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Timberwolves Win Draft Lottery, Lakers Move to No. 2

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Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Miller poses for photos after the Timberwolves won the No. 1 pick in the NBA basketball draft lottery Tuesday, May 19, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Miller poses for photos after the Timberwolves won the No. 1 pick in the NBA basketball draft lottery Tuesday, May 19, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

BRIAN MAHONEY, AP Basketball Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — The Minnesota Timberwolves too often came to the NBA draft lottery and left in worse shape than they arrived.

And when they finally ended years of lottery futility, it came from the spot where nobody had been winning.

The Timberwolves won the lottery Tuesday night, the first time since 2004 the team with the worst record earned the No. 1 pick.

After years of bad luck, things finally worked out for the Wolves, who can perhaps choose between big men Karl-Anthony Towns of Kentucky and Jahlil Okafor of national champion Duke to put next to Rookie of the Year Andrew Wiggins.

“We’re in this for big stakes,” said Flip Saunders, the Wolves’ president and coach. “The big thing about this is getting good talent that can blend together. This is another big step.”

The Los Angeles Lakers moved from the fourth spot to second, keeping a pick they would have sent to Philadelphia if it fell outside the top five. The 76ers are third followed by the New York Knicks, who had the second-best odds of winning but instead fell to fourth 30 years after winning the first lottery and drafting Hall of Famer Patrick Ewing.

Not since Orlando won the right to pick Dwight Howard in 2004 had the NBA’s ultimate game of chance came out in favor of the team with the best odds. The Timberwolves had a 25 percent chance of landing the top pick in the draft to be held in New York on June 25, after finishing 16-66.

But their fans knew not to get their hopes up after the Wolves had fallen backward eight times previously, including both times they were in the pole position. A chance at Shaquille O’Neal turned into Christian Laettner in 1992, and they fell one spot in 2011 to miss out on Kyrie Irving.

“Today was very nerve wracking. I really didn’t anticipate that it would go this way,” owner Glen Taylor said. “People say you have a 25 percent to win but I always look at it that there’s a 75 percent chance that someone else is going to win. I just feel very honored that we have the chance to be in this position.”

Several hundred fans gathered to watch on the big screen at Target Center in Minneapolis and erupted when the Lakers card came out of the envelope for No. 2, meaning Minnesota had finally earned the top pick for the first time.

The Lakers were the other big winners even without moving all the way to the top. Their pick was only protected in the top five as a condition of their trade with Phoenix for Steve Nash in 2012. That was dealt this season to the 76ers, who could have ended up with two top-six picks if the Lakers had fallen backward two spots.

“I told our guys earlier today that I had a real good feeling about tonight,” Lakers coach Byron Scott said. “I hope not to be back here anytime soon, but I’m happy the way things turned out tonight.”

So was superstar Kobe Bryant, who ended his tweet after seeing the results with # lakerluck and # goodday.

The lottery sets the top three picks. The remainder of the 14 non-playoff teams follow in inverse order of their won-loss record.

Things went according to form until the Knicks slid. General manager Steve Mills hoped history could repeat by wearing Dave DeBusschere’s Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame ring, which DeBusschere was wearing as the Knicks’ GM when they won the 1985 lottery.

“Obviously, we would have liked to receive a higher pick but we went into this knowing that anywhere between one and five we were going to get a good pick,” Mills said.

The lottery began 30 years ago as a way to discourage teams from losing on purpose as a way to secure the top pick. Tanking may still exist — the 76ers have appeared to be angling for the draft with no regard for their record the last couple of seasons — but the Wolves appeared to lose honestly while battling numerous injuries with a young roster.

Their victory, with Taylor on stage, was only the fifth time the team that finished with the worst, or tied for the worst record, won the lottery.

Saunders, who got emotional talking about the recent death of his father, joked that the Wolves shouldn’t have waited so long to have Taylor represent them. He almost didn’t, as he sought to have his wife, Becky, do it but the league sent a memo saying it didn’t want family on stage.

“Glen, reluctantly I think, went up there,” Saunders said. “He’s good luck. Glen always has a tendency to be pretty lucky. He did what he had to do.”

The Cleveland Cavaliers had won the last two and three of the previous four lotteries since LeBron James left them for Miami in 2010. They drafted Wiggins last year but dealt him, along with 2013 No. 1 Anthony Bennett, to the Wolves in the deal for Kevin Love.

With James back home, the Cavaliers are in the Eastern Conference finals and Miami was in the lottery, and the Heat held in the No. 10 spot where they entered.

The Heat’s pick would have gone to Philadelphia if they fell out of the top 10.

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AP Basketball Writer Jon Krawczynski in Minneapolis contributed to this report.

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Follow Brian Mahoney on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Briancmahoney

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Bay Area

Planning Commission to Hold Public Hearing on Oakland A’s Real Estate Project

The Planning Commission will consider whether the Final EIR was completed in compliance with state law, represents the independent analysis of the city, and provides adequate information to decision-makers and the public on the potential adverse environmental effects of the proposed project, as well as ways in which those effects might be mitigated or avoided.

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By Post Staff

The Oakland Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on the Final Environmental Impact Report (EIR) on the Oakland A’s Stadium and Real Estate Development. It will take place on Wednesday, Jan. 19, at 3 p.m., according to a city media release.

“During the hearing, the Planning Commission will consider whether the Final EIR was completed in compliance with state law, represents the independent analysis of the city, and provides adequate information to decision-makers and the public on the potential adverse environmental effects of the proposed project, as well as ways in which those effects might be mitigated or avoided” according to the media release.

The 3,500-page report was released the week before Christmas 2021, leaving little time for community advocates to read and critique the report.

After the commission makes a recommendation, the Oakland City Council will consider certification of the Final EIR, likely in February. A “yes” vote by the council does not mean the project is approved but is a major first step toward approval.

Community advocates are asking the commission to postpone the meeting, so that the community has time to read and analyze the 3,500-page report in time to provide public comment. You can contact the commission at drarmstrong@oaklandca.gov or cpayne@oaklandca.gov.

The following are Planning Commission members:

• Clark Manus, Chair

• Jonathan Fearn, Vice-Chair

• Sahar Shiraz

• Tom Limon

• Vince Sugrue

• Jennifer Renk

• Leopold A Ray-Lynch

To read the Final EIR, go to:  https://bit.ly/32KZ3pT

 

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Black History

Oakland Natives’ We Ball Sports and HBCU’s League Pass to Deliver Negro League Apparel

With the mission of bridging HBCU baseball with its historic Negro Baseball League roots, We Ball Sports, headquartered in Atlanta, will design integrated apparel, and distribute via HBCU League Pass news, sports, shopping, and entertainment network based in Roanoke, Texas.

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Nehemiah Mitchell and Derrion Herring, co-founders of We Ball Sports.
Nehemiah Mitchell and Derrion Herring, co-founders of We Ball Sports.

By Carla Thomas

E-commerce company We Ball Sports, specializing in high-quality football gear and apparel, announced a new retail partnership with Urban Edge Networks, owner of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) League Pass.

With the mission of bridging HBCU baseball with its historic Negro Baseball League roots, We Ball Sports, headquartered in Atlanta, will design integrated apparel, and distribute via HBCU League Pass news, sports, shopping, and entertainment network based in Roanoke, Texas.

Just in time for baseball season, Nehemiah Mitchell, a co-founder of We Ball Sports, says the new partnership is the perfect blend of technology and fashion that invokes awareness and pride in African American culture.

“This is a significant partnership for us that has grown from the community we’ve built and the trust we’ve earned from athletes nationwide,” said Mitchell. “HBCU League Pass enables us to bring both of our communities together to further our reach and foster relationships between young athletes and the HBCU community.”

According to Mitchell, a native of Oakland, Weballsports.com, is the most visited, privately-owned e-commerce football equipment business globally, achieving 500,000 visitors by the end of July 2021. “This year we expect $1.5 million in sales by the end of December and 2022 should yield up to $5 million in sales,” said Mitchell.

“Nehemiah Mitchell, Brendan Royal, and Darreon Herring have their fingers on the pulse of Gen-Z and cultural trends,” said Hardy Pelt, chief financial officer at Urban Edge Networks which owns HBCU League Pass. “Their amazing growth over the past couple of years and genuine relationship with the youth sports community made them an easy selection and the perfect partner to support HBCU baseball.”

Urban Edge Networks, the owners of HBCU League Pass and entertainment network company in Las Vegas, vow to continue promoting the legacy of African Americans’ contributions to the sport of baseball through collaboration with the Negro League Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Missouri, and with various HBCU baseball teams.

We Ball Sports co-founders Royal, DaHerring, and Mitchell, all former D1 football players under 30, are thrilled to partner with HBCU League Pass.

They hope to accelerate the brand’s growth by branching out into other sports and providing additional apparel and equipment in their catalog. The company also plans to partner with NFL athletes while increasing their philanthropic activities in the community.

“We plan to generate even more interest and investment into HBCU sports from professional athletes and entertainers similar to NBA point guard Stephen Curry’s agreement to fund Howard University’s golf program for six years,” said Mitchell. “Also, Deon Sanders and Percy ‘Master P’ Miller, both retired professional athletes, are also encouraging nationally ranked high school players to attend HBCUs and join their athletic programs.”

For more information visit: http://www.weballsports.com and http://www.hbculeaguepass.com.

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Bay Area

IN MEMORIAM: John Madden, Oakland Raiders Super Bowl Winning Coach, Dies at 85

“We all know him as the Hall of Fame coach of the Oakland Raiders and broadcaster who worked for every major network, but more than anything, he was a devoted husband, father and grandfather,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said.

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John Madden.
John Madden.

By Bay City News

John Madden, who won a Super Bowl with the Oakland Raiders and went on to be a television commentator and namesake of a popular football video game series, has died at the age of 85, the National Football League announced on Dec. 28, 2021.

No other information about a cause of death was immediately released.

Madden, who grew up in Daly City, led the Oakland Raiders to a Super Bowl victory in 1977, then went on to highly successful careers in TV and video games, and was recently the subject of a documentary titled “All Madden.”

“We all know him as the Hall of Fame coach of the Oakland Raiders and broadcaster who worked for every major network, but more than anything, he was a devoted husband, father and grandfather,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said.

Madden’s death prompted widespread reactions on social media from those who knew or admired him.

The Raiders, who have since moved to Las Vegas, wrote “A brilliant coach. A loyal and trusted friend. A Raider.”

Gov. Gavin Newsom wrote, “Tonight we mourn John Madden — he redefined the role of a sports broadcaster — his voice as recognizable as anyone who ever did the job. He hoisted a Super Bowl trophy with CA’s own Oakland Raiders. Our thoughts are with his family as we mourn this incredible man.”

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf wrote, “I join all in mourning + honoring SuperBowl-winning coach John Madden. He was a great personality who truly loved #Oakland. When his grandson played at O’Dowd, John was as enthusiastic about the Dragons as any NFL team. We will miss him!”

San Mateo County Board of Supervisors president David Canepa wrote, “RIP John Madden. A 1954 graduate of Jefferson High School in Daly City and Super Bowl winning coach for the Oakland Raiders. He did so much for Daly City!”

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