Phil Jackson to head Knicks
Phil Jackson has returned to the New York Knicks as their team president. The Knicks announced Jackson’s hiring on Tuesday at a news conference in the lobby of Madison Square Garden, where a giant sign reading “Welcome Home Phil” was overhead and shirts with the No. 18 Jackson wore as a player lined the racks in the merchandise store. Jackson signed a five-year contract that will reportedly pay him at least US$12 million annually. Jackson was a member of the Knicks’ NBA-winning teams in 1970 and 1973, but they have not won a title since. Jackson went on to become the league’s most successful coach, winning 11 championships with the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers.
Heat to host Filipinos
The US Department of State says it is teaming with the Miami Heat and coach Erik Spoelstra this week to host 16 players and two coaches from the Philippines, which is still dealing with the aftereffects of the typhoon that struck last fall. Spoelstra’s mother is from the Philippines. He was involved in fund-raising efforts after that storm, which killed thousands and destroyed part of the country. Plans call for Spoelstra to provide the group with basketball clinics, facility tours and pre-game interaction with current Heat players before hosting the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday night.
Board adds women, producer
After appointing women and former Olympians to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics board to counter criticism it was dominated by old men, organizers now face a possible new controversy over the appointment of a music producer. The 34-member board now includes seven women — including two Olympians — as well as Yasushi Akimoto, the man behind AKB48, a singing and dancing “idol” act featuring dozens of young women that some find musically inane and sexist. Almost as soon as the new members were announced, a petition began circulating on the Internet protesting Akimoto’s appointment. It has collected more than 11,000 signatures and aims to collect 10 times that.
Guangzhou go top
Trophy-holders Guangzhou Evergrande seized control of their AFC Champions League group with a 3-1 win over Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors on Tuesday, as Uruguay star Diego Forlan scored his first goal for Cerezo Osaka. A first-half double from Guangzhou striker Gao Lin and a third from Liao Lisheng, either side of Lee Dong-gook’s solo effort, settled a flowing game and lifted the Chinese champions three points clear in Group G. Elsewhere, Uruguay international Forlan opened his account for Japan’s Cerezo Osaka in their 4-0 win over Thai champions Buriram United, and Melbourne Victory got the first win of their campaign. In the clash between the top two teams in Group G, Gao was only handed a spot in the Guangzhou starting line-up after Muriqui, last season’s top-scorer in the competition, was injured in the pre-match warm-up. And the China international took full advantage, opening the scoring at the Guangzhou Tianhe Stadium after 18 minutes with a close-range finish before deftly heading his side 2-0 ahead two minutes later. Jeonbuk pulled a goal back before half-time through skipper Lee. However, the hosts restored their two-goal cushion just after the hour-mark, when Liao Lisheng flicked home a cross by Alessandro Diamanti to make it 3-1.