Jeremy Lin meets fans at Yuexing Global Harbor on Thursday in Shanghai, China.
Jeremy Lin poses for photos with a child during his visit at an orphanage and rehabilitation center that serves children with congenital illnesses such as cerebral palsy in Tianjin, China, on Saturday.
Jeremy Lin should be a basketball with children while he visits an orphanage and rehabilitation center that serves children with congenital illnesses such as cerebral palsy in Tianjin, China
Jeremy Lin plays with children during his visit to an orphanage and rehabilitation center in Tianjin, China.
Jeremy Lin autographs a ball during his visit to an orphanage and rehabilitation center in Tianjin, China
Jeremy Lin poses for photos with a child after he signed his name on a T-shirt.
Jeremy Lin plays with children during his visit at an orphanage and rehabilitation center that serves children with congenital illnesses such as cerebral palsy in Tianjin, China.
Jeremy Lin makes a funny face to draw a smile from a young child.
Jeremy Lin poses for a photo with a child.
Jeremy Lin helps a child make a basket.
Jeremy Lin makes noodles with children
Jeremy Lin poses for photos as he and a child play with dough.
Fans prepare a banner Jeremy Lin while they wait for his arrival at the Beijing International Airport on Friday.
Jeremy Lin, center, his mother Shirley Lin, left, and his father Gie-ming Lin, right, take their seats during their visit to an orphanage and rehabilitation center in Tianjin, China.
Jeremy Lin, right, gives instruction during a basketball camp in Beijing, China on Sunday.
Fans hold a banner featuring Jeremy Lin while they wait for his arrival at the Beijing International Airport on Friday.
Jeremy Lin, center, shows his skills to young players during a basketball camp.
Jeremy Lin works with campers.
A fan holds a cartoon of Jeremy Lin as she waits for his arrival at an airport in Beijing on Friday.
Jeremy Lin speaks to the media after arriving at an airport in Beijing.
BY Ultimate Rockets / PUBLISHED AUGUST 26, 2013 / http://blog.chron.com/ultimaterockets
I play basketball, but I work just as hard off the court in my community activities as I do when I'm on the court playing my sport.
I love playing the game, certainly, but I also recognize that it has given me the platform to really fuel my passion. Ever since I watched my dad work at community functions when he was in the NBA; and given my own hearing deficiency and troubles with self-esteem as a young girl -- I have been passionate about being able to impact the lives of kids.
Winning the WNBA's Community Assist Award is validation of my efforts, and it really gives me motivation to continue doing more. And the $5,000 donation to my Catch The Stars Foundation doesn't hurt, either!
For me, just having the opportunity is a great thing. It's one thing to be able to win awards on the court, but it means a great deal to me, personally, to have the same impact off the court. Helping inspire kids and showing them how to dream of what they want to be means a lot to me.
Last month, our Foundation conducted its annual back to school celebration. In the opening weeks of July, we collected backpacks and school supplies, starting with a party and backpack drive at Chick-Fil-A. Later in the month, we had a fundraiser party at California Pizza Kitchen where we gave away almost 600 backpacks. The kids have fun, we all have fun and, most important, we put smiles on their faces just as they go back to school.
The Catch The Stars Foundation has operated since 2004 and it gets bigger each year. Besides our camps and clinics, one of our biggest commitments is to operate a couple of mentoring programs -- STARS for girls and CHAMPS for boys. Both are six-week programs that benefit kids, ages 12-16. Over that time, their two-hour sessions include classroom teaching about life skills, followed by some sort of fitness activity. The donation from the WNBA and State Farm will benefit both our mentoring programs.
My future goal is to expand our programs outside Indianapolis and Indiana. I have done a number of clinics and camps across the country, but my hope is also to expand other programs within Catch The Stars Foundation to locations around the country -- probably in areas where I have lived previously like Chicago, Knoxville and near Dallas. What I envision is going to larger cities that don't have a WNBA or NBA team in their city. I want to be able to bring something new to those areas.
Somebody asked recently which meant more to me -- my Olympic medals, last year's WNBA championship, or recognition from Catch The Stars Foundation?
The truth is, I love what I do in every single aspect. When I'm on the court, I give everything I have. And when I'm out in the community, I give everything I have for my programs. I can't really compare them. And I don't think a comparison really is necessary when you have so many things that you love and truly enjoy.
BY TAMIKA HATCHINGS / PUBLISHED August 22, 2013 / www.huffingtonpost.com
Now that he has another basketball championship wrapped up, Shane Battier is turning his attention to golf.
The Miami Heat forward will make his fifth appearance at the 24th annual American Century Championship July 16-21 at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course. He has less than one month to dial in his golf game, but Battier isn’t worried. He’s approaching the impending tournament with utter confidence and sights set on maintaining his win streak over Charles Barkley.
“I haven’t beaten many people at the American Century Championship, but I have beaten Charles every year,” Battier said. “So the day that Charles beats me is the day that I retire from the American Century Championship, and I will not let that happen.
“So Charles, you know, I’m close to you on the leader board, but you never ever beat me.”
That being said, Battier isn’t wasting any time getting ready. He hit the links for his first practice round two days after the Heat locked up their second NBA championship.
What did that first practice yield? Battier still drives the ball well; making him a good candidate for the Korbel Long Drive contest, but his short game and putting were “absolutely in the gutter.”
Somewhat scary since Battier only has three weeks to work on his short game after helping ESPN with NBA draft coverage this week. Luckily, his hoop skills transfer.
“You know, I think there are similarities between golf and basketball, especially shooting,” Battier said. “You can’t think about your jump shot, you can’t think to yourself, OK, my elbow has to be tucked. I have to have balance on both feet, I have to be looking at the rim. You just shoot the ball.”
Golf is no different.
“You grip the club and you trust what you’ve practiced your entire life,” Battier said.
Battier is entering the tournament with 300/1 odds, but the pro basketball player has been counted out before. After being benched for Game 7 of the Conference Finals, Battier went 6-for-8 from the floor with 18 points in Game 7 of the NBA finals.
“I was very proud of myself, to be honest with you. I’m not proud too often, but it was a difficult time to sit and watch and essentially be told that our best chance of winning does not involve you,” Battier said. “As a competitor, that’s a tough pill to swallow, but I was there to support my teammates and stay ready.”
Redemption tastes good, especially when it’s served up in the form of rib eye from Lebron James.
“As far as the rib eye goes, there was nothing sweeter,” Battier said. “I alluded to being benched as the equivalent of being a basketball turd sandwich, which it was. As a competitor, it was tough to digest. But the rib eye, after tasting that turd sandwich, was the greatest food you’ve ever eaten in your life. That’s what Game 7 was for me.”
Tastes good, and there was a different kind of satisfaction that came with Game 7. The second championship was complements of understanding of what it takes to climb back up the mountaintop.
“The first championship you win, you’re just grinding,” Battier said. “You’re keeping your head down, you’re full steam ahead, and you wind up at the top of the mountain. But after that, you understand the sacrifice and the pain and the heartache that goes into winning a championship.”
Realistically, the Heat stand a good chance of a three-Peat with Miami returning the majority of its championship roster.
“We’ve won back‑to‑back championships now,” Battier said. “So if it ain’t broke, don’t have to tinker with it too much.”
But Battier isn’t trying to get too far ahead of himself. For now, he’s just savoring the feeling of a come-from-behind championship.
“We’re just trying to figure out what the heck happened in Game 6, which was a game for the ages. Obviously, we were facing the odds of losing that game in the last 30 seconds. And then to come out on top of that game and win a very emotional tough Game 7, we were just putting it all together. Then the victory celebrations and the parades,” Battier said on Wednesday. “Today is the first day I’ve been able to catch my breath and reflect a little bit about what just happened.”
BY Becky Regan / PUBLISHED JUNE 27, 2013 / www.tahoedailytribune.com/
Ray Allen's clutch Game 6 3-pointer destined to go down in NBA Finals lore
MIAMI – Ray Allen had made a total of 3,230 3-pointers in the regular season, playoffs and All-Star Games in his 16-year career entering Game 6 of the NBA Finals. None, however, might mean more to the NBA's all-time 3-pointer leader – or to the Miami Heat – than the clutch one he hit in with 5.2 seconds left in Tuesday night's fourth quarter.
"He kept our season alive," Heat forward Chris Bosh said.
The Spurs were seconds away from winning their fifth NBA title. Sturdy yellow tape had been pulled around the court by ushers to block the floor for the championship coronation. Nearby rested bags filled with T-shirts and hats proclaiming that the Spurs 2013 NBA champions.
LeBron James was on the verge of falling to 1-3 in the Finals as the Heat trailed 95-92 with 19.4 seconds left.
Miami's fate looked even bleaker after James missed a possible tying 3-pointer after it bounced off the left side of the rim. If the Spurs get the rebound, the title is theirs. But despite having three Spurs nearby, Bosh wasn't boxed out and he grabbed the ball before quickly tossing it to Allen in the corner.
Allen immediately stepped behind the 3-point line. These are the type of situations he has worked on tirelessly his entire career after practice – and also three hours before games when most players haven't arrived to the arena. With James holding both hands in the air behind the 3-point line and screaming for the ball, Allen didn't look toward the NBA's MVP. Instead, he rose up and buried the game-tying shot, his only 3-pointer of the game, with 5.2 seconds left. He later made two clutch free throws in OT as the Heat won 103-100.
"Whether C.B. threw me the ball or not, I had to get myself in a position where I was ready," Allen said. "Once the ball came off the rim, I just knew get to the 3‑point line. We need a three. Two points isn't going to cut it. So my mental checklist is really to have my legs ready and underneath me, so when the ball comes, if it comes, I was ready to go in the air.
"Once I get my legs there, I let the ball go. I'm going to give myself the best chance to make it."
James wasn't upset once he realized Allen was the one shooting.
"If it's not me taking the shot, I have no problem with Ray taking that shot, man," James said. "He's got ice water in his veins. Ray can be 0 for 99 in a game and if he gets an open look late in the game, it's going down. That's just the confidence he has in himself.
"It's the preparation that he prepares for every game. It's the confidence that we have in him. We've seen it before. We're happy to have him on our side. And this is the reason why we wanted him in games like this."
Allen had been a longtime pain to James while playing for the Boston Celtics. After the Celtics nearly traded him to the Memphis Grizzlies last season – and after his relationship with Boston point guard Rajon Rondo detoriated – Allen entered free agency last summer and received a warm welcome from James, who recruited him to come to the Heat.
"I called him, texted him. I just knew what he could bring to our team," James said. "I've been on the other end of seeing him get them feet down, putting them stupid two fingers after he makes the shot."
The Celtics offered Allen a two-year, $12 million contract. Allen, however, left Boston to take a smaller deal ($9 million over three years) with the Heat. Celtics fans booed Allen during his return visit to Boston. Celtics coach Doc Rivers and some of Allen's former teammates also expressed disappointment with him.
Tuesday night's memorable shot – one of the biggest in Finals history – came long after the Celtics lost in the first round. Allen got the last laugh and validated his decision to join the Heat.
"When I parted ways with Boston, they went in their direction and obviously I went in mine," Allen said. "The minute I got here, this team made me feel welcome. I didn't win last year with this team, but they made me feel a part of it. So the redemption has been winning 66 games this year, and having the best record in the NBA, making it to the playoffs and getting to this point, and being with a great group of guys."
Allen played for the Celtics the last time the Finals went to a Game 7 in 2010, when Boston lost 83-79 to the Los Angeles Lakers. Now 37, Allen already sees one benefit compared to three years ago. The Heat are at home, and the home time has won the past five Finals Game 7s.
"The last Game 7 I was a part of, you know, you felt there was just a thickness in the air where everything seemed like it was against you," Allen said. "We [the Celtics] even had a lead coming into the fourth quarter, and we just ran out of gas. That's where when you play in front of your home building, it gives you so much momentum."
How high Allen ranks Tuesday's shot in his career will be determined by whether the Heat win Game 7.
"It's going to be a shot that I'm going to remember for a long time," he said.
BY Marc J. Spears / PUBLISHED JUNE 19, 2013 / sports.yahoo.com/
LOS ANGELES -- Los Angeles Clippers forward Grant Hill announced his retirement Saturday after a 19-year career in NBA.
Hill made the announcement on TNT before Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals between the Miami Heat and the Indiana Pacers.
"I'm glad to say I'm done," Hill said. "I'm officially retired, moving on from playing. I had a great run. I'm announcing it now. ... I've been hinting at it the last few years. You get to a point where you just don't want to do it anymore but I've enjoyed it. I've loved it."
Hill, 40, signed a two-year, $4 million contract with the Clippers last year but had alluded several times at the end of this season that he would retire over the summer.
Hill only played in 29 games this season for the Clippers while battling various injuries, his fewest since 2006, and only saw action in the Clippers' last playoff game, a 118-105 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies in Game 6 of the first round. Hill never had averaged fewer than 28 minutes and 10 points per game during his career but only averaged 15.1 minutes and 3.2 points per game off the bench for the Clippers.
"The entire Clippers organization wants to congratulate Grant on an incredible career," Clippers vice president of basketball operations Gary Sacks said. "For 19 years, Grant has always been the embodiment of class, a true professional and not only one of the best players -- but one of the finest individuals I have been around. We were fortunate to have Grant with us last season, and we wish him all the best in his next endeavor."
Hill's career was derailed and almost ended because of ankle injuries that allowed him to only play in 47 games with the Orlando Magic over four seasons from 2000-04. He only played in four games in 2000-01 and missed the 2003-04 season.
Hill was one of the best basketball players in the world in the late 1990s after winning two national championships at Duke, an Olympic gold medal with Team USA at the 1996 Olympics and earning five All-NBA honors and the 1994-95 Co-Rookie of the Year Award.
Injuries, however, prevented Hill from reaching his full potential in the NBA, although he was able to play in at least 80 games in three of his five seasons with the Phoenix Suns, where he played in the Western Conference Finals in 2010, his most successful playoff run.
Hill finishes his career with averages of 16.7 points, 6.0 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 1.2 steals in 33.9 minutes per game. Hill played in 1,026 total NBA games (972 starts) and connected on 48.3 percent of his field goals, 31.4 percent from behind the 3-point line and 76 percent of his free throws over his career.
BY Arash Markazi / PUBLISHED JUNE 1, 2013 / espn.go.com