NBA roundup: Denver, WWE in smackdown over arena conflict
Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers are scheduled to be at the Pepsi Center in Denver next Monday.
Problem is, so are John Cena and a bunch of wrestlers ó and they called it first.
World Wrestling Entertainment said it is booked at the arena for an episode of Monday Night Raw the same night the Nuggets are slated to host the Lakers in Game 4 of the Western Conference finals.
WWE chairman Vince McMahon told The Associated Press he doesn’t believe there was “any malice, just ineptness,” on the part of Kroenke Sports, which owns the team and the building, but McMahon can’t tolerate the company “just simply throwing us out on our ear.”
Without a quick resolution, McMahon plans to send his trucks to Denver.
“That’s what we intend to do,” he said. “We’re going to show up.”
WWE spokesman Robert Zimmerman said the organization secured the Pepsi Center last Aug. 15 and has already sold more than 10,000 tickets for the event. He says the organization expects a sellout, with tickets ranging from $20 to $70.
McMahon blamed Kroenke for not believing his team was good enough to still be playing in mid-May.
“The fans in Denver had a lot more faith in making the playoffs than the owner,” he said in a phone interview from Louisville, where Raw was taking place later Monday.
The Nuggets referred comment to the NBA, which handles scheduling during the playoffs. Kroenke Sports also had no comment.
The league is leaving it up to the team and the WWE to figure things out.
“The Nuggets and the WWE understand that the date of Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals cannot be changed,” NBA senior vice president Mike Bass said. “We are confident that the Pepsi Center and the WWE will resolve their scheduling conflict.”
WASHINGTON ó Jerry West knew there was something amiss with his body during his playing days with the Los Angeles Lakers.
He would have to breathe into a paper bag during games to keep from hyperventilating. He couldn’t sleep. His heart sometimes felt out of rhythm.
Years later, he would learn that he was suffering from atrial filbrillation, a heart rhythm disturbance.
“An athlete is well aware with what’s going on in his body. I knew there was something wrong,” the Hall of Fame guard told The Associated Press. “I wonder if they tested me now, would they have said I couldn’t have played?”
For the first time Monday, West discussed in detail his five-decade battle with the condition that led him to retire from the Lakers’ front office nine years ago. It’s a disease that disproportionally affects the elderly, but the man whose silhouette graces the NBA logo said he has been dealing with it since his 20s.
“I pretty much have kept it hidden over the years,” West said.
West, who turns 71 this month, told his story at the launch of AF Stat, a national initiative aimed at increasing awareness of the little-understood condition that affects an estimated 21/2 million Americans.
Former NBA forward Brian Grant revealed he has Parkinson’s disease and is starting a Web site ó http://www.briangrant.org/ ó devoted to his fight with the neurological disorder.The 37-year-old Grant told ESPN.com that he was diagnosed in January with “young onset Parkinson’s” and began having tremors in his left hand last summer. He consulted two other well-known Parkinson’s suffers, Michael J. Fox and Muhammad Ali, and quickly implemented several lifestyle changes.
LOS ANGELES ó Lakers guard Derek Fisher has won an extended restraining order against a woman he says stalked and harassed him.
A Los Angeles judge granted a three-year extension of an order issued last month against Symone Fisher. The 40-year-old woman is barred from contact with Fisher or his family until May 2012.
In court papers, Derek Fisher claimed the woman ó who legally changed her last name to Fisher ó began harassing him in 2001 by sending letters and e-mails suggesting they were married. More recently, he says she showed up near his home.
NowitzkiBEAUMONT, Texas ó A woman arrested earlier this month at Dallas Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki’s house cleared up one mystery about herself during a court appearance Monday: her name.
Authorities have at least eight aliases for Crista Ann Taylor, 37, with the most recent one being Crystal Taylor. She was indicted under that name in September 2006 on a theft of services charge for failing to pay a Beaumont dentist for dental work ranging from $1,500 to $20,000.
It also was the name authorities arrested her under on May 6 at Nowitzki’s Dallas home.
What still remains a mystery is Taylor’s relationship with Nowitzki. The former NBA MVP has repeatedly declined to discuss his relationship with her. Court records list Taylor’s address in Dallas as Nowitzki’s nearly $6 million home.76ERS
PHILADELPHIA ó The 76ers will interview Boston Celtics assistant coach Tom Thibodeau for their vacant head coaching position.
Thibodeau just completed his second season as an assistant to Boston coach Doc Rivers. Thibodeau was an assistant coach for the Sixers in 1993-94.
MINNEAPOLIS ó Portland assistant general manager Tom Penn pulled his name out of the running for the Timberwolves’ top front office position.