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Saints, Pelicans Owner Tom Benson Dead At 90

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The New Orleans Saints and New Orleans Pelicans are suffering a huge loss today as news broke that longtime owner Tom Benson has died at the age of 90.

The team made the announcement on Thursday.

Benson died with his wife, Gayle Marie Benson, by his side.

Benson bought the Saints back in 1985 upon hearing that the franchise would be sold and re-located. Though the team struggled for many years, they eventually found success in the form of eleven playoff berths and a Super Bowl title in 2009.

Benson also bought the NBA’s New Orleans Hornets back in 2012 and renamed them the Pelicans, to make them fit more in with the city of New Orleans.

Benson was hospitalized in the intensive care unit at Ochsner Medical Center earlier this week, according to ESPN’s Mike Triplett, and was also admitted several weeks ago with flu-like symptoms. Benson was also hospitalized back in October due to exhaustion.

Benson was also known for his charitable work and undoubtedly left a lasting impression on the city of New Orleans, players, staff, and fans.

Anthony DiMoro is the creator of Sports Rants and the CEO of Elite Rank Media and DiMoro Enterprises LLC. He is a former Contributor for Forbes and the Huffington Post where he covered sports, social media, and SEO. Anthony hosts the Anthony DiMoro Show podcast, and formerly hosted the 'Forbes SportsMoney Podcast'.

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Denver Nuggets

Nuggets’ Mike Malone Emotional Following Denver School Shooting

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Mike Malone

Denver Nuggets head coach Mike Malone became emotional during a press conference discussing a school shooting that left one student dead took place at a Highlands Ranch public charter school in his suburban Denver community.

Malone talked how his two middle school-aged daughters, who attend a different school, had experienced a lockdown for the second time in a three week period due to a shooting threat, as he called for something to change to stop this epidemic.

One student was killed and eight injured during Tuesday’s shooting at the STEM school in Highlands Ranch, according to the Douglas County Sheriff’s office. According to their report, two suspects are currently in custody.

“The [STEM] school is literally two minutes away from where I live, right down Broadway in Highlands Ranch,” Malone said, according to ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk. “My wife and daughters know people. As a coach, I am somewhat of a recluse, but it’s a close community.

“It’s not just Highlands Ranch. It’s not just Colorado. This is an epidemic. And it continues to happen. And that is the frustrating thing. How do you stop it? Again, gun control, laws, whatever it might be. I am not a politician. I don’t want to sit up here on a soapbox. I just want everybody back at Highlands Ranch to know that we’re with you and that is very important for them to know.”

There was a moment of silence prior to Game 5 between the Nuggets and the Portland Trail Blazers.

Malone said that he was at the Pepsi Center preparing for Game 5 when his wife, Jocelyn, called to inform him about the shooting and to let him know that their daughters were safe but scared.

“The thing that makes you angry is that she’s telling me how scared my daughters are in their schools, texting her, because they don’t know what’s going on — it’s a lockout,” Malone said.

“Where’s this shooter? Is it at our school? Some other school? The kids go to school, they should be going to school to learn, have fun, be with their friends. Not worry about an active shooter. … It’s just frustrating, and it gets you angry because it hits home. And that’s how I felt today.”

While Malone stated that he would likely wouldn’t bring up the shooting with his team prior to Game 5, he did discuss how he would address the topic with his daughters.

“That’s a great question, and you know, that’s something I haven’t even really thought about,” Malone said emotionally. “I’m texting my daughter, telling her she’s going to be OK. I don’t even know if she will be OK.

“This is every parent’s worst nightmare, and it’s something that when you see your kids go to school in the morning, it’s ‘Have a great day’ and just assume everything is going to be all right. And as we all know, it’s not. So you figure it out.”

The STEM Highlands Ranch campus is not far from Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado. Columbine was where one of the most infamous school mass shootings in American history took place back on April 20th, 1999.

“I know thoughts and prayers are never enough,” Malone continued. “And from myself, our team, our organization, our thoughts and prayers are with all those families, students, school administrators, everybody that was there today. It’s a tragedy.

“I would like to say a thank you to the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department that was there, on top of it, in matter of minutes and all the first responders that were there and allowing that to not become worse than it was,” Malone added. “But it’s a shame. My girls have been in a lockout twice in the last month. I’m not a politician, I don’t have the answers, but something must change. So I just want to make sure that I acknowledge what happened today in my backyard and all those families are on my mind.”

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Brooklyn Nets

Nets’ D’Angelo Russell Cited for Marijuana Possession at Airport

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Brooklyn Nets point guard D’Angelo Russell was cited for marijuana possession on Wednesday night at LaGuardia Airport in New York, according to USA Today’s A.J. Perez.

Per the report, during a routine search of a checked bag police found marijuana hidden inside a container, located in Russell’s bag, that was made to look like an Arizona Iced Tea can.

Russell would be forced to enter the league’s marijuana program if he is convicted of possession, however, he won’t face suspension until a third violation.

While Russell received a summons to appear in court following the search, he was allowed to continue on his flight to Louisville, Kentucky.

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Boston Celtics

Celtics’ General Manager Danny Ainge Suffers Mild Heart Attack

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Boston Celtics general manager and president of basketball operations Danny Ainge suffered a mild heart attack on Tuesday in Milwaukee, according to a team press release.

Ainge, 60, was with the team in Milwaukee for the first round Eastern Conference playoff series against the Bucks.

“Been in constant communication with his family,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said, according to ESPN. “He’s resting well and feels better. Obviously, always scary, but he’s got a good support network. Obviously, expect a full recovery and he’s feeling good. So that’s all positive. Certainly scary.”

Ainge, who suffered what is described as a mild heart attack back in April 2009, received immediate medical attention and is expected to make a full recovery, and is expected to return to Boston soon.

“Danny is just one of those guys who takes time out of his life, his day when he’s doing his schedule, to make sure you’re all right,” Celtics guard Marcus Smart said. “He constantly checks in on us, my family, and things like that. Just personally, for me, he’s been another mentor. For me, from when I first got here, Danny was the person I see every day and am talking to, so he means a lot to my life as well. … I just hope he has a speedy recovery.”

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