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Jazz guard fined $35,000 for slapping phone out of fan's hand

Making the wrong call proved costly for Utah Jazz guard Rodney Hood.

>> Read more trending news

Hood was fined $35,000 by the NBA on Friday when he knocked a cell phone out of a fan’s hand after being ejected from Wednesday’s game against the Washington Wizards, ESPN reported.

The 6-foot-8 reserve guard was ejected after picking up his second technical foul during Utah’s 107-104 victory. As he left the court, a fan sitting in a seat at Capitol One Arena in Washington appeared to be taking a photo or video of Hood’s exit. As Hood walked past the fan, he slapped the cell phone out of the man’s hand, ESPN reported.

“I apologized to the man. It wasn't intentional,” Hood said Friday. “I regret it. You just learn from it and move on from it.”

Hood is the fourth player to be fined for an incident with a fan. Previously, DeMarcus Cousins, Kyrie Irving and Austin Rivers each were fined $25,000, ESPN reported.

Watch: Shaq takes handoff from Tebow, bowls over Barkley

Charles Barkley has tangled with Shaquille O’Neal during his pro basketball career, but the former NBA star wanted nothing to do with Shaq in a football situation.

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During a segment of “NBA on TNT,” 2007 Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow dropped into the studio and ran a few plays with Barkley and O’Neal. When the former quarterback handed off to O’Neal, Shaq made a beeline for Barkley and knocked him off balance.

When O’Neal challenged Barkley to tackle him, but Barkley demurred, saying he hurt his shoulder. 

When Barkley switched to offense, he also avoided O’Neal, who was intent on delivering a hard hit.

Watch their skirmishes:

Phoenix Suns use obscure rule to defeat Memphis Grizzlies

Phoenix Suns interim coach Jay Triano took advantage of an obscure rule in the final seconds of Tuesday night’s game to defeat the Memphis Grizzlies 99-97.

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The name of the play is called “Rim,” azcentral reported. It is designed for the inbounds passer to throw the ball into the basket, but have the Suns’ center tip the ball through the net. What makes the play effective is that there is no goaltending on an inbounds pass in the NBA.

That’s what happened Tuesday night. 

With 0.6 seconds left in regulation, Dragan Bender lobbed an inbounds pass toward the basket, and center Tyson Chandler slammed the ball through to give the Suns the lead with 0.4 seconds left.

“It’s a rule that a lot of people don’t know,” Triano said.

Triano said he installed the play shortly after he became the Suns’ interim coach.“I was trying to create a play where you can score with 0.3 seconds or something,” he said.

“It was kind of crazy,” Bender said.

After the play, the officials went to the scorer’s table to review it, but Triano said he wasn’t worried, azcentral reported.

“I told the one official, ‘You know that you can’t goaltend that,’” said Triano, who won his 100th game as an NBA coach. “He was like, ‘I know, I know.’ I think they were probably looking to see if Tyson touched the ball because it’s a violation if it goes straight in and he doesn’t get a piece of it.”

Memphis still had 0.4 seconds left but couldn’t get a shot off before the buzzer. “You know, once you look at the play you realize it’s the right play to do,” Bender told azcentral. “Like I said, ‘0.6 on the clock it’s really hard to get a good shot off.’ That was the only option.”

“I’ve tried to keep it a secret,” Triano said. “It’s not a secret anymore.”

“I thought (Triano) was crazy when he first told us,” Devin Booker told azcentral. “I’m thinking if the ball is going in the hoop you can’t touch it.

“That’s coaching right there.”

Warriors star Stephen Curry confirms interest in buying piece of Panthers

Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry, who was raised in Charlotte, confirmed that he is serious about buying part of the Carolina Panthers.

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Owner Jerry Richardson announced last week that he is selling the Panthers at the end of the season amid a sexual misconduct investigation.

Curry was one of several people to quickly voice their interest last weekend.

He told an ESPN reporter that it’s a unique opportunity to impact his hometown.

"I'm serious, I'm really serious about that. … Just an unprecedented unique situation, and knowing kind of what storylines are around the NFL right now, maybe having a hand in that,” Curry said. “So we'll see how that plays out and take whoever along ride with me, whoever wants to come watch Cam (Newton) and everybody, hopefully win Super Bowls.”

Curry said he’s setting up meetings with potential investors.

Charlotte Hornets co-owner Felix Sabates said that a local group of business people are also trying to buy the team.

Richardson announced his intent to sell the team hours after Sports Illustrated published a report with allegations of sexual misconduct and a racist remark.

The article claimed at least four former employees received confidential settlements.

Ex-wife of NBA star Lorenzen Wright charged in connection to his murder

The ex-wife of former NBA player Lorenzen Wright was arrested in California and charged with first-degree murder Friday night.

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Sherra Wright-Robinson was arrested in her Riverside, California, home Friday. Jail records show she was booked into the Robert Presley Detention Center in Riverside at 9:28 p.m. PT. No charges are listed.

Wright-Robinson was indicted and arrested for conspiracy, criminal attempted first degree & first degree urder in the death of Wright, police said.

Deborah Marion, Wright's mother, said authorities told her Wright-Robinson would be charged with first-degree murder, the same charge that was filed against Billy Ray Turner, who was arrested on Dec. 5.

Wright starred at the University of Memphis and was drafted by the Los Angeles Clippers as the seventh overall pick in the 1996 NBA Draft. He played 13 seasons in the NBA with the Clippers, Memphis Grizzlies, Atlanta Hawks, Sacramento Kings and Cleveland Cavaliers before retiring in 2009.

The former NBA star was last seen alive on July 18, 2010 when he left Wright-Robinson’s home. The next day, police received a phone call from Wright's cell phone, but it was interrupted by gunfire, according to Shelby County District Attorney's Office.

Wright's body was later discovered on July 28, 2010, in a field near Hacks Cross and Winchester. The then 34-year-old was shot multiple times. 

Investigators found the alleged murder weapon in a lake near Walnut, Mississippi, on Nov. 9, 2017.

Twin NBA stars pay off customers' layaway orders at Philadelphia Walmart

NBA stars Marcus and Markieff Morris generated some Christmas cheer among Walmart layaway shoppers waiting in line at a Northeast Philadelphia Walmart on Monday, footing the bill for $6,000 in presents, WPVI reported.

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The twin brothers grew up in North Philadelphia. Marcus Morris plays for the Boston Celtics, while his brother plays for the Washington Wizards.

Their basketball schedules prevented the brothers from visiting the store in person, but the news was delivered by their mother, Thomasine Morris, WPVI reported. It was the final day to pay for layaway items, and customers were moved by the gesture.

“God bless them. God bless them!” customer Roberta Williams, of Germantown, told WPVI. “It's wonderful what they are doing for the people.”

“It's a blessing to be able to give people anything,” Thomasine Morris said. “Even though we play in Boston, even though we play in Washington, Philly is still our family.”

Trump again lashes out at UCLA basketball dad LaVar Ball: 'Very ungrateful!'

President Donald Trump continued his Twitter roasting of UCLA basketball dad and Big Baller Brand mogul LaVar Ball on Sunday evening, calling him “very ungrateful” for not thanking him for getting his son out of trouble.

>> See the tweet here

“Shoplifting is a very big deal in China, as it should be (5-10 years in jail), but not to father LaVar. Should have gotten his son out during my next trip to China instead. China told them why they were released. Very ungrateful!” Trump tweeted.

>> PREVIOUS STORY: Trump fires back after LaVar Ball minimizes role in getting UCLA players released

Earlier Sunday, Trump said “I should have left them in jail!,” referring to the three UCLA basketball players arrested in China for shoplifting, one of whom was Ball’s son, LiAngelo.

>> See the tweet here

“Now that the three basketball players are out of China and saved from years in jail, LaVar Ball, the father of LiAngelo, is unaccepting of what I did for his son and that shoplifting is no big deal. I should have left them in jail!” Trump tweeted.

>> LiAngelo Ball, UCLA teammates arrested in China could get 10 years in prison if convicted

This was Trump’s response to Ball essentially saying “Trump who?” when asked on Saturday about the president’s role in helping LiAngelo.

This all started when Trump tweeted after returning from Asia that the three UCLA basketball players who got in trouble for allegedly shoplifting in China should thank him for saving them from a decade in prison.

>> Read the tweet here

“Do you think the three UCLA Basketball Players will say thank you President Trump? They were headed for 10 years in jail!” he tweeted last Wednesday morning.

The players, for their part, did exactly that at an afternoon press conference the same day.

“To the three UCLA basketball players I say: You’re welcome, go out and give a big Thank You to President Xi Jinping of China who made your release possible and, HAVE A GREAT LIFE! Be careful, there are many pitfalls on the long and winding road of life!” Trump said in reply.

LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill were returned to the United States after being arrested on charges of shoplifting, in connection with the alleged theft of Louis Vuitton sunglasses in Shanghai. The university later announced that the players would be suspended indefinitely.

>> Read more trending news

Previously, Rare speculated that it was possible Trump wanted to hear a “thank you” not just from the basketball players, but also from the unapologetic LaVar Ball himself.

The president did not end up getting that thank you from the elder Ball.

“Who? What was [Trump] over there for? Don’t tell me nothing. Everybody wants to make it seem like he helped me out,” Ball said, according to ESPN.

>> On Rare.us: LaVar Ball on Trump helping his son: 'Who?'

“As long as my boy’s back here, I’m fine. I’m happy with how things were handled. A lot of people like to say a lot of things that they thought happened over there. Like I told him, ‘They try to make a big deal out of nothing sometimes,’” Ball added, downplaying his son’s alleged mistake. “I’m from L.A. I’ve seen a lot worse things happen than a guy taking some glasses. My son has built up enough character that one bad decision doesn’t define him.”

Trump fires back after LaVar Ball minimizes role in getting UCLA players released

LaVar Ball downplayed President Donald Trump’s role in having his son and two other UCLA basketball players released from custody after a shoplifting incident in China, ESPN reported.  In a tweet Sunday afternoon, Trump responded that he “should have left them in jail.”

>> Read more trending news/

“Who? What was (Trump) over there for? Don’t tell me nothing,” Ball told ESPN on Friday. “Everybody wants to make it seem like he helped me out.”

LiAngelo Ball, Jalen Hill and Cody Riley had been detained in China for the past week on suspicion of shoplifting. The three players returned to Los Angeles on Tuesday and were indefinitely suspended by the team.

Trump, who returned from Asia late Tuesday, said he raised the question of releasing the players when he spoke with China’s president, Xi Jinping, during a trip to Beijing last week, ESPN reported.

LaVar Ball, Trump tweeted, “is unaccepting of what I did for his son and that shoplifting is no big deal. I should have left them in jail!”

The players were questioned about allegedly stealing from three stores in Hangzhou, including sunglasses from a Louis Vuitton store next to the team’s hotel. They were released on bail on Nov. 8, ESPN reported.

"As long as my boy's back here, I'm fine," Ball told ESPN. "I'm happy with how things were handled. A lot of people like to say a lot of things that they thought happened over there. Like I told him, 'They try to make a big deal out of nothing sometimes.' I'm from L.A. I've seen a lot worse things happen than a guy taking some glasses. 

“Everybody gets stuck on the negativity of some things and they get stuck on them too long. That's not me. I handle what's going on and then we go from there.”

UCLA basketball players thank president for help after arrest in China

Three UCLA basketball players apologized on Wednesday and thanked authorities and President Donald Trump for the work done to get them home from China after they were accused of shoplifting.

>> Read more trending news

LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill were questioned and arrested by police after they were accused of shoplifting from a Louis Vuitton store next to their hotel in Hangzhou, China. If convicted, the trio would have faced 10-year sentences in China’s prison system.

Ball, Riley and Hill apologized to their team members, friends and family Wednesday at a news conference.

“I’d like to start off by saying sorry for stealing from the store from China. I didn’t exercise my best judgement, and I was wrong for that,” Ball said. “I also apologize to the people of China for causing them so much trouble. I’m a young man, however, that’s not an excuse for making a stupid decision.”

The trio also thanked their fellow teammates, school officials and the U.S. government for the work done to bring them back to the United States.

"To President Trump and the United States government, thank you for taking the time to intervene on our behalf," Riley said. "We really appreciate you helping us out."

Trump on Wednesday morning asked his followers on Twitter whether they thought the trio would thank him for his intervention.

“Do you think the three UCLA Basketball Players will say thank you President Trump? They were headed for 10 years in jail!” he wrote.

Ball, Riley and Hill were released and allowed to return to the United States on Tuesday after Trump said he spoke with Chinese President Xi Jinping on their behalf.

“The basketball players, by the way — I know a lot of people are asking — I will tell you, when I heard about it two days ago, I had a great conversation with President Xi,” Trump said, according to The Washington Post. “What they did was unfortunate. You know, you’re talking about very long prison sentences. (The Chinese) do not play games.”

UCLA basketball coach Steve Alford said on Wednesday that Ball, Riley and Hill will be “suspended indefinitely.”

"These are good young men who exercised an inexcusable lack of judgment," Alford said. “At some point, they may be permitted to join team workouts, practices and meetings, but that timeline has yet to be determined. They will have to earn their way back."

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution contributed to this report.

Teen shot in head is back to playing basketball after more than a year in recovery

Last year, a Chicago Public Schools honor student was shot in the head and has since made an unbelievable comeback Tuesday night. Damari Hendrix is back on the basketball court this week for the first time since a random shooting nearly took his life.

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According to WGN, Hendrix had to go through surgery three times and spent four days in a medically induced coma. He also was forced to learn to walk and talk again. But now he’s running, and his coach says he’s also redefining what’s possible.

>> On Rare.us: There’s a sad statistic about shooting deaths, influenced by Chicago

“Watching them practice, it’s impossible to believe that not long ago, one of these young men lay dying from a gunshot wound to the head,” Brian Rose, Hendrix’s coach, said. Last Labor Day weekend in a park near his home, Hendrix came close to his life ending.

“We just heard ‘shooter,’ and everybody got up running and stuff and I didn’t know I was shot until later on, I was running, my body started shutting down and stuff. I couldn’t see, walk, talk, run no more,” he said.

>> On Rare.us: Facebook Live video catches a fatal Chicago shooting that ended a toddler’s life

Hendrix came back on the court with his teammates at Foreman High School for the first time in 14 months – and all he can do is grin. Hendrix is still working on some fine motor skills but you wouldn’t know by watching him practice – dunking a couple of times.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news

“I get a second chance at life. I thought I wasn’t going to make it,” he said. “Up. I only want to go up, get better and better every day.”

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