National briefs:Iverson to retire
PHILADELPHIA ó With no apparent interest from NBA teams, Allen Iverson is set to retire, according to an online report.
Commentator Stephen A. Smith published a statement on his Web site Wednesday attributed to Iverson. It said Iverson plans to retire but also that “I feel strongly that I can still compete at the highest level.”
The statement also said Iverson has tremendous love for the game and the desire to play, adding there is “a whole lot left in my tank.”
“His legacy would be huge,” Cleveland Cavaliers All-Star LeBron James said. “He’s one of the best when you talk about guys 6-foot and under in the game of basketball. He played injured and he played hard every single night. I don’t think it should end this way, but if it does, he’s left a lot of great things behind.”
The 10-time All-Star played three games this season with Memphis before taking a leave of absence to attend to personal matters. He was waived after the two sides agreed to part ways.
It was the second straight ugly ending for Iverson, who was unhappy last season playing for the Pistons. He was upset that Detroit coach Michael Curry and Memphis’ Lionel Hollins used the former MVP as a reserve.
The New York Knicks considered signing Iverson last week after he cleared waivers, before deciding he would take too much playing time away from younger players they are trying to develop.
The Knicks seemed to be the only team who would consider bringing in Iverson, so there was no guarantee he’d play in the NBA this season, anyway. Still, the announcement Wednesday came as a surprise to George Karl, who coached Iverson in Denver.
“I think he still has something left to give some team out there. If that’s his decision, he’ll go down in history, I think, as the greatest little guard ever to play the game of basketball,” Karl said.
– SACRAMENTO, Calif. ó The Sacramento Kings said they were informed by the NBA that a former employee gambled while on their staff.
Jack Mai, the team’s former assistant director of scouting, was found to have gambled while with the Kings, who fired him in January.
CHARLOTTE ó Jeremy Mayfield’s former attorneys filed a civil suit Wednesday against the suspended NASCAR driver seeking nearly $400,000 in unpaid fees.
Meanwhile, Mayfield’s new attorney filed a motion in U.S. District Court that claims NASCAR chairman Brian France misrepresented his primary residence to have Mayfield’s lawsuit moved to federal court.
The two filings marked a busy day of legal wrangling in the case of Mayfield, who was suspended May 9 for failing a random drug test. NASCAR said he tested positive for methamphetamines, while Mayfield has denied using the illegal drug.
Mayfield is currently suing over his suspension.
CHICAGO ó Andruw Jones agreed Wednesday to a $500,000, one-year contract with the Chicago White Sox.
Jones hit .214 with 17 homers and 43 RBIs in 82 games with Texas this year while making 53 starts as the designated hitter, 12 in left field, five in right field and four at first base.
A five-time All-Star who has slumped in recent years, Jones was released by the Los Angeles Dodgers in January and signed with the Rangers the following month.
– NEW YORK ó Bob Sheppard says he has no plans to return to his longtime job as the public address announcer at Yankee Stadium. Sheppard, who is in his late 90s, doubts very much that he’ll be able to resume his duties for even one New York Yankees game next season. Sheppard hasn’t worked a game since late in the 2007 season due to illness.
– ST. LOUIS ó Mark McGwire was hired to be the St. Louis Cardinals’ hitting coach a month ago, and the former home run king’s initial media session has yet to be scheduled.
McGwire’s news conference has been highly anticipated. He has failed to gain election to the Hall of Fame in his first three chances despite hitting a then-record 70 home runs in 1998 and retiring with 583 homers in 2001. He famously refused to answer questions about steroids use during a March 2005 congressional hearing, saying he wasn’t there to talk about the past.
NFLNEW YORK ó The Who will perform at halftime of the Super Bowl this season.
The NFL announced that the longtime rock band known for classic hits such as “Pinball Wizard” and “Baba O’Riley” will play Feb. 7 at Dolphin Stadium in Miami.
The Who gained fame in the mid-1960s and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990.
LOS ANGELES ó UCLA’s bruin mascot has gotten a messy paint job ó in the colors of cross-town rival USC.
UCLA spokesman Phil Hampton says the statue in Bruin Square was splashed with red and gold paint.