Thu, Apr 04, 2013 - Page 18 News List

SPORTS BRIEFS

Agencies

BASEBALL

Cano signs with Roc Nation

Rap mogul Jay-Z is expanding his Roc Nation entertainment company into sports representation and on Tuesday it announced the signing of New York Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano. Cano, set to become a free agent after this season, left high-profile sports agent Scott Boras to sign with Roc Nation Sports, founded by rapper Jay-Z. Roc Nation has partnered with CAA Sports, a division of Creative Artists Agency, to co-represent Cano, a statement on the firm’s Web site said. “At this point in my career, I am ready to take a more active role in my endeavors both on and off the field,” Cano said in a statement. “I am confident that the pairing of Roc Nation Sports and CAA Sports will be essential in helping me accomplish my short and long-term goals. I am making this important decision now so I can keep my focus on helping the Yankees succeed in 2013, while minimizing any distractions for me and my teammates.” The Yankees have reportedly been trying to work out a new contract with Cano before he hits the free agent market in November.

RUGBY UNION

Otago bring back Tuiali’i

Struggling Super 15 side the Otago Highlanders have been forced to send another SOS to an aging New Zealand player in Japan, this time bringing back former All Black Mose Tuiali’i. The 32-year-old Tuiali’i, who played nine Tests for the All Blacks and has been in Japan since 2008, returns to replace the injured Nasi Manu. He becomes the fifth New Zealand player brought back from Japan in the past two years to bolster the Highlanders, who are the only winless side in this year’s Super 15. Last month, the Otago franchise brought back Neil Brew, 34, seven years after the journeyman center went offshore to play first in Bristol, England, and then in Japan. During the off-season, Highlanders coach Jamie Joseph picked up 32-year-old loose forward Jake Paringatai and former All Blacks lock Brad Thorn, 38, who were both playing in Japan. The Highlanders started the year as one of the more fancied New Zealand sides, but they have been hit by injuries to several key players and also the loss of All Blacks flanker Adam Thomson, who has quit New Zealand to play in Japan.

BASKETBALL

Lakers honor Shaq O’Neal

Although Shaquille O’Neal rarely finds himself speechless, he said he was thrilled beyond words to see his jersey in the Los Angeles Lakers’ rafters. The Lakers held a halftime ceremony on Tuesday to honor O’Neal. They put his No. 34 jersey in the Staples Center collection that includes Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Magic Johnson. O’Neal is the sixth-leading scorer in NBA history. He played eight of his 19 NBA seasons with the Lakers, winning three championships and reaching four NBA Finals during his basketball prime. Although O’Neal began his career in Orlando and played for four more teams after leaving Los Angeles, the 15-time All-Star says he considers Los Angeles his NBA home and hopes to represent the Lakers in the Hall of Fame.

BASKETBALL

Ref Willard dies aged 54

Greg Willard, a referee who officiated more than 1,600 NBA games, died on Monday night after a battle with pancreatic cancer, the league announced on Tuesday. He was 54 years old. Willard refereed 1,494 regular-season games, 136 playoff games and two games in the NBA Finals. In tribute to Willard, all NBA officials will wear wristbands or patches with his jersey number, 57, for the remainder of the NBA season.

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