking it out on first-year Knicks coach Derek Fisher. During Sunday’s 95-82 loss to the Bucks — New York’s 11th straight setback — the Madison Square Garden crowd chanted, “Fire Fisher!”

“Losing isn’t enjoyable in any way, shape or form,” said Fisher, whose team is 5-31 after losing a franchise-record 10th straight home game. “From an emotional standpoint, you just have to continue to manage what you can manage, what you can control.”

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Read More: David Blatt, Derek Fisher, LeBron James, Stuart Scott