The Utah Jazz were fined US$15,000 by the NBA for a skit that ridiculed Karl Malone and teammate Kobe Bryant during a timeout in the Los Angeles Lakers' game at Utah last week. \nNBA vice president Stu Jackson levied the fine, issuing a two-paragraph statement Friday saying the Jazz were penalized for "performing a mascot skit that ridiculed opposing players." \nDuring a timeout last Saturday, Jazz mascot "Bear" answered a fake call that was broadcast over the loudspeakers. The caller imitated Malone's voice and identified himself as "Mail," saying he wanted to come "home," LA fans were "mean" to him and the Lakers don't pass him the ball. \nThe call ended with the impersonated voice saying, "I guess it could be worse. I could be Ko...," stopping short of saying Kobe. \nBryant had spent the previous day in Colorado, where he's facing trial on a sexual assault charge. \nThe skit continued during a later timeout, this time with Jazz owner Larry Miller -- sitting courtside -- accepting a call from the Malone impersonator, hanging up and throwing the phone to the floor. \n"After 18 years, for them to stoop to that kind of level, that's no class," Malone said. "And that's something I'll never forget." \nThe Jazz later issued an apology to the Lakers organization. \nMalone said Friday night that he doesn't accept Utah's apology. \n"It's not sincere," he said. "The guy who was involved, who they put the blame on, apologized and I accept his because he's sincere. Other people there, no. I forgive, don't get me wrong, but I don't accept it because it's not real." \nKobe gets cut \nLakers star Kobe Bryant was placed on the injured list because of a severe cut on his right index finger that will keep him out of action for at least a week. \nThe Lakers said Bryant needed nine to 10 stitches to close the wound. He was injured Thursday night when he accidentally put his hand through a glass window while trying to move boxes in his garage. \n"I'm doing something where I'm leaning on a window. It doesn't hold me up. I guess I'm too strong," Bryant said. "Hand went through and I cut myself." \nGriffin takes a break \nNew Jersey Nets forward Eddie Griffin plans to enter the Betty Ford Center next week for six weeks of alcohol abuse treatment, his lawyer told The New York Times. \n"Eddie feels he needs further help with his drinking problem," Rusty Hardin said Friday. "He's very disappointed. But he's thankful for the way the Nets have reacted to his request for further treatment. He realizes these are problems he's created." \nHardin said Griffin's agent, Arn Tellem, has arranged for the player to fly to Southern California to enter the center Wednesday. \nGriffin took a leave from the Nets on Wednesday, three weeks after signing with the team. \nGriffin is currently in Houston, where he was recently convicted of marijuana possession. Griffin also faces a separate charge of felony aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. \nThe Nets signed Griffin after he was released by the Rockets.
Fickle winds produced farcical scenes yesterday on day two of the America’s Cup challenger series in Auckland, as the so-called “flying” yachts spent almost as much time in the water as above it. “I’m not sure today is a really accurate read because it’s so puffy, it’s shifty,” British sailing legend Ben Ainslie said after his Ineos Team UK maintained their perfect start to the Prada Cup series with a third straight win. The series would determine which of the 23m yachts — which fly above the water balanced on hi-tech foil arms — would challenge defending champion Team New Zealand for
Transgender athletes are to have an ally in the White House next week, as they seek to participate as their identified gender in high school and college sports — although state legislatures, the US Congress and the courts are all expected to have their say this year, too. Attorneys on both sides say they expect US president-elect Joe Biden’s Department of Education to switch sides in two key legal battles — one in Connecticut, the other in Idaho — that could go a long way in determining whether transgender athletes are treated by the sex on their birth certificates or by
DOUBLES VICTORY: The men’s doubles pairing of Taiwanese Lee Yang and Wang Chi-lin downed Malaysians Ong Yew Sin and Teo Ee Yi, and face South Koreans today Men’s badminton world No. 2 Chou Tien-chen yesterday marched into the semi-finals of the Thailand Open, defeating younger opponent Lee Zii-jia 21-17, 21-15 after a rally, while Tai Tzu-ying had no trouble getting past her Canadian opponent in the women’s singles. The top male Taiwanese credited calm and focus in securing his win after briefly falling behind against his 22-year-old Malaysian opponent. “I think I had more patience against him and I won most of the long rallies,” the 31-year-old Chou said of Lee. “He wanted to attack [too much] and maybe he lost some focus,” Chou said. In today’s semi-finals, second-seeded Chou faces
DOUBLE VISION: The men’s duo of Lee Yang and Wang Chi-lin downed the South Korean pairing of Choi Sol-gyu and Seo Seung-jae to secure their place in the final Taiwan’s Tai Tzu-ying yesterday easily defeated Mia Blichfeldt in her women’s singles match to advance to the finals of the Yonex Thailand Open in Bangkok, while Chou Tien-chen crashed out of the tournament. Tai quickly ousted world No. 18 Blicheldt, of Denmark, in 34 minutes, winning 21-8, 23-21. The world No. 1 today must overcome Olympic champion Carolina Marin of Spain, who took down An Se-young of South Korea yesterday 21-18, 21-16. In men’s singles, Taiwan’s Chou fell to Hong Kong’s Angus Ng Ka Long after a tough 66 minutes of play. While Chou, the world No. 2, bested Ng in the first set,