Bryant inks new Lakers deal
Future Hall of Famer Kobe Bryant signed a two-year contract extension with the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday, the team announced. Financial terms of the contract were not disclosed, but Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said the extension means the 35-year-old will finish his NBA career in Los Angeles. “We’ve said all along that our priority and hope was to have Kobe finish his career as a Laker, and this should ensure that that happens,” Kupchak said in a statement. “To play 20 years in the NBA, and to do so with the same team, is unprecedented and quite an accomplishment. Most importantly, however, it assures us that one of the best players in the world will remain a Laker, bringing us excellent play and excitement for years to come.” Bryant, who is currently recovering from a torn Achilles tendon, joined the Lakers in 1996 and has gone on to establish himself as one of the game’s all-time greats.
Former players sue NHL
Ten former players have filed a class action lawsuit against the NHL, claiming the league did not do enough to prevent concussions. Former Toronto Maple Leafs Gary Leeman and Rick Vaive were among the players to file a claim in the US District Court in Washington, saying it was time for the NHL to elevate long-term player safety over profit and tradition. The lawsuit comes less than three months after the NFL paid US$765 million to settle a lawsuit brought by thousands of former players, many suffering from dementia and health problems. The former NHL players claim that a player can sustain about 1,000 hits to the head during a season without any documented incapacitating concussion and that repeated blows result in permanently impaired brain function.
Vettori out of Test series
Former New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori has ruled himself out of the West Indies Test series starting next week due to fitness worries as he comes back from a serious injury. The 34-year-old all-rounder had surgery on his left Achilles in June and, despite returning to the domestic arena this month, is unsure if he can cope with five-day matches. “International cricket, and in particular Test cricket, places enormous demands on the body and I simply haven’t played enough recently to be confident of meeting those demands,” Vettori said in a statement yesterday. The left-arm spinner said his short-term plan would be to concentrate on domestic cricket, before re-evaluating his fitness next year.
Bill Foulkes dies aged 81
Bill Foulkes, a former Manchester United defender who survived the Munich air disaster and played a key role in the team’s recovery, died on Monday, the club said. He was 81. United did not give a cause of death for Foulkes, who won the title four times and helped the club collect the European Cup for the first time. “He was as hard as nails, as tough as teak — I was always glad I didn’t have to play against him,” said Bobby Charlton, a former United teammate who also survived the 1958 Munich crash. “He was a really, really good defensive player and you could say he helped change the course of history for United.” Foulkes, who still worked in a coal mine initially after joining United in 1950, made his first-team debut in 1952 and went on to make 688 appearances. Only Ryan Giggs, Charlton and Paul Scholes have featured more times for United than Foulkes. Foulkes is survived by his wife, Teresa, and sons, Stephen and Geoffrey.