Lakers introduce D’Antoni
The Los Angeles Lakers formally introduced Mike D’Antoni on Thursday as their new head coach, replacing Mike Brown, who was sacked just five games into the season. The 61-year-old D’Antoni, who is still using crutches after recent knee surgery, immediately started talking about winning championships. “I’m really happy to be here, excited,” D’Antoni said. “We’re built to win this year, this is not a project. We have a window and we’re going to try to get through it.” The Lakers fired Brown after getting off to a 1-4 start. Interim coach Bernie Bickerstaff then came in and Los Angeles won two out of the next three. Bickerstaff was expected to coach the Lakers’ game against the Phoenix Suns yesterday, with D’Antoni likely to take over behind the bench tomorrow. “I’m going to do everything in my power to make it a good decision,” D’Antoni said. “The reality of the day is I have a great group of guys.” D’Antoni has coached three teams previously, Denver, Phoenix and the New York Knicks. In four seasons in New York he compiled a 121-167 record, resigning in March with the team just 18-24.
Harbaugh has ‘procedure’
San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh underwent what the NFL team called a “minor procedure” on Thursday to correct an irregular heartbeat. The 49ers said in a statement that Harbaugh had the procedure in a local hospital and was expected back at the team’s headquarters yesterday as the 49ers prepare to host Chicago on Monday.”We anticipate that he will be back at the facility [on Friday], but do not have any further information to share at this time,” the team’s statement said. “Assistant head coach and special teams coordinator Brad Seely will be overseeing [Thursday’s] practice and meetings.”
All Whites shun expat kids
New Zealand Football (NZF) apologized yesterday after All Whites players reportedly went clubbing in Shanghai following a match against China, then failed to turn up for a breakfast with young fans. The New Zealand Herald said NZF chairman Frank van Hattum showed up to the event on Thursday morning without any of the team who played in a 1-1 draw against China the previous night, leaving expatriate Kiwi children disappointed. It said New Zealand businessman Howard Moore complained on his Facebook page that the team had squandered a chance to build goodwill among supporters with the no-show at the event organized by expatriate organization Kea. “All Whites efforts were obliterated by their failure to turn up the next morning at a Kea breakfast function to which many kids came along expecting to see the All Whites as advertised,” he posted. “The reality was they went out to the M1NT Bar nightclub and couldn’t make the effort to turn up for this breakfast.”
Agnel sets new world record
France’s double Olympic gold medalist Yannick Agnel set a new world record in the short course 400m freestyle event at the French championships on Thursday. Agnel timed 3 minutes, 32.25 seconds, beating the previous mark of 3:32.77 set by German Paul Biedermann in Berlin in November 2009. The 20-year-old Agnel claimed a surprise double gold in the men’s 200m freestyle and the 4x100m relay at his first Olympics in London. He also won a silver as part of the 4x200m relay team. “I was targeting a time close to the world record,” Agnel said. “Now, I haven’t fixed my limits.”