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ZINGED AGAIN

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Ja Morant. Courtesy Memphis Grizzlies

NBA suspends Ja Morant 25 games with conditions for reinstatement

NEW YORK (MNS)—The NBA announced June 16 that Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant has been suspended 25 games without pay for conduct detrimental to the league.

Morant posed with a firearm in a car during a live-streamed video on May 13, less than two months after he was suspended eight games without pay for the live streaming of a video on March 4 in which he displayed a firearm while in an intoxicated state at a Denver area nightclub.

The league office found that, on May 13, Morant intentionally and prominently displayed a gun while in a car with several other individuals as they were leaving a social gathering in Memphis. Morant wielded the firearm while knowing that he was being recorded and that the recording was being live streamed on Instagram Live, despite having made commitments to the NBA and statements that he would not repeat the conduct for which he was previously suspended. On May 16, Morant issued a statement taking full accountability for his actions.

Morant’s suspension begins immediately and will remain in effect through the first 25 games of the 2023-24 NBA regular season for which he is otherwise eligible and able to play. He will also be required to meet certain conditions before he returns to play and will be ineligible to participate in any public league or team activities, including preseason games, during the course of his suspension.

"Ja Morant’s decision to once again wield a firearm on social media is alarming and disconcerting given his similar conduct in March for which he was already suspended eight games," said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. "The potential for other young people to emulate Ja’s conduct is particularly concerning. Under these circumstances, we believe a suspension of 25 games is appropriate and makes clear that engaging in reckless and irresponsible behavior with guns will not be tolerated.

"For Ja, basketball needs to take a back seat at this time. Prior to his return to play, he will be required to formulate and fulfill a program with the league that directly addresses the circumstances that led him to repeat this destructive behavior."

TOROS IN TOURNEY

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The Toros’ strong regular season was enough to convince the selection committee to give them a number one seed, despite a tough loss in the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Tournament final. 

Toros earn #1 seed in NCAA Division II women's basketball championship

CARSON (CNS)—After a record-setting season that found the team rolling to a 28-2 record, the CSUDH women’s basketball team has earned a number one seed in the NCAA Division II Women’s Basketball Championship for the first time in the program’s history.

As the top seed, the Toros will host the eight-team West Regional tournament on campus at the Torodome on March 10-13.

The Toros’ strong regular season was enough to convince the selection committee to give them a number one seed, despite a tough loss in the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Tournament final. CSUDH’s loss to second seeded Cal State San Marcos wasn’t enough to bump them from the top spot.

The Toros will kick off their tournament run with a game against number eight seed Cal Poly Pomona at the Torodome on Friday, March 10, at 7:30 PM. The Toros have already defeated CCAA rival Pomona three times this season, including a 67-61 win in the first round of the conference tournament.

The Toros are led by Dawnyel Lair, who earned the CCAA Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year awards for her stellar play in 2022-23. The end of the regular season also saw the Toros’ Nala Williams named CCAA Freshman of the Year, while head coach John Bonner took home CCAA Coach of the Year honors.

Visit gotoros.com for more information and tickets for the NCAA Division II Women's Basketball Championship.

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Los Angeles Clippers artist rendering

Sportswriter At-large

 

Intuit Dome: ‘A basketball palazzo’ cometh destined for Inglewood

First up. At the outset of the 2021-22 season of the National Football League, it’s only fitting to report the great Jim Brown, formerly of Syracuse University and the NFL Cleveland Browns, was enshrined with a bronze statue Sept. 4, outside of Brown Stadium… After each home game at SoFi Stadium during the 2021 NFL season, Los Angeles Rams Tackle and team captain Andrew Whitworth will make a $20,000 donation to help repair homes in his home state of Louisiana and move Angelenos facing housing insecurity into homes as part of his “Big Whit Homes for LA Families” program, Now that’s benevolence.

Now to the biggest news of the week involving Inglewood, Calif. Groundbreaking finally occurred on the $1.8 billion Intuit Dome arena, the future home of the Los Angeles Clippers at the corner of South Prairie Avenue and West Century Boulevard.

Superstars Kawhi Leonard and Paul George joined owner Steve Ballmer in the ground breaking on Friday, Sept. 17, thrusting chrome-tipped shovels into a ceremonial make-shift box of soil where the 18,000-seat arena will be built. The architectural design will seat fans closer to the court and Steve Ballmer, owner and Clippers No. 1 fan excitedly described some of the distinguishing hallmarks the forthcoming arena will offer. Ballmer promised state-of-the-art technology featuring a two-sided oval scoreboard with 44,000 square feet of LED lights, about 37,000 than most current NBA scoreboards.

 

“I like to think about the Dome as a basketball palazzo—homage to the game of basketball,” Ballmer said. “It’s not the Hall of Fame, but with as many championships as we’re going to win here, it’ll be better than the Hall of Fame.” 

Ballmer expressed glee that upon completion, the Intuit Dome will offer the Clippers and the organization an arena of their own. The ceremony had the air of a pep rally with special guests in attendance from local and state officials, players and team executives, to specially-selected fans. The energy that resonated was the LA Clippers’ eagerness to create its own brand and space away from Staples Center and the co-tenant arrangement with the Lakers, Kings, and Sparks. The entire Clippers business operations will be housed beneath a solar-panel-clad roof.

“If you share a building with not one, but two teams, it’s a very difficult task, it really is,” said Jerry West, the former Lakers great, NBA Hall-of-Famer, and consultant to Ballmer and Clippers executives since 2017. “For the players, when they go to the Intuit Dome, they know this building is dedicated to them.”

“It will be a fresh start in a new arena that [will be] Home Sweet Home,” Ballmer said.

 

Ballmer purchased the team in 2014, initially planning to remain downtown LA long-term, but within a year the Clippers organization was scouting locations spurred by a need to distinguish the team’s identity. In 2016 Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts and Ballmer met at the Marina-Del-Rey Ritz-Carlton to discuss a basketball arena whose construction is only now beginning after years of costly legal wrangling. The Clippers did not take
possession of the final parcels of land for the complex until summer this year after the City acquired the remaining land through eminent domain. 

 

Ballmer recounted the months of jousting back and forth and said with a chuckle— “Mayor Butts, boy," he sighed, "we’ve been through it.” 

 

Now, just three years remains to deliver “the singular best place for fans and players throughout the World,” Ballmer said. By the way, the roof of the Dome will be emblazoned with the brand Intuit, the Silicon Valley-based software
company best known for Turbo Tax, whose licensing agreement is 23 years for an undisclosed sum.

   

Ballmer shared a host of digital technology firsts for a sports arena, including a 4700-seat section behind the opposing team bench, dubbed “The Wall” reaching 51 rows high on a steep slope. It will be akin to Fenway Park’s left-field “Wall,” and Duke University’s student section. Ballmer said the team will have a contingency plan in case of delays but was confident the organization will move in on time to allow customers to secure and watch games from “courtside cabanas” modeled after field-level suites in the NFL.

Fans will be able to make purchases from “smart” concession stands that will charge customers automatically without long checkout lines or a wallet, “technology willing,” said Gillian Zucker, business operations manager.

Five basketball courts will adorn the complex with two for community use.

“I feel a little bit like a kid on Christmas,” Ballmer said. “You see that big present sitting there—you know it’s not time to open it yet, so what do you start doing?  Well, I want to rip the paper; you look inside. The only problem we
have right now is, it’s three years before we get a chance to open the damn thing!”

Got to love the man. He’s real! 

Ballmer reiterated that he will contribute 80 million dollars toward affordable housing in the city. But you can never please everyone. Prior to the ceremony, roughly a dozen protesters appeared on Prairie Avenue displaying signs criticizing the looming construction and its potential impact on local residents.

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