Pacers president Bird named NBA Executive of Year
Indiana Pacers president Larry Bird was voted the NBA’s Executive of the Year on Wednesday, becoming the first person to be named the league’s top executive, coach and Most Valuable Player.
“It was a long journey, it was a painful journey,” Bird said of his job rebuilding the Pacers, who are the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference and are tied with the Miami Heat in their second-round playoff series. “But now we think it’s going to pay dividends.”
The three-time MVP and Hall of Famer received 12 first-place votes and 88 total points from a panel of team executives throughout the NBA. San Antonio’s R.C. Buford (56 points) finished a distant second, followed by Los Angeles Clippers GM Neil Olshey (55).
Bird coached his home-state Pacers to a 147-67 record in three seasons and their only NBA Finals appearance in 2000. He was the Coach of the Year in 1998, following his first season.
Also: The NBA fined Lakers forward Devin Ebanks and center Andrew Bynum.
Ebanks was fined $25,000 for his actions before and after his ejection in the Lakers’ 119-90 Game 1 loss Monday at Oklahoma City. He was thrown out for saying something to an official in getting a technical foul, then ripped off his jersey as he walked back toward the locker room.
Bynum was penalized $15,000 for not making himself available to the media following the Lakers’ practice Tuesday.
Two people familiar with the situation said the Charlotte Bobcats will interview Orlando assistant Patrick Ewing today for their head coaching position. Bobcats owner Michael Jordan is friends with Ewing, but is not expected to sit in on the interview.
Denver Nuggets forward Al Harrington underwent surgery to fix a torn meniscus in his right knee. Harrington is expected to be back on the court in time for summer workouts.
Arbitrator hears arguments on players’ discipline
Arbitrator Shyam Das heard arguments from NFL and players union lawyers on whether commissioner Roger Goodell can discipline players for actions that occurred before the league’s current labor agreement was signed in August.
The hearing, which stemmed from the NFL’s bounty investigation of the New Orleans Saints, lasted more than two hours. Outside counsel Dan Nash argued the NFL’s position, and lawyer Jeff Kessler spoke for the NFL Players Association.
The union filed a grievance after Goodell suspended four current and former Saints players this month in connection with the bounty probe. Former Saints Anthony Hargrove, who was suspended for eight games, and Scott Fujita, who was suspended for three, attended the grievance hearing. Also suspended were current Saints Jonathan Vilma for the entire 2012 season and Will Smith for four games.
Das did not say when he would rule. All four players have appealed their punishments.
Also: A San Diego restaurant opened by Junior Seau in 1996 closed its doors, two weeks after the NFL star’s suicide. Trustees of Seau’s estate said they made the decision to close Seau’s The Restaurant in Mission Valley, Calif.
Trustee Bette Hoffman said in a statement that the decision was made to honor Seau’s legacy. She also said trustees felt the restaurant’s future profitability could be in question without Seau’s leadership. Seau shot himself to death in his home on May 2.
In an unrelated matter, police recovered a bicycle stolen from Seau’s Oceanside, Calif., home in a burglary days after the former NFL star’s suicide.
Oceanside police Lt. Leonard Mata said an unidentified woman called police after seeing a bicycle that matched the description of the one stolen from Seau’s garage on May 7.
Police confirmed it was the stolen bicycle and contacted the man in possession of it. He told police he bought the bike from an unidentified man in Oceanside on May 8. The man with the bike was ruled out as a suspect.
A judge in McKinney, Texas, ordered Hall of Famer Deion Sanders to pay $10,550 in monthly child support as part of his divorce. Sanders and his estranged wife, Pilar, agreed to share custody of their three children for the summer.
Former NFL defensive end Johnny Jolly was given 10 years of “shock probation” by a Houston judge, just six months after he was sentenced to prison for violating terms of his probation for a drug conviction. Jolly, 29, is serving an indefinite suspension from the NFL. His contract with Green Bay ran out after the 2011 season.
Jolly applied for “shock probation,” which allows convicts to ask to be released early on probation after experiencing the shock or trauma of being in jail.
Wife of fired Syracuse aide might file suit vs. ESPN
The wife of fired Syracuse assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine claimed that ESPN maliciously trampled her reputation by broadcasting salacious stories about her and about claims that her husband molested ball boys.
Laurie Fine held a news conference and threatened to file a libel lawsuit in federal court against the cable network and two employees. ESPN in November broke the story of two former Syracuse ball boys, Robert Davis and Michael Lang, who claimed they were molested by Bernie Fine decades ago.
Laurie Fine’s lawyer, Lawrence Fisher of Pittsburgh, repeatedly declined to answer specific questions and said he was discussing the complaint with Bristol, Conn.-based ESPN. He has not filed a lawsuit.
ESPN spokesman Josh Krulewitz said the complaint is without merit and the network stands by its reporting.
Also: Jerry Sandusky again asked a judge to throw out the child sexual abuse charges against him, arguing that some counts are too vague to defend and others involve alleged victims whose identities have not been determined. The former Penn State assistant football coach’s trial is scheduled to begin in less than three weeks, although the judge has not ruled on a separate motion from Sandusky asking for a delay.
Prosecutors in South Bend, Ind., charged Notre Dame linebacker Carlo Calabrese with a misdemeanor count of intimidation for allegedly making threatening remarks to a police officer after quarterback Tommy Rees was arrested near an off-campus party on May 3.
Atlantic Coast Conference commissioner John Swofford said the possibility of Florida State leaving the league was not brought up “in any formal way” during this week’s league meetings. There have been rumblings that the Seminoles possibly could leave the ACC for the Big 12.
Brigham Young’s season-opening football game against Washington State, which was to be Sept. 1 in Provo, Utah, was moved to Aug. 30 – a Thursday – and will be televised nationally on ESPN.
Tickets for the Las Vegas Invitational college basketball tournament, scheduled for Nov. 23 and 24 at Orleans Arena, will go on sale at 10 a.m. Saturday. This year’s field includes Wisconsin, Creighton, Arkansas and Arizona State, with the other four teams to be announced.
Lamont Peterson will try to explain to Nevada boxing regulators why he failed a doping test, prompting the cancellation of what would have been a rematch Saturday against Amir Khan at Mandalay Bay, with Peterson’s WBA and IBF junior welterweight titles at stake.
Nevada Athletic Commission executive Keith Kizer said Peterson will appear before the commission the week of June 13.
Suspended standout jockey Robby Albarado lost his initial bid to resume his riding career, following his May 4 arrest on an assault charge. A committee of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission turned down the veteran rider’s request to have his suspension lifted.
The Southern Nevada Amateur and Senior Amateur, the second major on the Southern Nevada Golf Association schedule, begins at 7 a.m. today at Legacy Golf Club with the seniors. The Southern Nevada Amateur begins Saturday. Both events are 36 holes and will serve as qualifiers for the Nevada State Amateur, set for July 9 at TPC Summerlin.