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Around mega star Michael Jordan, Bulls teammates saw price of fame – Sportsnet.ca

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There were obvious perks to being teammates with Michael Jordan. Plenty of his Chicago teammates own multiple championship rings, they appear in some of the most-replayed NBA highlight clips of all time and they’ve got a lifetime of stories to tell about one of the best to ever take the court.

B.J. Armstrong also learned to move quickly — off the court, that is.

Whether it was during his rookie season when his stall in the Bulls locker room was adjacent to Jordan’s locker, or at a dinner with the six-time NBA champion and Kobe Bryant about a quarter-century later, Armstrong often found himself with a front-row seat to witness the true cost of fame for arguably the world’s most recognizable athlete.

“I remember as a young player I had this dream of playing in the NBA,” Armstrong, the longtime NBA guard and three-time NBA champion with the Bulls who is now a California-based sports agent, told The Associated Press. “And I vividly remember when I got to Chicago thinking, `You better be careful what you wish for, because you just might get it.’ Michael was the first person to show me what it meant to be a star … but you cannot be that star and not accept all the things that came with it.”

The strain of Jordan’s practically unprecedented level of stardom was one of the dominant themes in the latest installments of the ESPN and Netflix documentary “The Last Dance,” a 10-part series that showed episodes five and six on Sunday night.

Every story about Jordan always seemed to become a big story, and Jordan felt some things were overblown such as his infamous stances on not wanting to endorse political candidates publicly or going with his father to Atlantic City for a quick gambling trip during the 1993 Eastern Conference finals.

“We understood his pressures, he understood what we needed and that was just a special group of people who got together,” said Armstrong, who was a Jordan teammate for the 1991, 1992 and 1993 championships. “I don’t wish stardom on anyone. When I hear people say, `this guy’s a star,’ I always say, `good luck.’ What it takes to be a star at that level is beyond. Always having security around, dealing with tickets, he always had to be turned on. There’s no preparation for that.

“I always say, to this day, that the Air Jordan guy was great and God bless him. But I’ll always just remember Michael, the guy.”

Knowing that there would always be an enormous media horde at Jordan’s locker, Armstrong found himself getting dressed and out of the way quickly because otherwise his shoes would get stomped on and his space would be invaded.

If he forgot how that exercise went, he got a reminder in 2014.

Jordan was in Los Angeles and dinner with Armstrong was arranged. Armstrong got to the restaurant and found a third seat at the table, asked Jordan if a guest was coming and was told that Bryant would be joining them for the meal.

Armstrong and Bryant knew each other; they shared an agent, Arn Tellem, at one time. Bryant arrived and before long, he and Jordan were dissecting every nuance of each other’s game. In the end, they decided that Jordan would have a slight edge because his hands were bigger than Bryant’s.

“They were playing a virtual game of 1-on-1 at dinner,” Armstrong said. “I just sat there and listened to them talk about the love they had for the game. They were so sophisticated; they were talking about footwork, how they conditioned themselves, how they would box out. The detail that they had, the respect that they had for the game … I wish I could have seen them play in their prime.”

Word got out over the course of the evening that Jordan and Bryant were in the restaurant. Eventually, one got out through a back door, another through a side door and Armstrong was left to fight off a crowd.

“It was chaos,” Armstrong said. “And they were in basketball heaven.”

The seventh and eighth episodes of the documentary will air May 10, with the final two episodes on May 17.

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UFC 250 weigh-in results: Amanda Nunes, Felicia Spencer make weight for championship tilt – MMA Fighting

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Saturday’s featherweight title fight is on.

UFC champion Amanda Nunes and challenger Felicia Spencer both successfully made championship weight at Friday’s official weigh-ins for UFC 250, which takes place Saturday at the UFC APEX in Las Vegas.

This will be Nunes’s first defense of her featherweight title. She is also the UFC’s bantamweight champion and has defended that belt five consecutive times.

All 24 fighters on the card successfully made weight, including co-main event bantamweights Raphael Assuncao and Cody Garbrandt.

See the full UFC 250 weigh-in results below:

Main card (ESPN+ pay-per-view, 10 p.m. ET)

Amanda Nunes (145) vs. Felicia Spencer (144.5)

Raphael Assuncao (136) vs. Cody Garbrandt (136)

Aljamain Sterling (136) vs. Cory Sandhagen (135.5)

Neil Magny (171) vs. Rocco Martin (170.5)

Sean O’Malley (136) vs. Eddie Wineland (136)

Preliminary Card (ESPN and ESPN +, 8 p.m. ET)

Chase Hooper (145.5) vs. Alex Caceres (146)

Gerald Meerschaert (185.5) vs. Ian Heinisch (185.5)

Cody Stamann (145.5) vs. Brian Kelleher (146)

Charles Byrd (184.5) vs. Maki Pitolo (185.5)

Early Preliminary Card (ESPN+ and UFC Fight Pass, 6:30 p.m. ET)

Jussier Formiga (126) vs. Alex Perez (126)

Alonzo Menifield (205) vs. Devin Clark (205.5)

Evan Dunham (149.5) vs. Herbert Burns (149.5)

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Canadian Premier League moves forward on proposed strategy for a 2020 season – Canadian Premier League

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Toronto, ON – (June 5, 2020) – Today, the Canadian Premier League together with its owners, clubs and player leadership unanimously agreed on the structure and concept of a proposed strategy on the possibility of a 2020 CPL season.

The CPL feels an obligation on behalf of our players, teams, supporters and partners, to get back on the pitch and that can’t happen without the players input and support. The health and safety of all is the single most important issue and it is vital that appropriate health and safety protocols mandated by the local and Provincial officials are in place and agreed to by all stakeholders – players, clubs, owners, league and Canada Soccer, the CPL’s governing body.

“Our position since we began the journey of building the League from the ground up has been to work together,” said David Clanachan, Canadian Premier League Commissioner. “We started this process behind the scenes many weeks ago in consultation with our owners on the many details and protocols required to safely return to the field of play, and potential opportunities that may emerge.  This led to the next step of a collaborative discussion with the players this week.”

Clanachan continued, “It’s been gratifying and rewarding to see how much collective enthusiasm and co-operation there has been, and we have landed in an excellent and unanimous position with our clubs and club player leadership.”

“I and the rest of the squad are looking forward with excitement, energy and enthusiasm as we work towards a return to play. The CPL has gone to the extreme in ensuring player, staff, and club safety as we discuss a new format of play for the 2020 season,” said HFX Wanderers player Alex De Carolis. “We know this season has not turned out the way we expected but we are all excited for whatever format is presented. There will be no excuses or asterisk on this 2020 season, and we will be fully prepared for the opening kick-off. We want to compete for our fans and the city of Halifax as best we can!”

“As a player, I think the ultimate goal is to get back to playing as soon as possible but under the right conditions,” said Forge FC Captain, Kyle Bekker. “This unique situation has opened the door for us as players to have open and honest direct lines of communication with the league. We value being a part of this conversation and look forward to finding the best solution possible in getting back on the field.”

“Since the suspension of sanctioned soccer on 13 March, Canada Soccer has worked closely with all stakeholders including the Canadian Premier League and our Provincial and Territorial Member Associations to ensure the health and safety of all who participate in the game of soccer in Canada,” said Peter Montopoli, Canada Soccer’s General Secretary. “Through close collaboration with the Canadian Premier League and their clubs and the sharing of Canada Soccer’s Return to Soccer Guidelines, we are pleased that the league and its clubs have solidified their plan for Return to Soccer where the provincial and local governments have permitted a return to physical activities and look forward to a return to competition soccer through this initiative soon.”

The next step will be to engage with the fans and partners as the Canadian Premier League with its Clubs work collectively to find a solution for a 2020 CPL season.

-30-

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Toronto FC captain Michael Bradley says Donald Trump doesn't have 'a moral bone in his body' – The Globe and Mail

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In this Nov. 13, 2019, file photo, Toronto FC MLS soccer player Michael Bradley speaks to the media during an end of season availability in Toronto.

Chris Young/The Canadian Press

Toronto FC captain Michael Bradley pulled no punches Thursday, lamenting the “zero leadership” south of the border as the U.S. is ravaged by racial unrest.

The long-time U.S. skipper took square aim at President Donald Trump.

“We have a President who is completely empty. There isn’t a moral bone in his body,” Bradley told a news conference call.

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“There’s no leadership. There’s no leadership from the President, there’s no leadership from the Republican senators who have sat back and been totally complicit in everything he’s done for the last three and a half years.”

Bradley urged his fellow Americans to speak with their ballot in November, saying it was “impossible to overstate” the importance of the coming election.

“I just hope that people are able to go to the polls in November and think about more than just what is good for them, more than what is good for their own status, their own business, their own tax return. I hope that people can go to the polls and understand that in so many ways, the future of our country and the future of our democracy is at stake.

“We need as many people as possible to understand that at a real level, to think about what four more years with Trump as president, what that would mean, how terrible that would be for so many people.”

Referencing racial inequality and social injustice, Bradley added: “If we want any chance to start to fix those things, then Trump can’t be president, it’s as simple as that.”

The 32-year-old Bradley has run through the gamut of emotions while watching the violence and unrest unfold in the wake of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis while three police officers restrained him — one with his knee on Floyd’s neck.

“I’m angry, I’m horrified, I’m sad and I’m determined to do anything and everything I can to try to be a part of the fix,” he said. “Because it has to end. And we all have to be part of that fix.”

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He acknowledged that while he has much to learn on the issues, politicians, policy-makers and businesses have to be held accountable.

Bradley has criticized Trump before. In January, 2017, he said he was “sad and embarrassed” by Trump’s travel ban aimed at citizens of predominantly Muslim countries.

The TFC captain, while happy to see the MLS labour impasse over, noted there had been “some real difficult moments along the way.” That included a threat of a lockout from the league.

Such tactics “did not sit well with the players,” he said.

He also said there had been a frustrating absence of dialogue right from the beginning of talks, which he acknowledged played out against an unprecedented global threat.

“This, at a certain point for me, was about what’s right and what’s wrong in the middle of the pandemic. And the way to treat people and the way that you look after people. I kept coming back to that idea. That we have all put so much into growing the game in North America, at all levels — ownership, league office, executives coaches, players, fans.

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“Everybody is important to what we’re trying to do. To try to dismiss any of the entities that I just named would be short-sighted and disrespectful because the game is about everybody.”

He said he would have loved to have seen everyone get on the same page early on and find a way “to cut through the [bull].”

“To just say, ‘This is where we are right now. Nobody has a playbook. Nobody has any answers, but how are we going to come out better and stronger from all of this?’ … I think conversations would have carried so much more weight and I think we would have been able to avoid so much of the way certain things played out.”

Bradley underwent ankle surgery in January to repair an injury suffered in the MLS Cup final loss in Seattle on Nov 10. His rehab over, he was part of a small group training session Thursday.

“I’m doing well,” he said. “I’m continuing to make progress. … At this point, physically, I feel really good. My ankle feels really good. And now it’s just about training. Getting back into real training in a way that now prepares me for games.”

Still, he said injuries are an issue in the league’s return to play given the time that has passed since the league suspended play March 12.

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“That is a big concern,” he said. “And it’s not a big concern only amongst players. I know that has been a real topic amongst coaches and sports science staff and medical staff.”

While teams will do everything possible to get the players ready, a compressed schedule at the Florida tournament that awaits teams won’t help injury fears, he said.

“That certainly is a big question. Maybe the biggest question when you get past the initial health and safety stuff of COVID, among players and coaches and technical staff,” he said.

“How are we going to give ourselves the best chance to win, but also do it in a way where guys are at their highest level both technically and physically.”

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