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Isaiah Thomas’s sister killed in car accident
Adam Himmelsbach Apr-16-2017 377 0


Celtics point guard Isaiah Thomas’s younger sister, Chyna Thomas, was killed in a car accident in Washington state early Saturday morning, a source close to the family confirmed.

According to Washington State Patrol spokesman Nick King, the one-car crash involving Chyna Thomas’s 1998 Toyota Camry occurred at about 5 a.m. on Interstate 5 in Federal Way, Wash., which is about 15 miles northeast of Thomas’s hometown of Tacoma.

King said that two witnesses observed the car slowly veer onto a patch of grass on the left shoulder of the road before striking a cement structure. Chyna Thomas, 22, died at the scene of the accident, King said.

“Still doesn’t seem real,” said the source close to the Thomas family. “Absolutely devastating.”

Chyna Thomas is the daughter of Thomas’s father, James, and stepmother, Lanita.

Isaiah Thomas took part in the Celtics’ practice on Saturday afternoon in advance of Game 1 of their opening-round playoff series against the Bulls, and was not aware of the accident at the time. As of Saturday night, Thomas was planning to stay in Boston for the game on Sunday, the source close to the family said.

“We are terribly saddened by the tragic loss of Chyna Thomas,” the Celtics said in a statement. “The thoughts and prayers of the entire Celtics organization are with Isaiah and his family.”

This season Thomas was named an NBA All-Star for the second consecutive year. He averaged 28.9 points and 5.8 assists per game and led the Celtics to the top seed in the Eastern Conference.

After Friday’s practice, he spoke excitedly about getting a fresh chance on the NBA’s biggest stage.

“I’m ready for it,” he said.

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AP Jul-17-2017 150 0
A mixed martial arts fighter has died after losing a match in Kentucky.

Gary Thomas of Hardrock MMA promotions, which put on the event, told The Courier-Journal that 37-year-old Donshay White of Radcliff, Kentucky, died Saturday after competing in a heavyweight match in Louisville against challenger Ricky Muse.

Thomas said White collapsed in the locker room after the fight and was taken to a hospital.

Thomas said officials called the match in Muse's favor two minutes into the second round.

Media report the Kentucky Boxing and Wrestling Commission said in a statement that a licensed physician and first responders treated White immediately following the fight. The commission says it is reviewing details of the incident.

Thomas said White had one previous fight on his record, which he won by knockout.
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Kurt Badenhausen Jul-12-2017 73 0
Blaze Pizza was founded five years ago with two pizza places in Southern California (Irvine and Pasadena). The concept: fast, affordable, high-quality pizza that opened up the pizza category to the lunch crowd long after burgers, salads and burritos became lunchtime staples. The idea of build-your-own pizza ready in three minutes clicked with pizza-loving Americans and franchises popped up the following year.

Blaze opens its 200th restaurant today in Mentor, Ohio. Going from two to 200 franchises in four years is the fastest start in the history of the U.S. food service business, the industry consultancy Technomic confirms.

One of the world’s most famous and marketable athletes has been along for the ride from almost Day 1. Today, LeBron James is all-in on Blaze as an investor, franchisee and paid endorser of the company. “LeBron helps us punch in terms of our brand awareness well above our weight,” says Blaze Pizza CEO Jim Mizes. Witness a recent Harris Poll where Blaze finished second among the best pizza chain brands, behind Papa John’s and ahead of Pizza Hut, which has more than 7,000 locations in the U.S.

James often uses social media to promote Blaze to his 91 million followers across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. A video of James working the counter of a Blaze Pizza as team member “Ron” last year went viral with more than two million views on YouTube.

James invested in Blaze Pizza in 2012 shortly after the first restaurants were opened by Rick and Elise Wetzel. James' financial advisor Paul Wachter of Main Street Advisors connected James with Blaze at a time when the company was looking to expand.

James later was interested in being a franchisee in South Florida in 2013 when he played for the Miami Heat. But one of Blaze’s tenants is to only partner with established franchisees who operate other brands as well. Blaze officials connected James with Larry Levy of Levy Family Partners who was also interested in the Florida market. Levy, James and Maverick Carter, James' business manager, eventually secured rights to Blaze franchises in the South Florida and Chicago markets. They have 17 franchises now (12 in Chicago and five in South Florida) with plans for more.

“Blaze has seen such resounding growth partially as a function of the strategic partnerships they have been able to form during their relatively short time on the chain restaurant scene,” says Kevin Schimpf, research analyst at restaurant consulting firm Technomic. “Whether that’s working with Lebron James or attracting leading franchisees, they have been able to ride these partnerships into massive growth.”

The growth has been astounding. Systemwide sales were $6 million in 2013 and hit $185 million last year. Mizes is targeting $285 million this year and $1.1 billion by 2022.

James doubled-down on Blaze in 2015 when he walked away from previous sponsor McDonald’s and $15 million in guaranteed money over four years as part of an endorsement contract.

James and Carter spoke recently about the split from McDonald’s in an episode of "Kneading Dough," on Uninterrupted, the digital media company founded by James and Carter. Carter serves as host of the series, which explores the financial issues pro athletes face as told by the athletes themselves.

Carter says he approached James with the idea of putting his marketing might behind Blaze instead of McDonald's because it fit his lifestyle better and potentially was a better business opportunity. More risk, but more reward. Regarding Blaze, James said, "We get to build this. If it doesn't become successful, I can only blame myself."

Mizes has big plans for Blaze. “We want to build the next enduring brand” he says. The company plans to build 100-150 restaurants a year from 2018 and onwards. International expansion is on the horizon with an announcement expected over the next couple of weeks (Blaze is currently in 32 states and Canada).

“We want to set up ourselves up so we can go public with a billion-dollar valuation,” says Mizes with a target date of the next three to five years. It would be a nice score for four-time NBA MVP James, who has talked about becoming a billionaire. He owns an estimated 10% of the company.

James ranked second in Forbes' recent look at the world's highest-paid athletes with $86.2 million between June 2016 and June 2017. In addition to his $31.2 million salary, James banked $55 million off the court from endorsements with Nike, Coca-Cola, Intel, Verizon, Kia Motors and Beats, as well as his business interests in Blaze, Uninterrupted and his production company, SpringHill Entertainment.
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AP Jul-08-2017 113 0
Tennis star Venus Williams legally entered an intersection but was cut off by another car, setting off a chain of events that seconds later resulted in a fatal crash with a third car, police say video released Friday shows.

The video, taken by a security camera, shows Williams heading north as she stops her 2010 Toyota Sequoia SUV at a stoplight behind a white car as she exits her Palm Beach Gardens neighborhood shortly after 1 p.m. June 9.

When the light turns green, the white car turns left onto a six-lane, heavily traveled boulevard, but Williams heads straight. A dark colored sedan turns left in front of her, causing her to stop.

She then continues straight into the far, westbound lanes, where her SUV is struck in the passenger's side by a 2016 Hyundai sedan driven by Linda Barson.

Palm Beach Gardens police said in a statement Friday that Barson's light had turned green just before Williams moved in front of her. Barson's 78-year-old husband, Jerome Barson, died June 22 from injuries suffered in the crash.

Williams, who was not hurt, has not been cited or charged. Police spokesman Maj. Paul Rogers said Friday the video has caused investigators to rescind their original conclusion that Williams was at fault and that no blame has yet been determined.

Jerome Barson's estate has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Williams seeking unspecified damages. Linda Barson, 68, suffered numerous fractures to her arm.

Williams, 37, is now in England competing at Wimbledon, a tournament she has won five times. The 10th-seeded Williams, who has won her first three matches, broke down in tears Monday when asked at a press conference about the crash.

Michael Steinger, the attorney for the Barson family, said the video shows Williams caused the crash by "violating the Barsons' right of way. "

"There is nothing that disputes Ms. Williams' was in the intersection on a red light, and the witnesses clearly confirm the Barsons had a green light and lawfully entered the intersection," Steinger said in a statement.

Williams' attorney, Malcolm Cunningham, disagreed, saying in a statement that Linda Barson was at fault.

Williams "had the right to proceed through the intersection and other vehicles including those with a red light changing to green, were obligated to yield the right-of-way," Cunningham said, adding, "she remains deeply saddened by the loss suffered by the Barson family and continues to keep them in her thoughts and prayers."

Williams has career on-court earnings of more than $34 million and her own clothing line, EleVen. According to Forbes Magazine, she also has endorsement deals with Ralph Lauren, Kraft foods, Tide detergent and Wilson sporting goods.

Her younger sister, Serena Williams, the world's fourth-ranked women's player, is sitting out Wimbledon as she is pregnant with her first child.
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Jul-05-2017 118 0
Cowboys linebacker Damien Wilson was arrested July 4 at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Tx., and charged with two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, according to a Frisco Police Department press release.

Wilson, 24, was at the Frisco Freedom Fest, an Independence Day celebration in the north Dallas suburb which featured various events, including an FC Dallas soccer match played at the stadium.

“On July 4th, 2017, the Frisco Police Department arrested Damien Wilson for two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. He was released from the Frisco Detention Center on a $10,000 bond for each count,” the Frisco PD release said. “The case is still under investigation and no further information will be released at this time.”

The Cowboys declined comment as did Wilson’s agent, Jason Chayut.

“We are looking into the matter to understand the facts,” said an NFL spokesman.

Wilson could face possible discipline if NFL commissioner Roger Goodell determines Wilson violated the league’s personal conduct policy. Earlier this year, Wilson’s Dallas teammate, cornerback Nolan Carroll, was charged with DWI in May. Carroll could be suspended two games for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy.

The 6-1, 243-pound Wilson had 27 tackles last season and is entering his third season in the league.
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MEERA JAGANNATHAN Jun-29-2017 84 0
Tennis pro Venus Williams is responsible for a Florida car crash that landed an elderly man in the hospital before his eventual death, according to a report.

Jerome Barson, 78, endured head trauma in the June 9 collision and died two weeks later in an intensive care unit Sunday, TMZ reported Thursday.

Barson’s wife reportedly told police she T-boned Williams’ SUV traveling westbound in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., after the athlete abruptly entered an intersection northbound.
“(Williams) is at fault for violating the right of way of (the other driver),” the police report allegedly said.

The tennis great blamed the crash on heavy traffic that left her vehicle jutting out into the intersection, according to the report. Cops did not believe she'd been distracted by a device or under drug or alcohol influence.

Barson’s wife was reportedly also hospitalized for injuries, including broken bones.
A rep for Williams did not immediately return the Daily News’ request for comment.
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John Keim Jun-28-2017 300 0
Former Washington Redskins running back Clinton Portis contemplated killing one of his former financial managers after losing millions of dollars in various investments, helping to wipe out part of his NFL fortune.

In a story published by Sports Illustrated, Portis recounted a night four years ago in which he sat in a car outside a building, holding a gun and awaiting one of the managers he felt had ruined him financially. Portis had made $43.1 million in his nine-year NFL career, but most of it had either been spent or lost through investments or, as one lawsuit asserted, bank withdrawals without his consent.

An anonymous friend, a television producer who had been trained as a family therapist, talked him out of committing murder. But Portis said he went there, sitting in his car late at night outside a building in Washington, D.C., with one purpose.

"It wasn't no beat up," Portis told Sports Illustrated. "It was kill."

The story does not specify whom Portis was awaiting that night in 2013, saying he was looking for one of several managers who had handled his funds.

But Portis told the publication that if he had seen the person before settling down: "We'd probably be doing this interview from prison."

Portis had filed multiple lawsuits against financial adviser Jeff Rubin and his associates from 2011 to 2013, focused in part on a $1 million investment in a southern Alabama casino. Also, according to Sports Illustrated, the suit contends that Rubin's company opened an account for Portis at BankAtlantic with a forged signature. That led to withdrawals of more than $3.1 million without Portis knowing, according to the suit. He lost more money in a Ponzi scheme by Success Trade Securities that Portis says he was talked into by another manager, Jinesh Brahmbhatt.

The former managers lost their privileges to work in the financial sector but didn't face prosecution, which made Portis furious.

"No jail time, no nothing," Portis told Sports Illustrated. "Living happily ever after."

Portis' financial plight became public in 2015 when he filed for bankruptcy. At the time, his debts included $500,000 owed to his mom -- he told Sports Illustrated that an adviser had taken out a loan against the home without his consent. Portis sold homes in Virginia and Florida at a loss. He admitted to Sports Illustrated that he liked to spend quite a bit on houses, cars and women.

"Portis was on a different level," Santana Moss, who played with Portis in Washington, told Sports Illustrated about his spending habits. "He didn't think about tomorrow."

Portis last played in 2010, retiring as the Redskins' second all-time rusher behind Hall of Famer John Riggins. Portis rushed for 9,923 yards during his career. He is eligible for up to $1.5 million of the NFL's $1 billion concussion settlement.

But in order to receive that money, Portis, who missed the final eight games of 2008 with a concussion, must be tested for early signs of dementia. Portis said he doesn't want to do that because, "I'm really scared of the results."

Portis now lives in a two-bedroom apartment in Virginia and, among other jobs, helps with Redskins television broadcasts in the preseason. He told the magazine he has found a peace with his life.

"Most people would have offed themselves if they had to deal with what I had to deal with," he said. "Life is so much clearer after coming out of that storm."
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Chris Murray Jun-22-2017 73 0
Ryan Jones, a former linebacker who signed contracts with two NFL teams, was shot and killed Sunday evening, his former high school coach and the Washoe County (Nev.) Medical Examiner's Office confirmed Tuesday. He was 26.

About 8:20 p.m. Sunday, officers were called to the 200 block of Talus Way, north of Rancho San Rafael Park, where they found three men who'd been shot. One of the men – later identified as Jones – died at the scene.

The other victims were transported to a local hospital with non-life threatening conditions.

Reno Police Department spokesman Officer Tim Broadway said he could not comment on the circumstances the led up to the shooting as of Tuesday afternoon.

"We can't go into details yet because it's an ongoing investigation," he said. Broadway said "several people" were still being interviewed.

Rollins Stallworth, Jones' football coach at Hug High in Reno, said he started receiving a deluge of texts Monday morning about his former player. Stallworth said Jones touched a lot of people during his life.

“We’re all mourning this horrible tragedy and hopefully we can get past this and stay very positive on what Ryan was able to accomplish and pursue in his short lifespan,” Stallworth said.

Jones played for Montana Tech from 2011-13. Jones jumped onto NFL scouting radars with a strong pro day. He wasn't selected in the 2014 NFL draft but signed a free-agent deal with the Baltimore Ravens.

Jones was the first Montana Tech player to sign an NFL contract.

“He was the perfect example and perfect role model for kids who thought it was Division I or bust," Stallworth said. "He showed that if you give it your all and play really hard, there’s a college and a level for you. His ego wasn’t too big that he wouldn’t go to junior college and his ego wasn’t too big that he wouldn’t go to Montana Tech at that level and excel, and he still got an opportunity with two NFL teams."

Jones was waived by the Ravens a month after signing and given an injury settlement. In 2015, Jones was signed by the New York Giants before being waived again with an injury settlement two months later.

After his football career ended, Jones spent time training in mixed martial arts at a Reno gym. His last fight was May 20 when he won a King of the Cage match at the Silver Legacy Casino Resort.

“He was really positive, had a lot of friends, made a lot of friends quickly," Stallworth said. "But he wasn’t afraid of hard work. That’s what he always had to do. He always was told that he wasn’t good enough to do this or that, he wasn’t big enough or wasn’t strong enough.

"Here’s a guy who went through high school with people telling him that, through junior college and they told him that, went to NAIA and they told him that, went to the pros and they told him that and ultimately he went into MMA and they told him that.”

On Monday, Jones’ popular hashtag, #IBVibiN, began circulating social media with friends paying homage to Jones. The hashtag was shorthand for "I Be Vibing," meaning to always have a positive attitude and do all you can to be great.

Siva Ali, 35, said he knew Jones for more than five years. What first started as a working relationship – Ali was Jones's tattoo artist – developed into a friendship.

"Everything that happened to him just doesn't match everything he was about," Ali said. "He was the good guy. When Ryan would come into the room, you would notice him. He's so tall and so big and had a good smile. ... He was the big fish."

Ali said Jones was always talking about his future and his family, two subjects Ali said Jones was passionate about.

"He did well for himself," Ali said. "He had his life together. He's just gone too soon."

Stallworth said he will remember Jones as a kind, respectful, humble, hard-working kid who pursued his dreams.

“He didn’t have any fears and ultimately that lack of fear got him into the situation he got into the other night," Stallworth said. "Ryan accepted challenges. He never backed down from a challenge. He was married to his career. The last three or four years that I’ve seen at the barber shop or in the community, he was busting his butt working out with Duke Williams and Courtney Gardner (both Hug alums who also signed NFL contracts) trying to make a pro career or he was doing his MMA workouts. He was driven to become a success.”

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John Annese Jun-12-2017 118 0
Former NBA player Sebastian Telfair was busted early Sunday on gun charges after police found him with four loaded guns and a bulletproof vest in Brooklyn, officers said.

Cops arrested Telfair, 32, and a second man, Jami Thomas, 18, after noticing their 2017 Ford F-150 parked on a median on Atlantic Ave. near Classon St. in Prospect Heights, at about 2:50 a.m., officials said.

The pickup tried to drive off without headlights, but cops pulled it over, then smelled pot and saw a lit blunt on the dashboard, NYPD Sgt. Brendan Ryan said. Police found three handguns, a semi-automatic rifle, the vest and ammo, along with two bags of marijuana, Ryan said.

Telfair, a Brooklyn native and the cousin of former Knick Stephon Marbury, went straight from Brooklyn's Lincoln High School to the NBA in 2004 when he was drafted by the Portland Trail Blazers.

He’s played for several NBA teams, and in December 2014 signed with the Xinijang Flying Tigers in China, after he was released by the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Telfair and a buddy were busted on gun charges in 2007, after police in Yonkers found a loaded handgun in his car. The next year, he pleaded guilty to criminal possession of a weapon and got three years' probation.
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A.J. Perez Jun-08-2017 155 0
The body of former NFL player James Hardy III was found in an Indiana river on Wednesday, USA TODAY Sports confirmed.

Hardy’s cause of death has not been determined, according to Allen County Coroner’s Office investigator Rebecca Stuttle. A city employee found his body in the Maumee River Wednesday afternoon.

“Everything is still under investigation,” Stuttle said.

Hardy, 31, was a second-round pick (No. 41 overall) by the Buffalo Bills in the 2008 NFL draft. He had 10 catches for 96 yards and two touchdowns in two seasons. He also spent time with the Baltimore Ravens, though he never appeared in a regular-season game for the team, before playing in the Arena Football League.

"We are saddened to learn of the passing of James Hardy today," the Bills wrote in a statement Thursday. "We send our condolences to the Hardy family as they deal with this tragic loss."

A standout at Indiana who first joined the school to play basketball, Hardy still holds the Hoosiers' records for career receptions, yards and touchdown catches.

In May 2014, Hardy was arrested for after attacking three police officers, but a judge ruled he was not mentally competent to stand trial.
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