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Friday’s Morning Mashup: Former teammates mourn death of RB Joe McKnight, killed in road rage incident 12.02.16 at 7:59 am ET
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Good morning, here is your Friday Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories and scores from our news wire.

FRIDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NBA: Sacramento at Boston, 7:30 p.m. (CSN)
NBA: Cleveland at Chicago, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: Houston at Denver, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: St. John’s at Tulane, 8 p.m. (ESPNews)
College basketball: Alabama at Texas, 9:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
College football: Western Michigan at Ohio, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College football: Colorado at Washington, 9 p.m. (Fox)

AROUND THE WEB:

— Former NFL running back Joe McKnight was shot and killed on Thursday in New Orleans during a road rage incident.

Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand said in a news conference McKnight was standing outside his car when he was fatally shot by Ronald Gasser.

“The only thing we know right now, everything else is conjecture, is that Mr. Gasser did in fact shoot Mr. McKnight,” Normand said, adding: “We will release additional details when we get through with the interviews.”

Normand said Gasser was in custody and was being questioned. A number of witnesses are also being questioned.

McKnight played three seasons for the Jets and one for the Chiefs. He played in the Canadian Football League this season.

He is the second ex-NFL player to die in New Orleans this year in a road rage incident. In April, former Saints player Will Smith was shot after an altercation with another driver.

McKnight’s former teams and teammates expressed their condolences on Twitter.

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Read More: Isiah Thomas, Joe McKnight, Michael Jordan,
Wednesday Morning Mashup: Barack Obama pokes fun at Michael Jordan during Medal of Freedom ceremony; MLB owners threaten lockout 11.23.16 at 8:25 am ET
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Good morning, here is your Wednesday Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories and scores from our news wire.

WEDNESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS: 
NBA: Boston at Brooklyn, 7:30 p.m. (CSN)
NBA: San Antonio at Charlotte, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: Minnesota at New Orleans, 9:30 p.m. (ESPN)
NHL: Philadelphia at Tampa Bay, 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
NHL: Chicago at San Jose, 10 p.m. (NBCSN)
College basketball: LSU at Wichita State, 12 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: VCU at Baylor, 2:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Michigan at South Carolina, 5 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Charleston at Villanova, 7 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: William & Mary at Duke, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Buffalo at Alaska-Anchorage, 11 p.m. (CBSSN)

AROUND THE WEB:

— While presenting Michael Jordan with the Presidential Medal of Freedom on Tuesday, President Barack Obama couldn’t resist poking fun at the basketball legend’s status as a pop culture icon.

Obama praised Jordan for his accomplishments and said Jordan is “more than just a logo, more than just an Internet meme,” in reference to the popular “Crying Jordan” image.

The president went to joke about Jordan’s acting career.

“Today, we celebrate extraordinary Americans who have lifted our spirits, strengthened out union, pushed us towards progress,” Obama said. “I always love doing this event, but this is a particularly impressive class. We’ve got innovators and artists … public servants, rabble-rousers, athletes, renowned character actors, like the guy from ‘Space Jam.’ ”

Jordan starred in the 1996 hit movie “Space Jam” with Looney Tunes cartoon co-stars.

The other 20 honorees included Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Vin Scully.

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Read More: Bruce Arena, Michael Jordan,
Michael Jordan speaks out on racial unrest, donates $2 million to help address police relations 07.26.16 at 10:30 am ET
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Michael Jordan (Sam Sharpe/USA Today Sports)

Michael Jordan is doing his part to address racial unrest in America. (Sam Sharpe/USA Today Sports)

NBA legend and Hornets majority owner Michael Jordan spoke out about the continuing social and racial unrest in the United States on Monday, saying he can “no longer stay silent” about the issue.

In a brief statement released exclusively to The Undefeated, the six-time NBA Finals champion and lone African-American majority owner of an NBA team sounded off on “the deaths of African-Americans at the hands of law enforcement.” He also announced grants of $1 million each to the Institute for Community-Police Relations, launched by International Association of Chiefs of Police in May, and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, two organizations working on bettering relations with law enforcement and their communities.

“I was raised by parents who taught me to love and respect people regardless of their race or background, so I am saddened and frustrated by the divisive rhetoric and racial tensions that seem to be getting worse as of late,” Jordan wrote. “I know this country is better than that. … We need to find solutions that ensure people of color receive fair and equal treatment AND that police officers — who put their lives on the line every day to protect us all — are respected and supported.”

The two groups were informed of Jordan’s donations on Sunday. Sherrilyn Ifill, president and director of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, said the group is “surprised and shocked, but obviously thrilled,” while IACP president Terrence Cunningham applauded Jordan in his efforts to “help raise the discussion between police and the members of the communities they serve.”

“Although I know these contributions alone are not enough to solve the problem,” Jordan wrote, “I hope the resources will help both organizations make a positive difference.”

Jordan’s statement comes after several professional athletes have spoken out on the political and social issues of today. Most noticeably, NBA stars Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Dwayne Wade and LeBron James began the ESPYs award show by asking their peers to use their platforms to address important topics.

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Read More: Adam Silver, Carmelo Anthony, Michael Jordan,
Friday’s Morning Mashup: NBA stars voice support after league pulls All-Star Game from Charlotte 07.22.16 at 8:18 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: Twins at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Giants at Yankees, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
Basketball: Exhibition, United States vs. Argentina, 9 p.m. (NBA TV)
Soccer: Women’s exhibition, United States vs. Costa Rica, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
Cycling: Tour de France, 7 a.m. (NBCSN)

AROUND THE WEB:

Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant

— Hornets owner Michael Jordan and some of the league’s star players expressed disappointment but understanding after the NBA’s decision to move the 2017 All-Star Game out of Charlotte due to the state’s HB2 law that limits anti-discrimination protections for lesbian, gay and transgender people.

The league made its announcement Thursday, stating: “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.”

Jordan said he’s hopeful the game will be returned to his state in three years, assuming there is progress on changing the law.

“We understand the NBA’s decision and the challenges around holding the NBA All-Star Game in Charlotte this season. There was an exhaustive effort from all parties to keep the event in Charlotte, and we are disappointed we were unable to do so,” Jordan said in a statement. “With that said, we are pleased that the NBA opened the door for Charlotte to host All-Star weekend again as soon as an opportunity was available in 2019.”

Warriors star Steph Curry, who grew up in Charlotte while his father, Dell, played for the Hornets, said the game would have meant a lot to the city.

“We support [the decision],” he told ESPN, “but at the end of the day, I love Charlotte. I love the city.”

Tweeted Kevin Durant: I recognize this was a tough decision for the NBA but I respect the choice. Discrimination of any kind cannot be allowed.

North Carolina’s Republican-led government passed the law in March. As part of it, workers are allowed to use state law to sue over employment discrimination on the basis of race, religion and other factors, but sexual orientation and gender identity were excluded. The law also overruled a Charlotte ordinance that would have allowed transgender people to use restrooms related to their gender identity.

Already, a number of entertainers have canceled events in North Carolina, and Albany had to cancel a basketball game scheduled next season at Duke as New York imposed a travel ban to the state.

North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory issued a statement reacting to the NBA’s decision and criticizing those who have taken a public stance against the law.

“The sports and entertainment elite, Attorney General Roy Cooper and the liberal media have for months misrepresented our laws and maligned the people of North Carolina simply because most people believe boys and girls should be able to use school bathrooms, locker rooms and showers without the opposite sex present,” he said in a statement.

Multiple lawsuits related to the law have been filed in federal court, and they’re expected to go to trial this fall.

— Greg Hardy, a free agent since playing last season for the Cowboys, had a workout with the Jaguars on Thursday. A team spokesman confirmed the workout but did not indicate if the team would pursue a contract with the defensive end.

According to Pro Football Talk, Jacksonville will not sign Hardy now but wanted to learn more about him in case a need arises later. The Jaguars have a young and unproven rotation at pass rusher.

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Read More: Greg Hardy, Kevin Durant, Michael Jordan, Steph Curry
Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: BC grad Jen Welter first female NFL assistant coach 07.28.15 at 8:21 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: White Sox at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Yankees at Rangers, 8:05 p.m. (FS1)
MLB: Athletics at Dodgers, 10:10 p.m. (MLB Network)

AROUND THE WEB:

— The first female to serve as an NFL coach — albeit only for the preseason — is a former Boston College rugby player.

Jen Welter, who played 14 seasons in the Women’s Football Alliance, will join the Cardinals as a training camp/preseason intern to work with the team’s inside linebackers.

Welter, 37, has already coached men, serving as linebackers and special teams coach with the Texas Revolution of the Indoor Football League. The 5-foot-2, 130-pound Florida native also played for the Revolution briefly, as a running back and special teams player in 2014 — becoming the first woman to play a non-kicking position in a pro men’s league when she had two carries for minus-3 yards in the Revolution’s opening game that season.

“Coaching is nothing more than teaching,” Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said Monday in a story on the team’s website. “One thing I have learned from players is, ‘How are you going to make me better? If you can make me better, I don’t care if you’re the Green Hornet, man, I’ll listen.’ I really believe she’ll have a great opportunity with this internship through training camp to open some doors for her.”

Added Arians: “She came for an OTA and I met her and I thought she was the type of person that could handle this in a very positive way for women and open that door.”

Arians noted that he talked to the team’s veteran players about Welter and “they were all very cool with it.”

Said Arians: “It’s not going to be a distraction in any way.”

Welter, a 2000 BC grad who has a master’s degree in sports psychology and a PhD in psychology, is the second woman to join the league this offseason, as Sarah Thomas was hired as the first full-time female NFL official in April.

Tweeted Welter on Monday night: I am honored to be a part of this amazing team.

— Jonathan Martin, the victim in the Dolphins bullying scandal that dominated NFL news in 2013, reportedly will retire due to a back injury that would have required surgery for him to play again.

Tweeted NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport: Former #Dolphins & #49ers OL Jonathan Martin is retiring, source said. A back injury means surgery, and he’s choosing to walk away.

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Read More: Jen Welter, Jonathan Martin, Larry Bird, Michael Jordan
Monday’s Morning Mashup: Kobe Bryant moves past Michael Jordan into third place on NBA’s scoring list 12.15.14 at 7:44 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: Celtics at 76ers, 7 p.m. (CSNNE)
College basketball: Elon at Duke, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
NFL: Saints at Bears, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN; WEEI-FM)
NHL: Lightning at Penguins, 7 p.m. (NBCSN)
Soccer: Premier League, Queens Park at Everton, 2:55 p.m. (NBCSN)

AROUND THE WEB:

Kobe Bryant provided the Lakers with a rare positive moment during a miserable season, as he moved past Michael Jordan for third place on the league’s all-time scoring list during Sunday’s victory over the Timberwolves in Minnesota.

Bryant, who began the night eight points behind Jordan, hit two free throws in the second quarter to tie and pass the Bulls legend. He finished with 26 points to give him 32,310 and now ranks behind only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387) and Karl Malone (36,928).

The game was stopped briefly so that Bryant could receive the ball from Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor along with congratulations from players and coaches from both teams.

“I’m just honored to be here, man, to still be playing,” said Bryant, who made his NBA debut as an 18-year-old in 1996, going scoreless in six minutes against the Timberwolves. “I appreciate being able to play this long. Careers normally don’t last this long. I really appreciate the opportunity to still be out there playing and performing and doing what I do.”

Said Jordan in a statement: “I congratulate Kobe on reaching this milestone. He’s obviously a great player, with a strong work ethic and has an equally strong passion for the game of basketball. I’ve enjoyed watching his game evolve over the years, and I look forward to seeing what he accomplishes next.”

Penguins star Sydney Crosby became the latest NHL player to be diagnosed with the mumps, as the two-time MVP was held out of his team’s two weekend games.

Crosby developed swelling on the right side of his face, and when his condition worsened Friday he was sent to the hospital, where the diagnosis was made. He was kept in isolation through the weekend and was expected to be through the infectious stage by Monday, although the Pens ruled him out of Monday’s game against the Lightning.

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Read More: Jakeli Lenard Mitchell, kobe bryant, Michael Jordan, Sydney Crosby
Michael Jordan in new book: ‘I was against all white people’ growing up in North Carolina 05.07.14 at 1:51 pm ET
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A quote from NBA Hall of Famer and Bobcats owner Michael Jordan in Roland Lazenby‘s newest book, “Michael Jordan: The Life,” has drawn a lot of attention after the NBA legend admitted that he considered himself a “racist” as a youth growing up in North Carolina.

The book, which was released on Tuesday, touches on a multitude of subjects related to Jordan’s life, including his upbringing in the historically prejudiced South during the 1970s.

In one incident, Jordan recalls that he was suspended from school in 1977 after responding to a girl who called him a racial slur.

“I threw a soda at her,”€ Jordan said. “€œIt was a very tough year. I was really rebelling. I considered myself a racist at that time. Basically, I was against all white people.”

Lazenby defended Jordan’s comments in a tweet, stating: Media are focused on comments Michael Jordan made about race which appear in my book. He made those comments years ago, talking of his youth.

Lazenby also discussed the environment that Jordan lived in during an interview with Sports Illustrated’s Martin Rickman, stating that North Carolina was a breeding ground for racism and oppression during the 1960s and 1970s.

“€œI’ve been to North Carolina hundreds of times and enjoy it tremendously, but North Carolina was a state that had more Klan members than the rest of the Southern states combined. … The Klan was like a chamber of commerce,” Lazenby said. “It bought the uniforms for ball teams, it put Bibles in all the schools. It may well have ended up being a chamber of commerce if not for all the violence it was perpetrating, too. A lot of the context just wasn’t possible to put it in a basketball book. A lot of it ended up being cut.”€

Jordan’s comments add to an already volatile mood in the NBA regarding racism, as the saga revolving around Clippers owner Donald Sterling‘s disgusting comments continues.

Read More: Bobcats, Donald Sterling, Michael Jordan, North Carolina
Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Jim Boeheim defends Carmelo Anthony, rips Knicks teammates 05.21.13 at 8:02 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:
NHL playoffs: Bruins at Rangers, 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
NHL playoffs: Kings at Sharks, 10 p.m. (NBCSN)
NBA playoffs: Grizzlies at Spurs, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: Draft lottery, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN)
MLB: Red Sox at White Sox, 8:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Yankees at Orioles, 7:05 p.m. (MLB Network)

AROUND THE WEB:

‘™¦ The Knicks are regrouping after their second-round flameout vs. the Pacers, but at least one person is convinced that the finger-pointing at Carmelo Anthony is unfair.

Jim Boeheim, who coached Anthony at Syracuse, expressed his disappointment with the rest of the Knicks and said Anthony can’t win a title with that lineup.

“Not on that team,” Boeheim told the Syracuse Post-Standard. “He did what he can do. He played very well the final game. Everybody’s killing him, but Tyson Chandler just didn’t try to catch the ball. He threw him the ball and Tyson Chandler went like this [dodging]. [Chandler] was wide open. He should have been looking for the ball right here. Kenyon Martin should have been looking for the ball. They both went like this [dodging]. Carmelo gets turnovers and the announcers aren’€™t smart enough to even think, ‘Well, the guy should try to catch the ball.’ ”

Speaking from his office at the Carmelo K. Anthony Center (which the Knicks star helped fund), Boeheim, who coached Anthony and Chandler on the 2012 U.S. Olympic team, also took shots at other Knicks players.

“Tyson Chandler claims he never gets the ball. He doesn’€™t try to get the ball. He had two points, and [Pacers center Roy] Hibbert had [21],” Boeheim said. “What was the difference in the series? Raymond Felton was 0-for-7. [Pacers guard] Lance Stephenson had [25] points. They’€™re going to blame it on Carmelo? I told him when he went to New York, ‘They’€™re going to blame it on you.’

“They have no chance to win. Pablo Prigioni has never scored against [Team USA]. We played Argentina six or seven times in different events. He hasn’€™t scored against us. You have to have players to win in the NBA.”

Boeheim insisted it’s not Anthony’s fault that the Knicks offense begins and ends with him, and added that Anthony “has to work too hard” because of the lack of support.

“Referring to Felton and J.R. Smith, Boeheim said: “Those guys weren’t great players where they were and now they’re asking them to be second and third options. In Miami the second and third options are Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. Your fourth option is Ray Allen, who is still in good shape. Your fifth option is Shane Battier, who is still a good player. The New York Knicks have who?”

‘™¦ Bills defensive end Mario Williams on Monday denied ever considering suicide, despite sending a text to his former fiancee last fall implying that he was. Williams, who is suing Erin Marzouki in an attempt to recover a $785,000 diamond engagement ring, accused her of manipulating his text in an attempt to embarrass him.

“Obviously it’s just a tactic to cover up the point of the whole thing,” Williams said. “It is what it is. I could really care less. All it is [is] allegations and text messages and what not, whatever information blown out of proportion. I mean, it’s completely out of context.”

Williams also texted Marzouki that he had taken three hydrocodone painkillers the morning of a game against the Patriots, and that he planned to take two more on the plane ride back to Buffalo. On Monday he explained that he was playing three weeks after having surgery on his left wrist and insisted the drugs were prescribed by the team.

‘™¦ Bobcats owner Michael Jordan reportedly will announce Tuesday that the team will change its name to the Hornets, as has been speculated for some time. The original Hornets left Charlotte in 2002 for New Orleans but recently changed their name to the Pelicans.

It’s expected to take at least a year before Charlotte’s name change becomes official.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On May 21, 1978, the Bruins beat the Canadiens 4-3 in overtime to even the Stanley Cup finals at two games apiece. Which forward scored the winning goal?

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Read More: Carmelo Anthony, jim boeheim, Mario Williams, Michael Jordan
Friday’s Morning Mashup: Lakers owner Jerry Buss hospitalized as he battles cancer 02.15.13 at 7:56 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:
NHL: Bruins at Sabres, 7 p.m. (NESN)
NHL: Sharks at Blackhawks, 87:30 p.m. (NHL Network)
College hockey: Boston University at Maine, 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
NBA: All-Star Celebrity Game, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: Rising Stars Challenge, 9 p.m. (TNT)
College basketball: Iona at Manhattan, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Green Bay at Cleveland State, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Georgetown at Cincinnati, 9 p.m. (ESPN)

AROUND THE WEB:

‘™¦ Longtime Lakers owner Jerry Buss, who is battling cancer, has been hospitalized in the intensive care unit and has been visited by former players who are saying what they fear will be their final goodbyes, according to multiple reports.

The Los Angeles Times reported that Kobe Bryant, Magic Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar have stopped by, while a report from radaronline.com indicates the players were visiting Buss because of “what they expect to be his final days.”

Buss, 79, has been hospitalized several times in recent years. His son, Jim, who oversees basketball operations for the team, said Thursday that his father was “doing fine” and declined to offer any details.

The Lakers have won 10 championships under Buss’ ownership, which began in 1979. Despite his health issues, Buss has continued to be involved in team decisions, including the hiring of coach Mike D’Antoni in November.

‘™¦ Legendary Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully denied former catcher Mike Piazza‘s accusations that Scully “crushed” him in the media and helped turned the fans against him, leading to Piazza’s trade from the team in 1988.

In his new book, Piazza blamed Scully for referencing the player’s contract negotiations during an interview in 1988 and implying Piazza was not showing loyalty to the club.

“That’s not true at all,” Scully told the Los Angeles Times. “As God is my judge, I don’t get involved in these things. I can’t imagine I would ever put my toe in the water as far as a player and his negotiations.

“I have no idea where he is coming from. I really have no idea. I can’t imagine saying something about a player and his contract. I just don’t do that, ever. I’m really flabbergasted by that reference.”

‘™¦ High-powered NBA agent David Falk, who also is a Wizards season ticket-holder, called Washington Post columnist Mike Wise and took the team to task for its inability to compile a quality roster.

“The team is going nowhere,” said Falk, who is perhaps best known for serving as Michael Jordan‘s agent. “[Coach] Randy [Wittman] is doing a great job with minimal talent. You’€™re one of two things in the NBA: either one player away from contending or you’€™re rebuilding. The Wizards are in limbo. I love [general manager] Ernie [Grunfeld] and [owner] Ted [Leonsis], but I’€™d rather have Orlando’€™s team in four years.”

Another one of Wise’s targets was point guard John Wall, the No. 1 overall pick in 2010.

“He doesn’t have a feel for the game,” Falk said. “He only knows how to play one speed. ‘€¦ You can develop your jump shot all you want, but if you don’€™t know how to play more than an up-and-down game by the time you’€™re about 20 as a point guard, the chances of learning are very slim. I don’€™t see it happening.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Feb. 15, 1985, which Massachusetts-born NHL player scored his 42nd goal of the season to break the league record for American-born players?

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Read More: David Falk, Jerry Buss, John Wall, Michael Jordan
Report: NBA’s Hornets to change name to Pelicans 12.05.12 at 9:22 am ET
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According to a Yahoo! Sports report, the New Orleans Hornets will change their name to the Pelicans, possible next season. Tom Benson, who also owns the Saints, purchased the NBA team in April and owns the rights to the Pelicans name.

Louisiana is the Pelican State, and the brown pelican is the state bird.

The Hornets relocated from Charlotte in 2002. Michael Jordan , who owns the Bobcats — the team that replaced the Hornets in Charlotte — recently said that he would consider changing his team’s name to Hornets if the name became available.

Read More: Michael Jordan, New Orleans Hornets, Rumor Mill, Tom Benson