NBA in Africa: Mandela’s house, safaris and a game

Chris Paul Jerseys keeps waking up in his hotel at 3 a.m. because of jet-lag and is wiped, though it hasn’t stopped him getting out and visiting the house where Nelson Mandela lived.

Luol Deng Jerseys couldn’t wait to talk to Pau Gasol Jerseys about a trip he recommended the Spaniard take to one of South Africa’s most beautiful cities.

Gregg Popovich is planning a safari and a tour of the country’s wine region. As he said, “If you come all this way, you may as well do something.”

Oh yeah, there’s also a game to play on Saturday.

The NBA is in Africa, and a practice session at a downtown Johannesburg arena on Friday, the day before the NBA’s first exhibition game on this continent, was dominated not by basketball but by talk of who is going where and doing what off the court.

“How beautiful is Cape Town?” Deng asked a smiling Gasol of his trip to the city on the coast, breaking away from an interview with reporters offering boring questions like: Who’s going to win the game?

Saturday’s exhibition, where Paul will captain Team World against Deng’s Team Africa, is the NBA’s biggest statement of intent so far in Africa, and a precursor to a preseason and maybe even a regular season game over here, according to Commissioner Adam Silver, who is also on the trip.

But the exhibition, which also features, among others, Gasol brothers Pau and Marc, Washington’s Bradley Beal Jerseys, Orlando’s Nikola Vucevic Jerseys, and coaches Popovich, Mike Budenholzer and Brooklyn’s Lionel Hollins, is wholesale jerseys secondary right now to the African experience for many of the NBA’s biggest names.

Paul, an eight-time All Star, began his prep on the long flight from Los Angeles by reading “Long Walk to Freedom,” the memoir of Mandela, the anti-apartheid leader, Nobel Peace Prize winner, and South Africa’s first democratic president who died in 2013.

“The coolest part of the trip so far was having the opportunity to go to Soweto yesterday and have the opportunity to visit Nelson Mandela’s house,” said Paul, who was in South Africa for the first time. “When you come on a trip like this, a lot of times everyone talks about the game, the game, the game. But, in actuality, the game has been secondary.”

The next thing on the to-do list for Paul is a lion park on the outskirts of Johannesburg.

Two-time NBA champion Pau Gasol of the Chicago Bulls took time out to go to Cape Town on the southwest tip of Africa on the advice of Miami’s Deng, who has been traveling to South Africa every cheap nba jerseys summer for the last seven or eight years. It was a good tip, judging by Gasol’s grin when they met up on court.

Before heading off for his safari, Popovich, the five-time NBA title-winning coach, will handle the “home” team. Team Africa is made up of African-born players like Deng and those with African heritage like Portland’s Al-Farouq Aminu and Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo Jerseys, who both have parents from Nigeria.

Popovich isn’t taking it too seriously.

“We’re going to have a great night, a lot of fun,” he said. “This isn’t regular season. We’re going to put on a great show for everybody. We’re not drawing up plays, we’re not going to stay up late tonight wondering if we’re going to win or lose.”

But it’s still a game, and NBA players being NBA players, it’ll be competitive on Saturday, exhibition or not.

“Once the juices get going and tip-off starts, you want to win,” Marc Gasol Jerseys of Team World said. “That’s our nature. All of us can tell you the same thing, we’re gonna be careful, we’re not gonna get hurt. This and that. At the end of the day, if you have a chance, you want to win.

“Of course if the game gets too out of hand, you’re not going to try anything crazy. But if the game is close …”

The NBA’s introduction to Africa will cheap jerseys be at the 4,000-seat Ellis Park Arena, which is perched at one corner of a much bigger and much more famous rugby stadium, one of the main sports in South Africa. The arena seats are, fittingly for the NBA, red, white and blue, and while it’s much smaller than the 20 NBA stars are used to, it’s a start.

“As long as the baskets are 10 feet, the court is the same length, same width,” Paul said. “I’m, what, 30 years old now. I feel like I’ve played everywhere you can possibly play.”

Even Africa come Saturday.

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Pryor faces ‘tall task’ to make Browns as WR

The Cleveland Browns Jerseys certainly could use a difference-maker at the receiver position, but that doesn’t mean Terrelle Pryor Jerseys is making this 53-man roster.

The former NFL quarterback turned pass-catcher has the support of his new teammates, but fellow wideout Brian Hartline Jerseys expects a bumpy transition.

“It’s a tall task. I’ve been doing it for 10 to 20 years,” Hartline said Wednesday, before hoping out loud that Pryor would be “successful” in his quest, per The Plain Dealer.

“It’s going to be very challenging for him,” said Browns Jerseys safety Donte Whitner Jerseys. “We’re not wholesale jerseys going to make it easy on him.”

Pryor appears serious about the position switch after using the summer to work out with future Hall of Fame wideout Randy Moss, the suspended Josh Gordon Jerseys and Browns jerseys quarterback Josh McCown Jerseys.

“I believe I can do this,” Pryor recently told The Plain Dealer. “When I work out and when I train to do something, I don’t do it just to be OK. I believe in cheap jerseys my heart with my God-given ability that I’m going to be the best. That’s not being arrogant or cocky. No one outworks me, so I believe in my heart if I put my mind to anything, I can accomplish it.”

Pryor’s advantage is his 6-foot-4, 233-pound frame and a freaky amount of athletic talent. From that angle alone he belongs on an NFL roster, but switching positions at the pro level is rarely successful.

We still see Pryor as a sneaky candidate to win the team’s No. 3 quarterback job, especially with new coordinator John DeFilippo having developed him in Oakland. For now, cheap nfl jerseys though, Pryor remains a long-shot to make an NFL roster.

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Martin robs Teixeira with leaping catch at wall

ARLINGTON — Rangers center fielder Leonys Martin Jerseys is sure to be seen on highlight cheap mlb jerseys reels everywhere after his second-inning catch Monday against the Yankees.

With the game tied at 0, Mark Teixeira Jerseys hit a towering fly ball to left-center-field off Rangers starter Matt Harrison Jerseys, but Martin ran over and was able to put one hand on the wall to aid his leap while still in motion. He snagged wholesale jerseys Teixeira’s ball near the top of the wall, turning a possible home run into an out.

Martin, who started with the Rangers giving Delino DeShields Jerseys a day out cheap jerseys of the lineup, also hit an RBI single and stole a base in the bottom half of the second as the Rangers took a 2-0 lead.

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Coyotes, City of Glendale agree on resolution

GLENDALE, ARIZONA — The Arizona Coyotes and the City of Glendale announced today that the two parties have agreed on a resolution to their ongoing legal dispute. The City of Glendale will release details of the proposed amendments to the existing arena management agreement this morning on the city’s website, http://www.glendaleaz.com/. The Glendale City Council will vote on the amendments to the agreement on Friday, July 24 at Glendale City Hall. Details of that city council meeting are also posted on the city website.

“This revised agreement represents a positive outcome for both the city and the Coyotes,” said Glendale cheap nhl jerseys Acting City Manager, Dick Bowers. “It also allows us to move forward in a way that keeps an important economic driver in our community. That’s important for business and it’s important to our citizens.”

“We have come up with a resolution that works for both sides and is best for the team, our fans, the wholesale jerseys city and most importantly the taxpayers,” said Coyotes Co-Owner, President and CEO Anthony LeBlanc. “Neither side benefits from a long, drawn out legal battle. What’s important is putting this dispute behind us and focusing on growing the Coyotes business and in turn, further growing revenues for the entire Westgate Entertainment District. This decision will bring much-needed certainty to our fans cheap jerseys and sponsors about our near-term future and an end to the uncertainty brought about through this legal action. We know that hockey works in the Valley and we are committed to Arizona for the long-term. We thank Coyotes fans and sponsors for their incredible support throughout this process. They have proven that they are among the most loyal and ardent in the NHL.”

To read more from the Coyotes website, CLICK HERE.

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West has signed his one-year deal with the Spurs.

David West has signed his one-year deal with the San Antonio Spurs.

The Spurs announced the signing on Friday. West agreed to terms on a one-year deal cheap nba jerseys for the veteran’s minimum of about $1.4 million last week.

West left a payday of more than $12 million with the Indiana Pacers to sign with the Spurs and chase his first title.

He chose the Spurs wholesale jerseys after San Antonio landed star forward LaMarcus Aldridge Jerseys in free agency. West gives the Spurs some needed toughness and experience off the bench.

West spent the previous four seasons in Indiana. He averaged 11.7 points and 6.8 rebounds cheap jerseys in 66 games last season.

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Patriots ink Stephen Gostkowski to long-term deal

Stephen Gostkowski is now the highest-paid kicker in the NFL.

Per NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport, the Patriots Jerseys inked their dependable special teams wholesale jerseys ace to a four-year deal worth $17.2 million, including a $6 million signing bonus. Gostkowski was flying securely under the radar as a franchise tag player rubbing up against Wednesday’s 4 p.m. ET deadline cheap nfl shirts to strike a long-term deal.

The 31-year-old hit 86.8 percent of his field goals over an eight-year career so far, but his previous two seasons – 92.7 percent and 94.6 percent – were his best.

As the NFL decides how they’ll alter kicking rules in the future, a process that started this offseason by moving the extra point back to the 15-yard line, a dependable kicker has never become more valuable.

Gostkowski has only missed cheap jerseys one kick from 50-plus yards over the past three seasons.

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Nets agree to deal with Bargnani

NEW YORK (AP) — The Brooklyn Nets have agreed to a deal with former No. 1 pick Andrea Bargnani.

Bargnani remains in New York after spending cheap jerseys the last two seasons with the Knicks. He has struggled with injuries and appeared in just 29 games last season, averaging 14.8 points.

Terms of the deal the cheap nba jerseys Nets announced Sunday on Twitter were not disclosed.

Bargnani hasn’t played more than 35 games in a season since 2010-11 in Toronto, when he averaged a career-best 21.4 points. The Raptors,  wholesale jerseys who drafted the Italian forward first overall in 2006, dealt him to the Knicks in the summer of 2013.

Bargnani appeared in just 71 games over two seasons in New York. He becomes the second player to change teams in the city this offseason after Shane Larkinsigned with Brooklyn.

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Andrew Luck: Colts want to 'dethrone' Patriots

The next step for the Indianapolis Colts in Andrew Luck’s fourth season is clear: Super Bowl.

“I’d like to think that we can get better and improve on 2014,” Luck told Neil Reynolds of BritViewNFL.com. “That’s the goal for every team when hope springs eternal during the off-season. It’s everybody’s goal to go out cheap jerseys and win the Super Bowl – I’d like to think we have a realistic chance. We certainly have the guys to get it done, the coaching staff and the support so that’s what we’re working for.”

In Luck’s rookie season the Colts lost in the Wild Card round. In the past two seasons Indy has been blown out by the New England Patriots, in the Divisional Round in 2013 and the AFC Conference Championship last year.

Luck’s sights are squarely on the champs from Foxborough.

“The Patriots cheap nfl jerseys are obviously the defending Super Bowl champs and our defending conference champs so there’s a high amount of respect for that team and what they do,” he said. “They’re the kings of the league right now and everybody would like to de-throne them – we’d like to de-throne them but you have wholesale jerseys to look at the season as 16 games. There are fans and media who will hype up certain games and circle them in red on the calendar but, as a player, you lose sight of what’s important if you get into that mode.”

To help his cause, the Colts have added offensive weapons Frank Gore, Andre Johnson and Phillip Dorsett, along cheap nfl jerseys with pass-rusher Trent Cole on the defensive side.

With the Patriots undergoing a host of changes on the defensive side of the ball, there might not be a better season for Luck and the Colts to knock Brady and Belichick off their throne.

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Justin Williams ready to help Washington Capitals get over the hump

ARLINGTON, Va. – Washington Capitals forwards Justin Williams and T.J. Oshie have seen a lot of each other over the years.

Oshie and Williams met often as Western Conference opponents with their former teams, the St. Louis Blues and the Los Angeles Kings. When they meet for the first time as teammates, Williams will have a little something to say to Oshie.

“I’ve played a lot against him,” Williams cheap jerseys said Friday. “We’ve played a couple playoff series together, that I’ll remind him I ended up on top.”

After six seasons with the Kings, Williams tested the free agent market and signed a two-year, $6.25 million contract with the Capitals on July 1. Two hours after his first conference call with reporters, Washington acquired Oshie from the Blues.

Williams said he was instantly excited when he wholesale jerseys heard the news that Oshie would be his  teammate.

“He’s a little pit bull,” Williams said. “He hits like a truck but he can stick-handle through a phone booth. [He's] a dynamic player offensively, but also a guy that plays hard as well.”

One player Williams is happy to have on his side is Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin, who is known for slap shots and hard, bone-crushing hits.

“Usually you think of a defenseman or someone like that, but [Ovechkin] is hard to play against,” Williams said. “I know he played against us in L.A. and he hit [Drew] Doughty about seven or eight times and Doughty was like, ‘Holy smokes, enough.’”

As a player who’s experienced a lot of success in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, winning three championships, Williams said it was important to him to sign with a team that’s headed in the right direction. Washington checked all the boxes in that regard, he said, and a conversation with Capitals coach Barry Trotz solidified that decision.

“He expressed that he felt I could be a big part of this team and help this team get over the hump,” Williams said. “I want to be a part of a team that cheap nhl jerseys wants me and that I can be a big part of and has championship qualities. That’s certainly why I’m here.”

Training camp is two months away, but Williams is spending his time training and acclimating himself and his family to their surroundings.

“Going to a new team, it’s different,” Williams said. “It’s going to be different for myself and my family. I’ve been in L.A. for six years. It was time to come back to the East Coast.”

The Capitals hope the addition of Williams and his track record of postseason success will help propel them to a championship. Washington hasn’t been to an Eastern Conference Final since 1998, the year it was swept by the Detroit Red Wings in the only Stanley Cup Final appearance in Capitals history.

Selected in the first round (No. 28) by the Philadelphia Flyers in the 2000 NHL Draft, Williams is a three-time Stanley Cup champion (once with the Carolina Hurricanes in 2006, twice with the Kings in 2012 and 2014); won the Conn Smythe trophy in 2014; and his 14 points in Game 7s are the most in NHL history.

“I have good numbers in Game 7s, but that’s a product of great teams I’ve been on,” Williams said. “We’ve won championships because of it. Game 7s are little plays here and there that make differences. It’s miniscule things that add up to the end result. This team is close and I want to do what I can to help.”

Washington is 4-10 in Game 7. Last season, the Capitals led the New York Rangers 3-1 in the Eastern Conference Second Round but lost three consecutive games, ending the season with a Game 7 loss at Madison Square Garden on May 13.

Williams knows a little bit about the composition of a good team, and he said the Capitals fit that profile. The formula for winning a championship, he said, is more than having the most talented roster.

“It’s not just finding the best players; wholesale jerseys it’s finding the right players for the team,” Williams said. “If you have the right guys, the right fit and they’re out there and they care about each other, you’re going to have a successful team.”

Williams is expected to play right wing on the second line, but he’s willing to go wherever Trotz thinks is the best fit.

“I’m just going to come in and take it cheap jerseys all in,” Williams said. “I’m just going to be me. I’m not going to try to be someone I’m not. I’m here to be a piece and I hope it’s going to be a good fit.”

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Gordon goes on DL, to miss 8 weeks

KANSAS CITY — An MRI showed Royals All-Star and Gold Glove outfielder wholesale mlb jerseysAlex Gordon suffered a Grade 2-plus strain of his left groin and he will be out eight weeks, manager Ned Yost said Thursday cheap jerseys.

• VOTE Moustakas for Esurance MLB All-Star Game Final Vote

Yost said Royals trainers could wholesale jerseys not distinguish if the eight-week estimate meant healing time or time before Gordon could be back playing. Gordon was placed on the 15-day disabled list Thursday, and the Royals recalled left-hander Brandon Finnegan.

“You can’t say definitely he will be playing in eight weeks,” Yost said. “If he heals faster, it will be sooner. But in our timetable in our minds, it will be eight weeks.

“We just have to see how his recovery and his rehab goes. To think it would be under eight weeks is probably unrealistic. But it could happen. But a 2-plus is pretty severe.”%0

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