Weekend Sports In Brief
BOSTON (AP) — NBA Hall-of-Famer Bill Russell died Sunday at the age of 88, with his wife, Jeannine, at his side, his family said in a statement posted on social media. No cause of death was immediately available; Russell, who had been living in the Seattle area, was not well enough to present the NBA Finals MVP trophy in June due to a long illness.
The most prolific winner in NBA history, Russell marched with Martin Luther King Jr., stood with Muhammad Ali and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama. The centerpiece of the Boston Celtics dynasty that won 11 championships in 13 years, Russell earned his last two NBA titles as a player-coach — the first Black coach in any major U.S. sport.
A Hall of Famer, five-time Most Valuable Player and 12-time All-Star, Russell in 1980 was voted the greatest player in the NBA history by basketball writers. He remains the sport’s most decorated champion — he also won two college titles and an Olympic gold medal — and an archetype of selflessness who won with defense and rebounding while others racked up gaudy scoring totals.
Often, that meant Wilt Chamberlain, the only worthy rival of Russell’s era and his prime competition for rebounds, MVP trophies and barroom arguments about who was better. Chamberlain, who died in 1999 at 63, had twice as many points, four MVP trophies of his own and is the only person in league history to grab more rebounds than Russell — 23,924 to 21,620.
But Russell dominated in the only stat he cared about: 11 championships to two.
NEW YORK (AP) — A decision on discipline for Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson following accusations of sexual misconduct is coming Monday.
Two people with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press that retired judge Sue L. Robinson has informed the NFL and the NFL Players’ Association she’s ready to issue a ruling on Watson’s disciplinary hearing that concluded a month ago. They spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the discussions are private.
Watson was accused of sexual harassment and assault by 24 massage therapists in Texas and has settled 20 of the civil lawsuits filed against him. Four lawsuits remain pending and the attorney representing the women has said he hopes to take them to trial sometime next spring. However, Watson agreed to settle three of the four, Houston attorney Tony Buzbee told ESPN early Monday.
Two separate Texas grand juries declined to indict Watson on criminal complaints stemming from the allegations.
Watson, who played for four seasons with Houston before being traded to Cleveland in March, has been practicing with the Browns while Robinson has spent weeks trying to determine whether the three-time Pro Bowl quarterback violated the NFL’s personal conduct policy and whether to impose discipline.
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — The San Francisco 49ers are finalizing a three-year contract extension with All-Pro receiver Deebo Samuel that will clear the way for their top offensive playmaker to return to the practice field.
A person familiar with the deal said Sunday the sides are putting the finishing touches on the contract a day before the Niners are set to hold their first padded practice of training camp. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal hadn’t been signed.
NFL Network first reported the sides had reached an agreement and said the new contract will be worth $71.55 million with $58.1 million in contract guarantees. The extension will allow Samuel to hit free agency in 2026 when he will be 30 years old.
The agreement ends a monthslong saga that began before the draft when Samuel publicly demanded a trade. He stayed away from the team for the voluntary portion of the offseason but reported for mandatory minicamp in June and training camp last week.
CHICAGO (AP) — Major League Baseball suspended Chicago White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson for three games Saturday and fined the All-Star an undisclosed amount for making contact with plate umpire Nick Mahrley during an argument.
Anderson was in the White Sox’s lineup hitting leadoff Saturday against Oakland after he appealed the suspension, and he’ll remain active until his appeal is heard. It’s the third time he’s been disciplined by MLB in the past year, including a one-game ban overturned on appeal earlier this season.
Anderson and manager Tony La Russa were ejected Friday in a 7-3 loss to the Athletics after a heated exchange over a called strike from reliever Domingo Acevedo that appeared to be high. The tip of Anderson’s helmet appeared to make contact with Mahrley.
Anderson had two singles on Saturday and was at the plate in the ninth when Gavin Sheets scored from third on Zach Jackson’s wild pitch to give Chicago a 3-2 win. Following the game, Anderson declined to speak to reporters about the suspension.
DETROIT (AP) — Tony Finau ran away with the Rocket Mortgage Classic on Sunday at Detroit Golf Club to become the first PGA Tour player in three years to win consecutive regular-season events.
Finau closed with a 5-under 67 for a five-shot victory and a tournament-record 26-under 262. Taylor Pendrith (72), Patrick Cantlay (66) and Cameron Young (68) tied for second.
Finau coasted to his fourth career victory, a third title in under a year. He was the 3M Open winner last week in Minnesota, where he rallied from five strokes back to win by three. Brendon Todd was the last to win two straight in the regular season, doing it in 2019.
BEDMINSTER, N.J. (AP) — Henrik Stenson’s decision that cost him the Ryder Cup captaincy paid large and immediate dividends when the Swede won the LIV Golf Invitational at Bedminster and picked up more than $4 million for three days’ work.
Staked to a three-shot lead going into the third and final round at Trump National, Stenson opened with a 20-foot birdie putt and never led anyone closer than two shots the rest of the way. He closed with a 2-under 69 for a two-shot victory over Matthew Wolf (64) and Dustin Johnson, who birdied the last hole for a 68.
Stenson, five years removed from beating a field of more than 20 players, picked up $4 million for winning and an additional $375,000 for his team finishing second. He finished at 11-under 202.
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Tyler Reddick had already grabbed his first Cup career victory this month, qualified for NASCAR’s playoffs and signed a big contract with a new team. Now he’s also got a victory at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Reddick closed the best month of his career with a win in overtime Sunday on the road course at Indy to give him two victories in the last five Cup races.
He broke through for his first career victory on July 3 at Road America in Wisconsin, then announced nine days later he was leaving Richard Childress Racing in 2024 to drive for 23XI, the team owned by Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan.
Win No. 2 seemed to be easily within reach as Reddick was comfortably out front for 15 late laps when debris from Christopher Bell’s car brought out the fourth caution of the race with only six to go. It set up a restart with three laps remaining and Reddick lined up alongside road course ace Chase Elliott, who briefly got past Reddick for the lead until he was spun for another caution that sent the race into overtime.
Reddick on the next restart had to hold off defending race winner AJ Allmendinger, who also won Saturday in the Xfinity Series. But Allmendinger was physically exhausted and struggling because his cooling device had not worked the entire race, and he hardly challenged Reddick at all.
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Alexander Rossi snapped a 49-race losing streak that dated all the way back to the 2019 IndyCar season by winning at one of his favorite tracks — ensuring he ends his Andretti Autosport career on a high note.
Rossi won Saturday on the road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where his 2016 victory in the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 jumpstarted his American motorsports career. Rossi’s last victory was at Road America in the 10th race of the 2019 season.
The long slump led him to seek a fresh start and the California native will leave Andretti at the end of his seventh season to drive next year for Arrow McLaren SP. It was Michael Andretti who gave Rossi a shot in IndyCar when he’d washed out of Formula One and returned to the United States seeking to continue his career.
NEW YORK (AP) — Jake Paul’s boxing match at Madison Square Garden next week has been canceled after his promotional team said opponent Hasim Rahman Jr. did not intend to honor the contracted weight limit.
Most Valuable Promotions said Saturday that Rahman had signed a contract July 5 to weigh a maximum of 200 pounds. However, it said in a statement that a weight check Friday showed that he had only lost one pound since weighing 216 then and that the New York State Athletic Commission said it would not sanction the bout at less than 205 pounds.
Though Paul agreed to move forward with the fight at that weight, MVP said Rahman’s team told them Saturday it would pull out of the fight unless it was agreed to at 215 pounds.
Therefore, the entire Aug. 6 card was scrapped.