Former NFL star Dwight Clark announces he has ALS

Published: Monday, March 20, 2017 @ 5:49 AM

FILE - In this Dec. 23, 2013, file photo, former San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Dwight Clark is honored at halftime of an NFL football game between the 49ers and the Atlanta Falcons in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar, File)
Tony Avelar/AP

Dwight Clark, a wide receiver for the San Francisco 49ers during the team’s heyday in the 1980s, disclosed Sunday that he has a debilitating illness.

The Mercury News said Clark was diagnosed in 2015.

The newspaper said Clark, a two-time Super Bowl winner, said in a note: “I have ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Those words are still very hard for me to say.”

Clark played nine seasons for the 49ers and was one of Joe Montana’s favorite targets. He had 6,750 receiving yards in his career, which is third on San Francisco’s all-time list, behind Terrell Owens and Jerry Rice.

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In the 1982 NFC Championship game, with less than a minute to go, Montana rolled to his right and threw a ball that most thought he was trying to throw away. But Clark jumped high and hauled it in, and the play was immediately anointed, “The Catch.” Sports Illustrated ranked it No. 33 on the list of 100 greatest plays of all-time.

The news comes on the same day the family of football legend and Hall-of-Famer Gale Sayers announced he has dementia.

Brady tells Kraft he's willing to play six or seven more years

Published: Tuesday, March 28, 2017 @ 7:40 AM

Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots and Patriots owner Robert Kraft talk following the Patriots 34-28 win over the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl 51 at NRG Stadium on February 5, 2017 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft shared a part of his recent conversation with Tom Brady Monday during the owner's meetings in Phoenix. 

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"As recently as two, three days ago, he assured me he'd be willing to play six, seven more years at the level he performed," said Kraft. "There's no one that would be happier than I, and our fan base... There's one player at the age of 40 who had one good year (Brett Favre) for the Vikings but he didn't do so well before. 

"I think Tommy's sustained excellence is just unbelievable and it's a lifestyle. You know, he's in training now. It's not like he's stopped. He works out. I remember after our first Super Bowl in '01, going down in the training room in the old Foxboro Stadium, three days after we won and he's in there with the music blaring working out, so he's really dedicated and the thing that's amazing about him is to this day, he hasn't changed as a human being in terms of how he relates to people but also how he works out, and the only thing that's probably changed is how he eats. I'm not sure avocado ice cream is right for me, but if I could look like him and perform half as well, I guess I'd do it." 

When asked about the future of Brady's backup, Jimmy Garoppolo, Kraft deferred to Bill Belichick's expertise. 
"I charge him to handle all football matters," said Kraft. "We're privileged to have the greatest quarterback in the history of the game and it looks like he's playing pretty solid and he's off the charts in my opinion and we're lucky to have him.

"That's the most important position on the team, needless to say. I don't think anyone can say, 'You've got too much depth at that position,' and I've charged Bill to make those decisions and I'll leave that with him." 

Malcolm Butler, the center of speculation regarding a possible trade with the Saints, remains an unrestricted free agent who has the option to sign a one-year offer sheet from the Patriots. 

"I hope he's with us and signs his offer sheet and plays for us," said Kraft. "I have a great affection for him and he actually was part of probably the greatest play in the history of our team, but there are a lot of people involved in that, on both sides."

When asked if the intention was to trade Butler, Kraft quickly said, "No," but also made it clear that he didn't want infringe on Butler's rights and re-stated his hope Butler returned with the Patriots in 2017.

As for Commissioner Roger Goodell, and whether he's welcome at the Patriots season opener in September? 

"I think I'll let you all ask him that," said Kraft. "Look, he's commissioner of the league. As we all know, he has the right to go wherever he wishes to go and if he wanted to come he's welcome to come. We're happy that we're celebrating our fifth banner and he can decide whether he wants to be there." 

Atlanta Hawks fan celebrates major dunk with silly dance

Published: Monday, March 27, 2017 @ 11:10 PM

The Brooklyn Nets may have beat the Atlanta Hawks 107-92 on Sunday, but a fan's trampoline dunk and the dance that followed has  amused many. (AP Photo/John Amis)
John Amis/AP

At the Atlanta Hawks game against the Brooklyn Nets Sunday in Atlanta, one fan got the crowd going with his dunk and his dance.

In a video posted on Facebook by the Hawks, a man dressed in jeans, a shirt and Nike shoes, first dribbled the ball from across the court and then made the jump of his life.

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His body reached heights taller than the basket, but he was able to make the daring basket and land on the pad below.

If that didn’t get the crowd going, his dance surely did.

He somersaulted off the pad and “butt-bumped” on the court and then finished with a full-body spin.

The clip has more than 368,000 views.

Some commented with skepticism on the video and suggested it was staged, comparing it to some of the “kiss cam fails” that have gone viral, like the proposal fail at a January Hawks game.

Whether or not he was a real fan, it was a fun sight for the crowd.

As for Sunday’s game, the Nets won 107-92. 

Watch the video of the dunk and dance below.

Suns’ Devin Booker scores 70 in loss to Celtics

Published: Saturday, March 25, 2017 @ 1:04 AM

Devin Booker (1) of the Phoenix Suns drives to the basket against the Celtics on Friday in Boston.
Brian Babineau/NBAE/Getty Images

The Phoenix Suns made history two nights in a row.

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The Suns started the youngest lineup ever Thursday, with an average of 21 years and 14 days. Worse, the Suns were down to eight players and lost by 26 to the Brooklyn Nets. The lineup was younger than several of the Sweet 16 teams still in the NCAA tournament. 

Friday also netted a loss, but Devin Booker kept them in it. He scored 70 points for the Suns, and helped Phoenix claw back from a 20-point first quarter deficit. Booker’s scoring eventually won over the Boston crowd, who began cheering for him as the Suns tried to keep the game going late, calling timeouts to give Booker a chance to score more points. He finished with the highest single-game total in franchise history, but lost to the Celtics 130-120.

Booker joined Wilt Chamberlain, David Robinson, David Thompson, Elgin Baylor and Kobe Bryant as players to reach 70 in one game.

Booker was 21 of 40 from the field, four of 11 from the 3-point range and was 24 of 26 shooting free throws. The former Kentucky star also had eight rebounds and six assists. He averaged 20.9 points per game before Friday. 

Angels’ defense sparkles to preserve combined no-hitter

Published: Saturday, March 25, 2017 @ 12:53 AM

Los Angeles Angels pitcher Abel De Los Santos finished off a no-hitter Friday night, backed by three great defensive plays.
Icon Sportswire/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Eight members of the Los Angeles Angels’ pitching staff combined for a no-hitter Friday night — thanks to three diving stops in the ninth inning — in a 4-0 victory against the Seattle Mariners.

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Angels defenders made three great defensive plays as 24-year-old Abel De Los Santos closed out the game, The Associated Press reported. First baseman C.J. Cron dived to his right for a grounder for the first out, right fielder Shane Robinson left his feet for a fly ball for the second out and then third baseman Sherman Johnson ended the game by sprawling to his left for a grounder and throwing to first.

"That defense was unbelievable," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "C.J. and Robbie in right field and Sherm at third base, that's a good way to cap off a good night, with some plays like that."

Starter Bud Norris struck out two in two perfect innings, and Jose Alvarez followed with a perfect inning. Jean Segura reached on catcher interference against Cam Bedrosian in the fourth, and then Andrew Bailey threw a perfect fifth. Austin Adams walked Zach Shank during the sixth inning, and then Drew Gagnon, Justin Anderson and De Los Santos ended the game with a perfect inning each.

"It's fun for the kids," Scioscia said. "De Los Santos, all those kids. They've all been in camp for a long time now. I think the way it happened. You see C.J. making a great pay and Robbie and then Sherm at third, that'll be a fun night for those guys."