Bad Bunny Releases Kobe Bryant Tribute Single “6 Rings”

Bad Bunny is honoring Kobe Bryant through music…

The 25-year-oldPuerto Rican Latin trap and reggaeton singer paid tribute to the former Los Angeles Lakersshooting guard who passed away Sunday morning by releasing a new single, “6 Rings.”

Bad Bunny

Bad Bunny took to Instagramto share part of the audio of the melancholic track in which he sings, “I still remember the first game of yours I witnessed, the excitement and the many times you got me on my feet … You showed me that everything in life is done with passion. To win, you have to have a heart.”

Bad Bunny released the track a day after Bryant — a five-time NBAchampion — his daughter Gianna and seven others died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California.

The six rings Bad Bunny refers to in the song are Bryant’s five championship rings plus his marriage ring. 

“Congratulations, you also won 6 rings … Five in the NBA, a marriage that gave you your daughters. Thinking that one left with you makes me lose control, but, nah it’s for you to have someone play with in heaven,” sings Bad Bunny. 

Before releasing the track, Bad Bunny paid respects to Bryant in a heartfelt Instagram post, saying “I would never have imagined that this would hurt me so much! I still remember the first time I saw a basketball game, at age 7 with my dad, and it was a game of this genius. From that day on he became my favorite player forever!! I have never mentioned it because it does not necessarily have to do with music, but this man has been an inspiration in many ways for me to be what I am today.”

Bryant is survived by his wife, Vanessa, and three other daughters. 

Marc Gasol Makes History While Leading Spain to FIBA World Cup Championship

Marc Gasol is celebrating a rare feat…

The 34-year-old Spanish professional basketball player got to bask in a championship celebration for the second time in three months — and this time, he did it for his country. Tournament MVP Ricky Rubio scored 20 points, Sergio Llull added 15 and Spain won the FIBA World Cup for the second time by topping Argentina 95-75 on Sunday.

Marc Gasol

“We weren’t the most talented team,” Rubio said. “We weren’t the bigger team. Put anything you want, but we were the team with the biggest heart and we showed it tonight and we showed it during the whole tournament.”

Gasol scored 14 for the winners, who never trailed and added this crown to the one they claimed in 2006. And for him, 2019 will go down as a year the likes of which few others have enjoyed.

The Toronto Raptors center becomes the second player to win an NBA title and a FIBA world gold medal in the same year, joining Lamar Odom — who did it for the Los Angeles Lakers and USA Basketball in 2010. Gasol also became the 19th player to win either an NBA or WNBA crown along with a gold medal, either of the Olympic or World Cup variety, in the same year.

The first 18 all did it for the U.S.

This time, vamos Espana!

“NBA champion and a World Cup champion as well,” Gasol said. “What can I say? How does it sound to you? I feel very fortunate to be in this position and be able to play this game and help these guys be part of history of Spanish basketball.”

Llull and Rudy Fernandez — the team captain, who initially got to accept the Naismith Trophy — went to cut down the nets shortly after the final buzzer. Gasol carried the game ball to the gold-medal ceremony, and Spanish fans wept in the stands during the national anthem.

Gabriel Deck scored 24 points for Argentina (8-1), which got off to a slow start and played uphill the rest of the way. Luis Scola was held to eight points, shooting 1-for-10 from the floor.

“We’re sad right now. We’re very sad,” Scola said. “But I feel confident, in hours, we’ll be able to look back and be very proud. They just played better than us. They were better. They deserved to win. They were the better team in the game and the tournament.”

Spain led 43-31 at intermission, after putting together a 14-2 run to open the game and a 17-1 run later in the half.

“This is basketball,” Argentina coach Sergio Hernandez said. “If you play better than the other team, you win the game. And Spain was the best team today.”

Scola, who at 39 years old was still Argentina’s best player throughout the tournament, didn’t get on the score sheet until he made a pair of free throws with 2:57 left in the third quarter. But they only cut Spain’s lead to 19, and by then the Argentinian fans who stood, sang and chanted for much of the game were relatively quiet.

The day belonged to Spain.

And the year belongs to Gasol.

“It’s unbelievable,” Gasol said.

Joining Rubio on the all-tournament team were Gasol, Scola, France’s Evan Fournier and Serbia’s Bogdan Bogdanovic.

Pau Gasol Agrees to One-Year Deal with the Portland Trail Blazers

Pau Gasol will be blazing a new trail

The 39-year-old Spanish professional basketball player has agreed to a one-year, $2.6 million deal with the Portland Trail Blazers, according to ESPN.

Pau Gasol

Gasol joins a reshaped Trail Blazers roster that’s prepared to make a run at a return to the Western Conferencefinals — and perhaps beyond.

On Twitter, Gasol said he’s enthused to join the Blazers.

“I’m very excited to announce that next season (my 19th in the @NBA) I’ll play for the @trailblazers,” he tweeted, adding, “Ready and happy to join one of the best teams in the league!”

Gasol will be added to a center rotation that includes Hassan WhitesideZach Collins and Jusuf Nurkic — once Nurkic returns from a serious leg injury.

Portland had success with a center rotation that included Enes Kanter late last season and into the playoffs. Kanter signed with the Boston Celtics this summer.

Gasol brings the résumé of a future Hall of Famer as compiled across 18 NBA seasons, including two championships and six All-Starappearances.

He signed with the Milwaukee Bucks after a buyout with the San Antonio Spurslast season but played only three games with Milwaukee before a season-ending foot injury. 

Gasol finished the campaign having played just 30 games, averaging a career-low 3.9 points and 4.6 rebounds.

Gasol discussed a free-agent deal with the Blazers in 2016 before signing with San Antonio.

He also has played with the Memphis GrizzliesLos Angeles Lakers and Chicago Bulls, and he had an outstanding FIBAcareer with the Spanish national team.

Gasol Named EuroBasket MVP After Leading Spain to the Gold

Pau Gasol has propelled Spain into the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro…

The 35-year-old Spanish basketball star had a double-double as Spain cruised past Lithuania 80-63 on Sunday to take the EuroBasket title.

Pau Gasol

Gasol, the European Basketball Championship MVP, helped Spain earn its third title in the last four tournaments after having to settle for bronze two years ago.

“It was an incredible championship,” Gasol said. “We went through struggles early on but the team responded well, and with our backs to the wall, we understood that we had to play better defense.”

With Spain’s King Felipe VI and tennis star Rafael Nadal in the stands, the final was a one-sided affair as the Spaniards opened a 13-point lead in the first quarter and were never really threatened.

Gasol finished with 25 points, 12 rebounds, four assists, three blocked shots, one steal and no turnovers to earn the tournament’s MVP award.

Pau Gasol

“It’s of special significance to play this well at this stage of my career after all I’ve accomplished,” said Gasol, the Chicago Bulls center who has two NBA championship rings with the Los Angeles Lakers. “It is something I will remember until the end of my life.

The victory completed a turnaround for Spain, which came to the tournament without Marc Gasol, Serge Ibaka, Juan Carlos Navarro and Ricky Rubio and lost two of its first three games.

But with Gasol dominating, Spain raised its game when it mattered and looked impressive throughout the knockout stage. Gasol put his stamp on the final early, scoring eight straight points for Spain to lead 19-6.

That helped the team overcome the loss of influential guard Rudy Fernandez halfway into the third quarter when he was fouled by Robertas Javtokas. Fernandez fell to the ground, was helped off the floor while holding his left hip and did not return.

Spain and Lithuania booked direct slots to next year’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Spain won the silver medal in the past two Olympics, and Gasol said he would be around once again if his body holds up.

Spain guard Sergio Rodriguez joined Gasol in the tournament’s all-star team.

Lopez ThisClose to Signing with the New York Knicks

Robin Lopez is in a New York state of mind…

The 27-year-old half-Cuban American professional basketball player, a free-agent center, will sign with the New York Knicks as long as DeAndre Jordan, as expected, chooses the Los Angeles Clippers or Dallas Mavericks and not the Knicks, according to ESPN sources.

Robin Lopez

Lopez has picked the Knicks over the Los Angeles Lakers in a deal reportedly valued at $12 million a year.

If he ends up in New York, he’ll be the second free agent picked up by Phil Jackson and the Knicks in the 2015 offseason. Earlier Thursday, New York agreed to a two-year, $16 million contract with Arron Afflalo.

Lopez is known as a strong defender and rebounder, two areas in which the 17-win Knicks struggled last season. The 7-foot center averaged 8.7 rebounds per 36 minutes last season, including 4.2 on the offensive end.

New York now awaits Jordan’s decision with the insurance of a Lopez agreement in hand. The terms of Lopez’s agreement are not yet known.

Lopez played the past two seasons with the Portland Trail Blazers. He was selected 15th overall by the Phoenix Suns in 2008, playing his first four seasons there. The New Orleans Pelicans acquired him via sign-and-trade in 2012, with Lopez starting all 82 games that season. The Blazers acquired him in a three-team trade before the 2013-14 season.

He recorded 29 double-doubles and set a franchise record for offensive rebounds in his first season with the Blazers. He missed 23 games last season due to a broken hand suffered in December but still averaged 9.6 points, 6.7 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game, anchoring Portland’s interior defense.

A seven-year veteran, Lopez holds career averages of 8.2 points and 5.0 rebounds in 465 games.

Gasol Reportedly Inching Closer to Deal with the Chicago Bulls

Pau Gasol may be dealing with plenty of bull in the near future…

The 34-year-old Spanish professional basketball player is reportedly thisclose to joining the Chicago Bulls, according to the Spanish newspaper Marca and other media reports.

Pau Gasol

The paper first reported late Friday that the Bulls are closing in on a deal with Gasol despite the absence of a sign-and-trade agreement with his most recent team, the Los Angeles Lakers.

Sources close to the situation told ESPN.com late Friday that a sign-and-trade arrangement had not been struck, with the Lakers still looking for draft compensation — as they received in Friday’s earlier trade with the Houston Rockets to take back the contract of Jeremy Lin — as the primary return for Gasol.

ESPN.com reported earlier Friday that the Bulls and San Antonio Spurs had emerged as the two leading candidates to land Gasol, with San Antonio poised to land the Spaniard if the Bulls and Lakers could not finalize a sign-and-trade deal.

Sources told ESPN.com late Friday that the Bulls were prioritizing their pursuit of Gasol even ahead of their long-running efforts to sign Carmelo Anthony, fearing that Anthony remains likely to stay with the New York Knicks.

The Lakers appear resigned to seeing Gasol exit after a successful six seasons together. Prior to Friday, the Lakers offered Gasol two deals: two years worth $23 million, and three years worth $29 million, a National Basketball League source told ESPNLosAngeles.com. Gasol turned down both offers, according to the source.

The Oklahoma City Thunder have been pursuing Gasol as hard as anyone, but sources indicated Friday that the Spurs have joined the Bulls ahead of the Thunder in Gasol’s pecking order.

The Thunder had a $6.5 million trade exception that expired Friday night at 11:59 p.m. ET that they had hoped to use in their own sign-and-trade with L.A.

Making hard runs at free agents is not something seen often from the Thunder, but Gasol had been lobbied face to face by OKC stars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook as well as coach Scott Brooks and general manager Sam Presti since free agency began.

The Knicks, meanwhile, had been trying to trade Amar’e Stoudemire or Andrea Bargnani in hopes of clearing sufficient salary-cap space to convince Gasol to come to New York to play alongside a re-signed Anthony. But sources said Friday night that the Knicks, like the Lakers and Thunder, appeared to be out of contention.

Anthony: The Lone Latino 2013 NBA All-Star

Carmelo Anthony will be getting some extra play time this season, thanks to his dedicated fans…

The New York Knicks forward has been named as an Eastern Conference starter for the 2013 NBA All-Star game, which will take place next month in Houston. The players are voted-in by fans around the world, often leading to some interesting results.

Carmelo Anthony

It will be the sixth All-Star game for the 28-year-old half-Puerto Rican basketball star, the only Latino selected as an All-Star this year. Anthony earned 1,460,950, behind only the Miami Heat‘s LeBron James in the Eastern Conference. The Los Angeles Lakers Kobe Bryant was the overall top vote-getter.

This season Anthony has been a scoring machine. He currently has 28 straight 20-point games.

The 62nd NBA All-Star Game will take place at the Toyota Center in Houston on Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013 at 8:00 pm ET, televised exclusively on TNT and broadcast exclusively on ESPN Radio in the U.S.

The All-Star Game will reach fans in more than 200 countries and territories in more than 40 languages.

Here’s a look at the 2013 NBA All-Star Game Roster:

Eastern    Conference

Starter

Appearance

LeBron James, F, MIA 9th
Carmelo Anthony, F, NYK 6th
Dwyane Wade, G, MIA 9th
Rajon Rondo, G, BOS 4th
Kevin Garnett, F, BOS 15th

Reserve

Appearance

Kyrie Irving, G, CLE 1st
Jrue Holiday, G, PHI 1st
Tyson Chandler, C, NYK 1st
Joakim Noah, C, CHI 1st
Luol Deng, F, CHI 2nd
Paul George, F, IND 1st
Chris Bosh, F, MIA 8th

 

Western    Conference

Starter

Appearance

Kobe Bryant, G, LAL 15th
Kevin Durant, F, OKC 4th
Chris Paul, G, LAC 6th
Dwight Howard, C, LAL 7th
Blake Griffin, F, LAC 3rd

Reserve

Appearance

R. Westbrook, G, OKC 3rd
James Harden, G, HOU 1st
Tim Duncan, C, SAS 14th
Tony Parker, G, SAS 5th
L. Aldridge, F, POR 2nd
David Lee, F, GS 2nd
Zach Randolph, F, MEM 2nd

Anthony to Appear in NBA-Themed Special on Disney XD

It’s game on for Carmelo Anthony and his upcoming Disney project…

The 28-year-old half-Puerto Rican professional basketball player who currently plays for the New York Knicks will be appearing in a Disney XD special entitled My Life as an NBA Rookie.

Carmelo Anthony

The special, created in partnership with the NBA, will give viewers an inside look at some of the biggest basketball stars in their first year in the league.

Hosted by Billy Unger of Disney XD’s Lab Rats, the special will feature exclusive footage of New Orleans Hornets power forward and No. 1 draft pick Anthony Davis practicing for the 2012 Summer Olympics with the USA Basketball Men’s National Team.

It also will take fans behind the scenes at the NBA Draft Combine and NBA Draft, show how players mentally and physically prepare for training camp and opening night, reveal entertaining rookie duties and show how they sometimes get pranked by returning players — like having their entire car filled with popcorn or being forced to carry around a pink girly knapsack.

Along with Anthony and Davis, Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard of the Los Angeles Lakers, LeBron James of the Miami Heat, Blake Griffin and Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers, Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Kevin Love of the Minnesota Timberwolves, Tyson Chandler of the New York Knicks, Deron Williams of the Brooklyn Nets, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder will appear in the special.

The program will premiere at on October 29 at 7:00 pm as part of Disney XD’s sports-themed Nothing But Net Marathon, which also will include episodes of Kickin’ It, Lab Rats and Crash & Bernstein starting at 5:00 p.m.

Barea to Play for the Timberwolves?

Well, shiver me timbers! J.J. Barea could be playing ball for the Minnesota Timberwolves next season, according to multiple reports.

The 27-year-old Puerto Rican basketball star—who helped lead the Dallas Mavericks to the 2011 NBA title this summer— has been offered a four-year contract valued at $19 million by Minnesota, according to ESPN.

JJ Barea Dallas Mavericks

Barea had been pursued by the New York Knicks, but the team just couldn’t make Barea a more competitive offer after dipping under the salary cap to deal for Barea’s former teammate Tyson Chandler. NBA.com sources reported the Knicks offered him a two-year deal.

Meanwhile, Barea’s team since 2006, the Mavericks, only pitched him a one-year deal.

Barea was an important contributor in the Mavericks’ run to the NBA title, especially in the team’s Western Conference Semifinals sweep of the Los Angeles Lakers, where he averaged 11.5 points and 5.5 assists and shot 50-percent from the field.