Brook Lopez Returning to Milwaukee Bucks Lineup Against Utah Jazz After Recovering from Back Surgery

Brook Lopez is getting back in the game…

The 33-year-old Cuban-American professional basketball player and Milwaukee Bucks center who has been out with a back injury since opening night, will make his return to the lineup against the Utah Jazz on Monday night, the team announced.

Brook LopezLopez’s return fortifies the Bucks’ front line as the franchise prepares for the Eastern Conference playoffs and the chance to defend their NBA championship.

Lopez had back surgery on December 2, and had been rehabilitating the injury until he was cleared to return to full contact in practice a week ago.

The Bucks are outside of the league’s top 10 in defensive efficiency for the first time in coach Mike Budenholzer‘s tenure, and part of the reason is that they’ve been playing without Lopez’s rebounding and rim protection.

Milwaukee is 42-26 and second in the Eastern Conference behind the Miami Heat. Lopez was third in the NBA a year ago with 163 defensive box-outs, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.

He also ranked second in field goal percentage allowed at the rim among 72 players to defend 200 shots, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Only the Golden State WarriorsDraymond Green (47.3%) rated better than Lopez (49.3%).

Lopez averaged 12.3 points, five rebounds and 1.5 blocks a year ago.

Juan Toscano-Anderson to Take Part in NBA’s AT&T Slam Dunk Contest

Juan Toscano-Anderson is preparing for a slammin’ time…

The 28-year-old Mexican-American professional basketball player and Golden State Warriors forward  has been selected to participate in the NBA’s 2022 AT&T Slam Dunk.

Juan Toscano-AndersonThe competition will take place on Saturday, February 19 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland.

The AT&T Slam Dunk is part of State Farm All-Star Saturday Night, which also features the Taco Bell Skills Challenge and the MTN DEW 3-Point Contest.

All-Star Saturday Night will air live on TNT and ESPN Radio at 5:00 pm PT.

Toscano-Anderson is averaging 4.6 points on 49.2 percent from the field to go with 2.8 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 15.0 minutes over 52 games (five starts) this season.

The third-year forward is just the fourth player in franchise history to participate in the Slam Dunk Contest, joining Harrison Barnes (2014), Jason Richardson (2002-04) and Otis Smith (1988).

Richardson won the event in 2002 and 2003. Toscano-Anderson, who played four years at Marquette University from 2011-15, is set to become the fourth player not selected in the NBA Draft to compete in the AT&T Slam Dunk since 2000, joining Chris Andersen, Derrick Jones Jr. and Jamario Moon.

Joining Toscano-Anderson in the Dunk Contest are Cole Anthony (Orlando Magic), Jalen Green (Houston Rockets) and Obi Toppin (New York Knicks).

Santana to Perform National Anthem Before Game 2 of the NBA Finals

Carlos Santana is back in the NBA Finals

The 69-year-old Mexican American musician, a 10-time Grammy-winner will make his return to the NBA Finals stage to perform the national anthem on Sunday night (June 4).

Carlos Santana

Joining Santana will be famed bassist Benny Rietveld. The two are slated to perform at the start of Game 2 between the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

For the last two years, the San Francisco native has performed in the NBA Finals at Oracle Arena.

Train singer Pat Monahan delivered a powerful rendition prior to Thursday night’s Game 1, where the Warriors beat the Cavs, 113-91.

Santana will continue his musical escapades later this month when he launches his U.S. summer tour in Washington. The tour will kick off June 23 and run through August.

You can watch Santana and Rietveld’s performance at 8:00 pm ET on ABC.

Varejao to Continue Playing for the Golden State Warriors

Anderson Varejao is still a warrior

The 33-year-old Brazilian basketball player has agreed to a return to the Golden State Warriors, according to ESPN.

Anderson Varejao

Sources have told ESPN.com that the Warriors and Varejao have finalized a one-year deal that will bring him back to Oakland after Golden State signed the longtime player on February 22, 2016,

Varejao, 33, spent the first 11 seasons of his career with the Cleveland Cavaliers after being selected 30th overall in 2004.

He joined the Warriors following the 2016 trade deadline after he was moved to the Portland Trail Blazers and then waived.

During the Warriors’ playoff run to the NBA Finals, he averaged 5.5 minutes and 1.2 points a game.

Varejão is the first player in NBA history to play for both Finals teams in the same season.

Bufoni to Appear at the 2016 Kids’ Choice Sports Awards

Leticia Bufoni is ready to Kid around…

The 23-year-old Brazilian professional street skateboarder is among several top athletes who’ve signed on to take part in the 2016 Kids’ Choice Sports Awards.

Leticia Bufoni

Bufoni, who became the only female athlete to win three X Games gold medals in the same year back in 2013, is nominated in the Queen of Swag category.

In addition to Bufoni, other top athletes set to participate include Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry and Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton.

In addition, Nickelodeon has lined up Nick Cannon, along with several other top athletes, to hit the stage at UCLA‘s Pauley Pavilion in Los Angeles.

Also taking part are Curry’s Warriors teammate Klay Thompson and fellow NBA pro Iman Shumper (Cleveland Cavaliers); NFL players Antonio Brown (Pittsburgh Steelers) and Von Miller (Denver Broncos); MLB player Prince Fielder (Texas Rangers); NHL player Tyler Toffoli (Los Angeles Kings); Triple Crown-winning jockey Victor Espinoza (American Pharoah); professional snowboarder Jamie Anderson; and professional skateboarder Tony Hawk.

The awards show is set to tape Thursday and will air from 8:00-9:30 pm ET/PT on July 17.

Seattle Seahawks two-time Super Bowl quarterback Russell Wilson will return as host, and retired NBA star Kobe Bryant is set to receive the Legend Award.

Blacc to Perform During Game 7 of the NBA Finals

It’s a star-spangled Sunday for Aloe Blacc

The 37-year-old Panamanian American singer-songwriter will provide the night’s entertainment with a special rendition of the National Anthem before tonight’s winner-takes-all game between the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 7 of the NBA Finals.

Aloe Blacc

In addition to performing “The Star-Spangled Banner,” the Grammy-nominee will also

offer the crowd at Oakland’s Oracle Arena a special halftime performance.

Blacc helmed the vocals for Aviciis 2013 hit “Wake Me Up” and unleashed his third album Lift Your Spirit in 2013.

Don’t miss Blacc and Game 7 tonight when the game airs live tonight at 8:00 pm ET on ABC.

Santana to Perform National Anthem at Game 2 of the NBA Finals

Carlos Santana is heading back to the hardwoods…

The 68-year-old Mexican musician and his wife Cindy Blackman Santana will once again perform the “Star-Spangled Banner” at Game 2 on Sunday night.

Carlos-Santana-and-Cindy-Blackman

The global rock star has sold more than 100 million records over his 40-year tenure thanks to Latin-infused hits like “Oye Como Va,” “Maria Maria” and “Smooth.”

In April, he released Santana IV, which saw the reunion of his band’s original ’70s lineup, comprised of Santana, Gregg Rolie on keyboards, Neal Schon on guitar, Michael Carabello on percussion and Michael Shrieve on drums.

Santana IV also debuted at No. 5 on the Billboard 200.

His wife, Cindy Blackman, is an American jazz and rock drummer, who also joined her husband in performing the national anthem at last year’s NBA Finals.

After the Golden State Warriors claimed victory in Game 1, the hometown team will take on the Cleveland Cavaliers for round 2 at Oakland’s Oracle Arena on Sunday, June 5.

The game airs at 8:00 pm ET on ABC.

Barbosa Agrees to One-Year, $2.5 Million Deal with the Golden State Warriors

It’ll be another golden season for Leandro Barbosa

The 32-year-old Brazilian professional basketball player and veteran guard has agreed to a one-year, $2.5 million contract to stay with the NBA champion Golden State Warriors, according to ESPN.com.

Leandro Barbosa

Barbosa has bounced all over the league and played for six different teams in his 12 seasons. He was taken 28th overall by the San Antonio Spurs in 2003, then was traded to the Phoenix Suns, where he played his first seven seasons.

After stops with the Toronto Raptors, Indiana PacersBoston Celtics and Suns again, Barbosa signed a one-year deal with the Warriors in 2014.

The 6-foot-3 combo guard appeared in 66 games (one start) for the 67-win Warriors this past season, primarily backing up league MVP Stephen Curry. Barbosa averaged 7.1 points and 1.5 assists in 14.9 minutes per game.

Barbosa, an unrestricted free agent, made several key contributions in the playoffs, including 13 points in a Game 5 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals.

In 2007, Barbosa won the NBA Sixth Man of the Year award after averaging 18.1 points per game.

He holds career averages of 11.4 points and 2.3 assists in 22.9 minutes per game.

Barbosa Reaches One-Year Deal with the Golden State Warriors

Leandro Barbosa has landed a golden opportunity…

The 31-year-old Brazilian professional basketball player has reportedly reached a deal to sign with the Golden State Warriors for the upcoming season, according to ESPN.com.

Leandro Barbosa

After Barbosa received initial interest from the Miami Heat, Golden State has secured a commitment from Barbosa on a one-year deal at the veteran minimum, according to NBA front-office sources.

Barbosa played 20 games last season with the Phoenix Suns, with whom he broke into the NBA in 2003-04. He’s also had stints with the Indiana Pacers, Toronto Raptors and Boston Celtics.

Golden State had been searching for guard depth and gladly struck a deal with Barbosa before this weekend’s start of the FIBA World Cup in Spain.

Barbosa joins fellow NBA veterans Nene, Tiago Splitter and Anderson Varejao in leading a Brazilian squad that sees itself as a real contender for the championship along with the two consensus favorites: Team USA and host Spain.

Asked recently about his NBA future, Barbosa told ESPN.com: “Man, I’m just really focused on this World Cup.”

Arenas to Play Ball for the Shanghai Sharks

Gilbert Arenas is headed to The Middle Kingdom…

The 30-year-old part-Cuban American basketball star has signed on to play with the Chinese league’s Shanghai Sharks, whose owner and president is former NBA star Yao Ming.

Gilbert Arenas

Arenas, who previously played for the Memphis Grizzlies, Golden State Warriors, Orlando Magic and Washington Wizards, has been negotiating with the Guangdong Southern Tigers but opted to sign with the Sharks, who nearly disappeared due to financial problems in 2009 and were saved by Yao.

Arenas’ signing adds quality to the league, which begins play on Saturday, and follows the signing of Tracy McGrady by the Qingdao Eagles.

McGrady, known as “T-Mac,” was a teammate of Yao’s with the Houston Rockets.

Arenas, known as “Agent Zero,” could make his debut in the opening tournament on Saturday, when the Sharks take on the defending champion Beijing Ducks, a team led by former NBA star Stephon Marbury.