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National Sports Briefs

Associated Press
AKRON ó A T-shirt design tying Akron to the team that welcomed hometown hero LeBron James after he left the is creating a buzz after the basketball star donned one in photos he posted using his Twitter account.
The design created by two University of Akron students says ëAKRONí in the same font used on Miami Heat jerseys and features a flame shooting out of the ëN.,í the Akron Beacon Journal reported (http://bit.ly/pHieq8).
Co-creator Willie Harper told the newspaper he had asked a friend to give James the shirt.
Jamesí Aug. 1 photo tweets received thousands of hits and led to a swirl of Internet rumors that the shirt was a Nike product, but Harper said thatís not the case.
ěIím the culprit,î he told the Beacon Journal for a story this week on its web site.
James tweeted a photo in which he is wearing the shirt with two fans.
Harper said he and design partner Thomas McFarland didnít intend to offend anyone by linking the city to the Heat, a team many Cleveland fans love to hate ever since James chose them over the Cavaliers last summer.
ěA lot of people love LeBron still. It could be like a support shirt,î said Harper, of Copley Township.
KOBE CONFRONTATION
SAN DIEGO ó A police spokesman says detectives want to interview Kobe Bryant after a man claimed he was injured by the Los Angeles Lakers star during a confrontation at a church.
Police say Bryant apparently thought the man was taking his picture with a cellphone at a Carmel Valley church on Sunday. Bryant reportedly took the phone from the man but saw no pictures on it, then left the church. According to broadcast reports, the man, whose identity hasn’t been released, went to a hospital for treatment of a wrist injury.
CLEMENS
WASHINGTON ó Security guards at the federal courthouse in Washington are under investigation for accepting baseballs autographed by star pitcher Roger Clemens after his criminal trial.
The guards are not allowed to accept gifts from a criminal defendant. But the U.S. Marshals Service said in a statement, first reported Tuesday by The Washington Post, that it appears up to six baseballs were given to a guard who distributed them to four or five colleagues.
TENNIS
MASON, Ohio ó Serena Williams took the first step toward winning a third consecutive tournament when she beat Lucie Hradecka of the Czech Republic 6-3, 7-6 (5) in the first round of the Western & Southern Open.
Williams, who last won three straight tournaments at the beginning of the 2008 season, has improved her world ranking from No. 175 to No. 31 in her comeback from injury and illness. She has won 12 straight matches, tying Kim Clijsters and Victoria Azarenka for the longest such streak on the WTA Tour this year.
Defending men’s champion Roger Federer reached the third round with a 6-3, 7-5 win over Argentina’s Juan Martin Del Potro, who had won the last two matches between the two, including the 2009 U.S. Open final.

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