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Legends put Soldiers to Rest

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Albany, NY- The Rubber game between the Albany Legends and Kankakee Soldiers kicked off tonight at CBA. The Legends welcomed Lloyd Clinton to the court but the starting lineup remained the same.

Damone Morris found DeAndre Thomas for an easy 2 and it was business as usual for the Legends who put up the first points of the game. The Soldiers took a bit of time to find cohesion and their shots in the first minutes. The lack of offensive rebounding and early turnovers would be the downfall of the Legends and the spark for the Soldiers in the first half. Lloyd Johnson pushed the ball hard up the court and relied on Chris Grant under the bucket to make a move. However, Grant was heavily guarded. The Soldiers swarmed underneath the basket when the Legends tried to push through. They left the the arc and beyond open, but the Legends were unable to make a 3 fall.

The Legnds and The Soldiers battled in the rubber game of their 3 game weekend series (Photo: Anthony DiMoro)

Coach Ben Smith mentioned after yesterdays game he needed defense out of his players and he was not getting it. Soldiers Ryan Edwards and Billy Baptist took control quickly. Baptist with authority “baptized” some Legends tonight dunking over DeAndre Thomas. Not an easy shot to make considering Thomas is 6’8″. He shouted out, “I told you I was gonna baptize someone today!” After the first quarter the Soldiers led 26-19.

EJ Gallup who could not get a shot off last night, at least not the flying 3s like the previous night, made up for it. He managed a quick 3 to start the second quarter. Scott Morton and Ryan Edwards were tangled up together the entire second quarter and players were overly aggressive with one another. Midway through the second Billy Baptist hooks up with Harrison who didn’t make the shot but the key is their were plenty of orange jerseys under the bucket ready to make the recovery and another chance at it. The Soldiers played as a TEAM in every sense of the way. They had trust in one another. Baptist and Edwards can easily carry the team, but they are assisted and pass plenty to the rest of the players.

EJ Gallup, Legends 6’4″ guard from Coastal Carolina is truly astonishing with his 3 point accuracy. He squares up quickly and whether he gets a good look or not he is able to make these awesome 3 point shots over and over again. As stated before, the Soldiers heavily guarded underneath the basket and left the arc open. The Legends struggled at first but Gallup changed that for them. By the end of the second quarter the Soldiers led 47-53.

The first half of the game, the Legends were out rebounded. They were at times careless with the ball. Defensively they seemed uninterested. Tiki Mayben even said, “this is their show man, I’m just here.” Mind you this was as the Soldiers were driving the ball to the basket. Where was the effort, the hustle, the drive? The Soldiers showed more intensity, boxed out players, and overall had a higher team morale. The Legends were lucky they were only down by 6! If they were going to make a comeback extreme measures would be needed.

Changes were in fact made. There was the absence of Mayben for the rest of the game to start, certainly an extreme measure to take but the team worked together and showed far more drive even with this adjustment. DeAndre Thomas was in serious foul trouble during the third quarter. He had 5 total and it was still early. Lloyd Johnson’s quick feet created turnovers and he started hitting 3s. He made 4 of his 9 attempts overall. The Legends were making their comeback and the Soldiers couldn’t come up with enough answers. The Legends were matching all of the Soldiers buckets and adding some of their own to the equation. No super fancy dunking here, just making sure the points landed on the board. FIRST AND ONLY PRIORITY!

Soldiers' Billy Baptist gets ready to check into the game and get into the thick of the action (Photo:Anthony DiMoro)

Lloyd Clinton was a great addition to the team. He wanted to be their, he was ready to contribute, and he put up 18 points. Almost all of them came in the third and fourth quarters. The defense came in the second half as we all hoped it would. The Legends pull out a 120-106 win over the Soldiers.

I am still concerned with offensive rebounding and it is something that needs to take shape for this Legends team. They had a total of 9…..9!!!! Again 9!!!! Free throws are key points to a game and out of 22 attempts they managed 15, also unacceptable. What did ignite in the second half was the defense. Lloyd Johnson alone had 5 steals. The team total was 23! They dismembered the early groove that the Soldiers had in the first half creating turnovers. With DeAndre Thomas unable to be as aggressive due to numerous fouls, the rest of the team really stepped up to the plate. Thomas gives credit to Johnson. “He held the team together, he got us through today and you need to make sure people know that,” he happily stated. Much credit should go to Lloyd Johnson and Lloyd Clinton. I bet these 2 will be double trouble in future games. Johnson had 20 points and Gallup right behind him with 17.

The Legends will host the Gary Splash April 29th at CBA. Game starts at 7pm. See you all at game time! GO LEGENDS!

 

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Boxing

25th Annual Muhammad Ali Celebrity Fight Night, A Charity Knockout Event

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Photo Credit: Monica Alvarez

The stars came out last night to give, show support, perform, and to continue to raise money and awareness in hopes of one day find a cure to knockout Parkinson’s disease.

Going back to year number 1, The first ever event was held at the Ritz-Carlton operated on a much smaller scale than today, which is now held at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa.

At the very first Celebrity Fight Night With the help of Phoenix Suns Charles Barkley, Dan Majerle, and the valley of the sun’s very own Louie Espinoza, Tony Baltazar, and boxing champion Michael Carbajal who by the way fought in the ring with over sized boxing gloves.

The ”Puttin on the Fists at The Ritz” first Celebrity Fight Night scored a knockout win and is STILL punching on through today for the Greatest Of All Time, The late great Muhammad Ali.

Last night I was honored to attend and speak to a few of the stars, one was NFL legendary kicker Nick Lowery, Mr. Lowery now spends most of his time at charitable endeavors and advocating for alternative medicine research and is also a spokesman for Kannalife, Inc to raise awareness for CTE and players safety in hopes of one day having intercellular “helmets,” like Kannalife’s CBD and KLS-13019, is so important to potentially treat the brain.

I asked Lowery what is his favorite Ali memory, and Lowery’s response: ” Taking Ali to the NBA All-Star game one year as we sat behind Jay-Z and Beyonce and watching Beyonce wave to Ali, Beyonce spoke to us, she is the sweetest person. Also taking Ali to the locker rooms and watching Kobe Bryant, Lebron James, and all the other all stars turn into children at the sight of seeing their hero the greatest of all time Muhammad Ali walk through the doors, what an experience that was.”

In asking the very same question to R&B Singer Brian McKnight, ”I have so many Ali memories but my favorite was watching Ali knockout George Foreman at home with my dad. The odds were against Ali and Ali being the great fighter that he was he beat the odds and stopped a much younger powerful puncher in Foreman. You know, I am still a big boxing fan today, I enjoy watching Tyson Fury out of the current heavyweights.”

And what did legendary former champion boxer, Micheal Carbajal have to say? ”It’s truly an honor to attend this great event, at the very first one proceeds went to my 9th street boxing gym and now 24 years later it’s still going strong, a great charity”. Mr. Carbajal went on to talk some boxing with me,

Carbajal- ” You see Spence/Garcia?”

Me- ” Yes, it was brutal, what did you think?”

Carbajal- ” Not good for Mikey Garcia at all, but he is still my favorite current boxer, and he beats everybody at 135 pounds if he can make the weight there. Mikey would knockout Lomachenko in 4 rounds at 135.”

Me- ”Wow, you really think that? Both are great technical boxers but I can’t see a 4 round fight between them, so you really think it would only take Mikey 4 rounds to stop Lomachenko?”

Carbajal- ” I KNOW so!”

Special honorees for the evening include fabled American music producer and 27-time Grammy Award-winner Quincy Jones, Arizona State University President Dr. Michael Crow and Dr. Abraham Lieberman, the medical director of the Movement Disorders Clinic at Barrow Neurological Institute and Renee Parsons of the Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation.

“For 25 years, we’ve treated Celebrity Fight Night audiences to the world’s greatest entertainers and this year will be no different as we welcome Barry Manilow,” said Jimmy Walker, Founder of Celebrity Fight Night. “With the help of our celebrity friends and incredibly generous donors, we are once again excited to raise millions of dollars and make a difference in the lives of those who need our support.”

Individual tickets for Celebrity Fight Night start at $1,500 – $10,000.  To purchase tickets or to get more information on the event, please visit www.celebrityfightnight.org, or call (602) 956-1121.

About Celebrity Fight Night
Celebrity Fight Night has gifted more than $86 million over the past 24 years benefiting the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center at Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, as well as several other worthy charities.

The black-tie event features a cocktail reception, silent auction, elegant dinner, and an exciting live auction including one-of-a-kind luxury items and experiences. Celebrity Fight Night Foundation is a nonprofit organization that was founded in 1994 by Jimmy Walker and supports the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, as well as numerous other charities. For more information, visitwww.celebrityfightnight.org.

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Olympic Cyclist Kelly Catlin Dead at 23

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Olympic track cyclist Kelly Catlin, who competed in the 2016 Rio Janeiro Games, was found dead in her California home this past Friday due to an apparent suicide, according to an announcement from her father, according to Reuters.

“There isn’t a minute that goes by that we don’t think of her and think of the wonderful life she could have lived,” her father, Mark Catlin said, according to VeloNews. “There isn’t a second in which we wouldn’t freely give our lives in exchange for hers. The hurt is unbelievable.”

Catlin, 23, took the silver medal in Rio and was part of the teams who took home the gold in 2016, 2017, and 2018 World Championships.

Catlin had reportedly struggled with mental health in the past and her sister, Christine Catlin, said that Catlin was “a really special person – kind, funny, empathetic, and talented at literally everything she did, per the Washington Post. She just felt like she couldn’t say no to everything that was asked of her and this was her only escape.”

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Kansas City Chiefs

Tom Brady And Pats Play Record 8th AFC Championship Game, Seek 6th Superbowl

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It’s Championship Sunday and one of the NFL staples remain atop the league. The New England Patriots are appearing in their record 8th AFC title game in hopes of competing for a sixth title.

A season that most organizations would be happy with, was one of challenge for the Patriots. Usually a top tier team, they suffered bad losses to the Jaguars, Titans and Dolphins. However, in Patriot fashion along a weak AFC East, the Patriots finished 11-5, won a 10th straight conference title and secured a first round bye.

Kansas City will host New England in the AFC Championship game in what is a rematch from week six. That game featured an offensive clinic ,  As reported by CBS Boston, Brady went 24-35 passing for 340 yards and touchdown in that game; Mahomes went 23-36 passing for 352 yards and four touchdowns. The AFC Championship could very well play out the same way.

The Chiefs will be a tough out, They won their first home playoff game in 25 years last week against the Colts and are riding one of the most prolific offenses in history behind quarterback whisperer Andy Reid and phenome Patrick Mahomes who is arguably the NFLs best young QB.

In what is a David and Goliath matchup, Brady seems to imply they are the underdog. As he told CBS’s Tracy Wolfson, “I know everyone thinks we suck and, you know, cant win games,”.  Will the dynasty continue? Or will Reid and Mahomes hoist the Lombardi?

I’m leaning towards the game plan of Bill Belichick and veteran experience of Tom Brady in this one. I think a Patriot/Saints matchup is in order. Either way, it will undoubtedly be one for the ages.

Game Time: Sunday January 20th at 6:40ET/5:40CT on CBS.

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