Julen Agirrezabala Makes Great Save to Help Athletic Bilbao Claim Copa del Rey Title

Julen Agirrezabala is celebrating a massive save that helped his team win a historic title…

The 23-year-old Spanish professional footballer and goalkeeper for Athletic Bilbao saved a spot kick from Mallorca‘s Manu Morlanes as Athletic Club beat Mallorca 4-2 on penalties on Saturday to win their 24th Copa del Rey title and their first since 1984, ending a 40-year major silverware drought in a nerve-wracking final in Seville.

Julen AgirrezabalaAlong with Agirrezabala’s great save, Nemanja Radonjic missed the goal with his effort.

Meanwhile Athletic’s penalty takers were flawless in their execution, scoring all of their first four.

Iker Muniain received the trophy from Spanish King Felipe VI before lifting it high for his team and fans to celebrate.

Since their last Copa del Rey triumph, Athletic had lost six straight finals, including in 2020 and 2021.

Only Barcelona and their 31 Copas have more than Athletic, despite the team from Bilbao fielding players only from or near Spain’s northern Basque Country region.

Athletic’s only previous silverware in the last 40 years has been two Spanish Supercopa triumphs, in 2015 and 2021.

“We’ve made history. The fans deserve it… I’ve dreamed a lot about this,” an emotional man-of-the-match Nico Williams told TVE. “Me, my family, my brother. I did it for my family, with what we’ve fought for. I’m happy to make history with this club.”

Valverde, who won two LaLiga titles and a Copa del Rey with Barcelona, said Saturday’s triumph was the most meaningful of his career.

“This is incredible. This doesn’t compare to any other [trophy],” he told Moistar.

“With what the stadium was like, what this competition means for our fans, the years we’ve been looking for it … and in the end, with the penalties, something they’re specialists in … It means a lot to this club.”

Athletic Bilbao, Copa del Rey 2024NBA great Steve Nash, a minority owner of Mallorca, was at the game, as well as Rafael Nadal, a native of the island of Mallorca. Each club had 20,000 tickets for traveling fans at the packed 57,000-seat La Cartuja Stadium. Some 40,000 more fans, mostly for Athletic, were expected to descend on the southern city without tickets.

Even though Athletic are fifth in LaLiga and Mallorca down in 15th place, there was little difference between them in the final. Javier Aguirre, Mallorca’s journeyman coach, succeeded in nullifying the more explosive attack of Valverde‘s Athletic.

The game had finished 1-1 after extra time. Despite Athletic dominating proceedings with almost 70% of possession, Dani Rodríguez fired in a curling shot after a couple of other efforts had been charged down, giving Mallorca the lead in the 21st minute.

But Oihan Sancet equalized in the 50th minute before Athletic laid siege to Mallorca’s goal.

They were wasteful, however, missing several chances to score late on, including Williams hitting the post in extra time. But a gritty Mallorca outfit held strong in defense and were a threat in counter-attacks as well, before finally succumbing in the shootout.

“The first thing I have to do is to congratulate Athletic and its fans. They have been waiting a long time for this,” Mallorca scorer Rodríguez said. “I am moved because I am very proud of my teammates and our supporters who accompanied us.

“Our dream was to win this cup. We tried to, but it wasn’t to be.”

Nicky Jam Partners with NBA & Mitchell & Ness to Launch Limited Edition Miami Heat Apparel Collection

Nicky Jam is bringing the fashion heat

The NBA and Mitchell & Ness has launched a limited-edition apparel collection in collaboration with the 42-year-old Puerto Rican and Dominican American urban singer-songwriter featuring the Miami Heat.

Nicky JamNicky Jam “provided design input” on the merchandise — including a Heat hoodie, Hardwood Classics jersey, t-shirt, shorts and a hat, according to the press release.

Nicky Jam, Miami Heat“I’m thrilled to collaborate with the NBA and Mitchell & Ness on this new collection, bringing Miami flavor to life with the Heat’s vibrant colors complemented by locally relevant design elements,” the “El Perdón” singer expressed in a statement. “These pieces are a testament to the NBA’s cultural impact extending beyond the court into music and style. As my fans know, I’m always representing the Latin community, and it’s exciting to build on the league’s commitment to inclusiveness and diversity.”

Check out the collection here.

Pau Gasol Officially Inducted into Basketball Hall of Fame

Pau Gasol has officially entered the Hall…

The 43-year-old Spanish former professional basketball player, a six-time NBA All-Star and a four-time All-NBA team selection, has been enshrined into Basketball Hall of Fame alongside Dirk Nowitzki, Tony Parker during a ceremony held at Symphony Hall on Saturday.

Pau GasolGasol shouted out his national team — “mi familia” — before joining what might be the greatest international class of inductees in the Springfield shrine’s history.

“I want to give a special mention to those first Europeans, who came here, across the ocean, who took a chance,” said Gasol, who fell in love with the sport when the 1992 Olympic Games were held in his hometown, Barcelona. “I was 12. It changed my life. The Dream Team showed us how basketball could be played.”

In 2002, Gasol was the NBA‘s first international rookie of the year.

Gasol played his last two healthy seasons with the San Antonio Spurs.

Gasol thanked the late Kobe Bryant, his teammate on two Los Angeles Lakers NBA championship teams, who died in a 2020 helicopter crash along with his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and seven others.

 

“I wouldn’t be here without you, brother,” Gasol said. “I wish more than anything that you and Gigi were here today with us. I miss you and love you.”

The inductees received their Hall of Fame rings and jackets Friday at a news conference.

Jessica Alba To Take Part in Creative Artists Agency’s Amplify Summit 2023

Jessica Alba is amplifying her voice…

The 42-year-old half-Mexican American actress and entrepreneur has joined the list of Hollywood speakers and attendees for the Creative Artists Agency’s Amplify Summit 2023.

Jessica AlbaThe invitation-only event kicks off on June 26 in Ojai, Calif., and will convene leading artists, thought-leaders, and executives of color from the industries of entertainment, sports, media, brands and technology.

While there, invitees will have the opportunity to explore business and social justice initiatives, as well as potential collaborations that could “accelerate transformational change in rooms of leadership and popular culture,” according to the event’s organizers.

CAA Amplify has long utilized CAA’s role as conveners and connectors to create business opportunities for our communities, bringing decision makers together in one room,” CAA’s Natalie Tran, who has been a lead organizer for the summit since its inception. “Now, more than ever, the collective expertise and influence of the CAA Amplify network are essential to drive stronger collaborations in storytelling and partnerships that will help spark change across our industries.”

The complete list of attendees frequently straddle multiple industries and titles, and have notable award nominations and wins.

That includes actors Lupita Nyong’o, Steven Yeun, Xolo Maridueña, Thuso Mbedu, Yara Shahidi and Jillian Mercado; directors Ava DuVernay and Blitz Bazawule; showrunners Quinta Brunson and Sierra Teller Ornelas; recording artists Chloe and Halle Bailey, and Becky G.; comedians Roy Wood Jr. and Ego Nwodim; NBA pro-athletes Dwyane Wade and Chris Paul; author Anand Giridharadas; media personality Tabitha Brown; The Honest Company founder Alba and CEO Carla VernónPlanned Parenthood president Alexis McGill Johnson; president of the Ford Foundation Darren Walker; and co-founder and CEO of Inflection AIMustafa Suleyman, among other leaders.

Carmelo Anthony Officially Announces Retirement from NBA

It’s the end of an era for Carmelo Anthony

The 38-year-old Puerto Rican professional basketball player, the star forward who led Syracuse to an NCAA championship in his lone college season and went on to spend 19 years in the NBA, has announced his retirement.

Carmelo AnthonyAnthony, who was not in the NBA this season, retires as the No. 9 scorer in league history.

Only LeBron JamesKareem Abdul-JabbarKarl Malone, Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, Dirk NowitzkiWilt Chamberlain and Shaquille O’Neal scored more than Anthony, who finishes his career with 28,289 points.

“Now the time has come for me to say goodbye … to the game that gave me purpose and pride,” Anthony said in a videotaped message announcing his decision — one he called “bittersweet.”

Anthony’s legacy has long been secure: He ends his playing days after being selected as one of the 75 greatest players in NBA history, a 10-time NBA All-Star, a past scoring champion and a six-time All-NBA selection.

And while he never got to the NBA Finals — he only played in the conference finals once, with Denver against the eventual champion Los Angeles Lakers in 2009 — Anthony also knew what it was like to be a champion.

He was the Most Outstanding Player of the 2003 Final Four when he led Syracuse to the national championship, and he helped the U.S. win Olympic gold three times — at Beijing in 2008, at London in 2012 and at Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

His college coach at Syracuse, the now-retired Jim Boeheim, tweeted a “welcome to retirement” message to his former star.

“I am honored to have been a part of your legendary career, and I can’t wait to see what’s next for you,” Boeheim wrote.

Anthony played in 31 games in four appearances at the Olympics, the most of any U.S. men’s player ever. Anthony’s 37 points against Nigeria in the 2012 games is a USA Basketball men’s record at an Olympics, as are his 10 3-pointers from that game and his 13-for-13 effort from the foul line against Argentina in 2008.

“Carmelo Anthony is one of the NBA’s all-time great players and ambassadors,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver said. “We congratulate him on a remarkable 19-year career and look forward to seeing him in the Hall of Fame.”

Anthony will remain part of international basketball for at least a few more months; Anthony is one of the ambassadors to the Basketball World Cup, FIBA‘s biggest event, which will be held this summer in the Philippines, Japan and Indonesia.

“I remember the days when I had nothing, just a ball on the court and a dream of something more,” Anthony said. “But basketball was my outlet. My purpose was strong, my communities, the cities I represented with pride and the fans that supported me along the way. I am forever grateful for those people and places because they made me Carmelo Anthony.”

Anthony was drafted No. 3 overall by Denver in 2003, part of the star-studded class that included James at No. 1, Hall of Famer Chris Bosh at No. 4 and soon-to-be Hall of Famer Dwyane Wade — he gets officially enshrined this summer — at No. 5.

Anthony will join them at the Hall of Fame before long — the Hall of Fame said he will be eligible for the 2026 class. He averaged 22.5 points in his 19 seasons, spending the bulk of those years with the Denver Nuggets and New York Knicks. Anthony has long raved about his time with the Knicks, and what it was like playing at Madison Square Garden, especially as a kid who was born in Brooklyn.

He was the NBA’s leading scorer with 28.7 points per game in 2012-13, when the Knicks won 54 games and the Atlantic Division title.

“The Garden,” Anthony said in 2014. “They call it The Mecca for a reason.”

Anthony spent his first 7½ NBA seasons in Denver, becoming the third-leading scorer in franchise history. His Nuggets teams had seven consecutive winning seasons and earned seven playoff berths, but they advanced in the postseason just once, ending in that six-game conference finals loss to the Lakers in 2009.

“He wore that Nuggets jersey with pride and did a lot of great things while in a Denver Nuggets uniform, as well as all the other uniforms he wore in an illustrious career,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said Monday before Denver faced the Lakers in Game 4 of the Western Conference finals, hoping to clinch the franchise’s first NBA Finals appearance. “When you think of Carmelo, you think of one of the more elite scorers in NBA history, a guy that from the D.C. metro area goes to Syracuse and wins a championship and comes into the NBA and was just a bucket-getter from day one.”

Anthony also played for Portland, Oklahoma City, Houston and ended his career with the Lakers last season. He went unsigned this year, and now his retirement is official.

He said in his retirement address that he’s looking forward to watching the development of his son Kiyan, a highly rated high school shooting guard.

“People ask what I believe my legacy is,” Anthony said. “It’s not my feats on the court that come to mind, all the awards or praise. Because my story has always been more than basketball. My legacy, my son … I will forever continue through you. The time has come for you to carry this torch.”

Pau Gasol Among the Finalists for 2023 Class of Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame

Pau Gasol is joining the class…

The 42-year-old Spanish former professional basketball player is among the list of finalists for the 2023 class of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, it was revealed on Friday as part of NBA All-Star weekend.

Pau GasolGasol, a six-time NBA All-Star and a four-time All-NBA team selection, appears on a roster of finalists that includes Dwyane Wade, Dirk Nowitzki and Gregg Popovich.

“I love the class,” Jerry Colangelo, chairman for the Hall of Fame, said in a news conference. “I think this is a loaded class. … I think this is unique in that we have a lot of first time people and it’s unusual when somebody makes it on the first ballot. But this is going to be that unique of class. Because there could be four or five first timers. So, I’m very excited about it.”

Gasol won two championships with the Los Angeles Lakers alongside Kobe Bryant and was a two-time Olympic silver medalist for Spain.

Other player finalists include former San Antonio Spurs point guard and 2007 Finals MVP Tony Parker; Becky Hammon, a six-time All-Star in her WNBA career; and Jennifer Azzi, a collegiate national champion at Stanford, an Olympic gold medalist for USA Basketball in 1996 and a five-year WNBA veteran.

Other coaching finalists included Purdue men’s basketball all-time wins leader Gene Keady; Marian Washington, who amassed 560 wins in 31 years coaching the University of Kansas women’s team; Gary Blair, who led Texas A&M to the women’s championship in 2011; Gene Bess, who won 1,300 games and two national championships with Three Rivers Community College; and David Hixon, who won 826 games in 42 years at Amherst College.

The inductees for the August ceremony in Springfield, Massachusetts, will be announced as part of the NCAA Final Four festivities in Houston in April.

Induction is determined through voting conducted by an honors committee comprised of 24 members. A finalist must receive a minimum of 18 votes from the committee to earn entrance to the Hall.

Gasol was present for the news conference and sat in the front row next to Wade while NBA TV‘s Matt Winer hosted the event.

“As Kobe said at one point, ‘It’s really about the journey,'” Gasol said. “These types of recognitions, which are an amazing honor, they come along when you do things very, very well for a long time. And when you love what you do.”

Anderson Varejão Returning to Cleveland Cavaliers in Player Development Role

Anderson Varejão is heading back to Cleveland…

One of the most popular players in Cleveland Cavaliers’ history, the 40-year-old Brazilian former professional basketball player has been hired as a player development consultant and global ambassador for the team that he played with for 14 NBA seasons.

Anderson Varejão Known for his hustle and frizzy hair, Varejão, affectionately nicknamed “Wild Thing” for his rambunctious playing style, was with the Cavaliers from 2004 to 2015.

He spent two seasons with the Golden State Warriors before the center returned to Cleveland after a three-year break from the NBA.

He retired after playing five games in the 2020-21 season.

Varejão had stayed connected to the organization, making periodic appearances at practices and games.

In his new role, Varejão will help develop players on the floor while also working with coaches and front-office members during the season. The Brazil native will also travel to broaden the team’s global reach, especially in Latin America.

“Andy embodies all that the city of Cleveland stands for and beyond, and we couldn’t be more excited to bring his experience, leadership and character back into the Cleveland Cavaliers family,” said Koby Altman, the Cavaliers’ president of basketball operations. “His infectious work ethic and commitment to our community have earned him his rightful place in the fabric of this organization and all of Northeast Ohio, and his impact on the game internationally will benefit our global outreach.”

The Cavaliers plan to honor Varejão with a halftime presentation during their Jan. 21 game against the Milwaukee Bucks.

“I am thrilled and honored once again to be a formal part of the Cavaliers family,” Varejão said. “This is a unique opportunity to start a new chapter of my life with the team I love and in the city I love.”

Varejão was a key member on two 60-win teams in Cleveland. He averaged 7.5 points and 7.5 rebounds in 596 games for the Cavaliers, who acquired him in a 2004 trade with the Orlando Magic.

In 2012-13, Varejão averaged a career-best 14.4 rebounds per game, and he ranks in the top 10 in several offensive categories for the Cavaliers.

Mariah Carey Signs On as Co-Producer of New Broadway Musical Comedy “Some Like It Hot”

Things are heating up for Mariah Carey

The 52-year-old half-Venezuelan American Grammy-winning singer and actress has signed on as a co-producer of the new musical comedy Some Like It Hot, becoming the latest in a trend of celebrities lending their clout and popularity to support Broadway productions during previews.

Mariah Carey“When Neil Meron shared this new take on the beloved film,” said Carey in a statement, “I knew I had to be a part of it. To see how this show continues to expand on the film’s legacy – pushing boundaries, promoting inclusion, celebrating diversity – I’m proud to help bring Some Like It Hot for today’s world to new audiences.”

Currently in previews at the Shubert TheatreSome Like It Hot officially opens on Sunday, December 11.

Earlier this month, NBA champ Dwyane Wade, actor Gabrielle Union and Drag Race star RuPaul joined the producing team of Ain’t No Mo, a Lee Daniels production of Jordan E. Cooper’s comedy in previews at the Belasco Theatre (opening Dec. 1).

Last season, Nick Jonas and Priyanka Chopra Jonas joined the producing team of Douglas LyonsBroadway comedy Chicken & Biscuits while it was in previews at Circle in the Square Theatre.

The impact of celebrity producers – and their exacts roles, duties and financial commitments – is, as yet, unclear. Despite the high-profile additions of the Jonases last fall, Chicken & Biscuits closed more than a month early after struggling at the box office (and with Covid).

Carey, who has won multiple Grammy Awards and sold more than 200 million albums, said she was drawn to Some Like It Hot – a musical adaptation of the classic 1959 film comedy – in part due to her lifelong love of the film’s star Marilyn Monroe.

“I first became familiar with this story through the timeless film starring Marilyn Monroe,” she said in the statement. “She’s been an important touchstone throughout my life, so much so that I acquired her treasured baby grand white piano at an auction.”

The stage adaptation features a book by Matthew López (The Inheritance) and Amber Ruffin (The Amber Ruffin Show), music by Marc Shaiman, lyrics by Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman and direction and choreography by Casey Nicholaw. The cast includes Christian Borle, J. Harrison Ghee and, in the role of Sugar originated by Monroe, Adrianna Hicks.

Some Like It Hot is produced by The Shubert Organization and Neil Meron and co-produced by MGM on Stage, Roy Furman, Robert Greenblatt, James L. Nederlander, Kenny Leon, Hunter Arnold, John Gore Organization, The Dalgleish Library Company Group, Sheboygan Conservatory Partners, Ambassador Theatre Group Productions, Bob Boyett, Cue to Cue Productions, Janet and Marvin Rosen, The Araca Group, Concord Theatricals, Marc Howard, Independent Presenters Network, Juanita Jordan, Jujamcyn Theaters, Henry R. Muñoz III, Ostar, and, now, Carey.

Willy Hernangomez Named Tournament MVP as He Helps Lead Spain to EuroBasket Gold

Willy Hernangomez is celebrating a valuable performance…

The 28-year-old Spanish professional basketball player, who plays for the NBA’s New Orleans Pelicans, scored 14 points as Spain topped France 88-76 on Sunday to win the EuroBasket gold medal.

Willy HernangomezFor his performance throughout the week, Willy was named the tournament MVP.

Meanwhile, his brother Juancho Hernangomez scored 27 points in the gold medal game.

It was Spain’s fourth European championship in its past six tries, all those golds coming under coach Sergio Scariolo.

“It’s easy to say that we are extremely happy,” Scariolo said. “We got into this championship in eighth place in the power ranking, and we managed to climb, step by step. … It’s been amazing now to see we are above all those great teams.”

Spain EuroBasket 2022 TeamLorenzo Brown scored 14 points and had 11 assists for Spain, while Jaime Fernandez scored 13.

Evan Fournier led France — which also dropped the gold-medal game at the 2020 Tokyo Games to the U.S. last summer — with 23 points, while Thomas Heurtel scored 16 and Guerschon Yabusele added 13.

“Spain played better from start to finish,” said Fournier, who plays with the New York Knicks. “They had a clear game plan, and we did not execute ours well enough. … We never really had control of the game. They just played better, man, period.”

This was supposed to be a rebuilding summer for Spain. Pau and Marc Gasol, the longtime leaders of the program, retired from international play following a quarterfinal loss to the U.S. at the Tokyo OLympics. Sergio Gonzalez also decided last summer was the right time to walk away, after 16 years with the national team. Sergio Llull and Ricky Rubio, two more of the team’s veterans, couldn’t play because of injuries.

The winning tradition continued anyway. Spain is now the reigning Basketball World Cup (won in China in 2019) and EuroBasket champion. It has also medaled in 10 of its past 11 EuroBasket appearances.

“It’s hard to explain with words how I feel,” said Willy Hernangomez. “I’m feeling extremely proud of my teammates, of my coaching staff, of all the Spanish federation from the top to the bottom. We much deserve this gold medal.”

But this young team also had the exuberance of youth: As Scariolo and Willy Hernangomez were trying to hold a postgame news conference, the rest of Spain’s roster crashed the session, armed with water bottles, and soaked the MVP and their coach.

“That’s the dark side of having a young team,” Scariolo said, as he happily dabbed at his face with a towel. “I don’t see Pau Gasol throwing water around.”

Juancho Hernangomez was 6-for-6 from 3-point range in a six-minute span of the second quarter, helping Spain extend what was a 23-14 lead into a 45-26 edge with just about three minutes left in the half.

It was perhaps a mildly unlikely source for a 3-point barrage. He had made a total of 12 3s in his eight previous games in this year’s EuroBasket tournament, and his high in any NBA game is six.

“We needed him today and he was there for us,” Willy Hernangomez said.

An 11-0 run helped France cut what had been a 21-point deficit to just 47-37 at the half — and the momentum carried into the third quarter.

Yabusele’s jumper with 6:52 left in the third got France within 49-46, and everything seemed to be shifting.

But Spain held on. Juancho Hernangomez’s seventh 3-pointer with 7:29 left made it a 71-61 game, and the outcome wasn’t in doubt again.

“I cannot be happier as a basketball coach,” Scariolo said.

Los Angeles Lakers to Retire Pau Gasol’s No. 16 Jersey

Pau Gasol’s name and number are headed to the rafters…

The 42-year-old Spanish former professional basketball player will join a long line of legendary players when his number is retired in the Los Angeles Lakers‘ rafters next season.

Pau Gasol

The Lakers will honor Gasol’s No. 16 on March 7 when it hosts the Memphis Grizzlies, the team has announced as part of its schedule release for 2022-23.

Gasol, a six-time NBA All-Star and a four-time All-NBA team selection, was traded from the Memphis to L.A. in 2008 and teamed with Kobe Bryant to lead the Lakers to three straight NBA Finals appearances and two championships.

Gasol played in L.A. until 2014 when he signed with the Chicago Bulls as a free agent. He earned three of his six career All-Star appearances in his time with the franchise.

He retired from basketball last fall after a final season in his native Spain.

Gasol’s jersey will hang alongside Hall of Fame centers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Shaquille O’Neal and Wilt Chamberlain as well as Bryant, Magic JohnsonJerry WestElgin BaylorJames Worthy, Gail Goodrich and Jamaal Wilkes.