The Ball family had the Staples Center crowd buzzing Monday night after their unforgettable appearance with The Miz on WWE Raw, the latest instance in a long and storied history of figures from the professional sports world dusting it up in the squared circle.
The intertwining of professional athletes and professional wrestling goes back decades. Muhammad Ali’s bouts with Antonio Inoki and Gorilla Monsoon, as well as his guest-refereeing of the main event at the first-ever Wrestlemania, are still some of the most talked-about moments in the sport’s history. One of Ali’s most legendary adversaries, Joe Frazier, gave the striped shirt a try once, officiating one of Ric Flair and Dusty Rhodes’ famous bouts.
From Lawrence Taylor headlining Wrestlemania XI, to Mike Tyson delivering Stone Cold Steve Austin his first world title, to Rob Gronkowski’s memorable charge into the ring at last April’s Wrestlemania 33, pro wrestling’s colorful history is illuminated with memorable appearances from the pro sports world.
What’s your favorite memory? Rank the best ones below:
Given LaVar’s outsized, occasionally cartoonish persona, we’re sure this won’t be the last time we see the Ball family at a WWE event.
The Dallas Mavericks have informed Dirk Nowitzki that they will decline their $25 million team option for next season with the intention of signing the face of their franchise to a new contract, according to league sources.
The Mavericks have a Thursday deadline to notify their league of their intentions regarding the second season of the two-year, $50 million contract Nowitzki signed last July.
But sources told ESPN that the club will work with Nowitzki next month to structure a new deal to his liking. A two-year deal is an option being strongly considered, sources said, despite the fact Nowitzki has made it clear that he wants to make decisions on a season-by-season basis at this stage of his career.
The Mavericks’ plan, according to one source, is to do “what Dirk wants.” Nowitzki turned 39 last week and is poised to tie Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant for the longest run in league history — 20 seasons — playing for only one team.
The Mavericks are coming off a 33-49 campaign, their worst since the 1997-98 season that set them up to acquire Nowitzki via a draft-night trade with Milwaukee for the No. 9 overall pick in June 1998. Dallas never fully recovered from a 4-17 start that saw Nowitzki hampered by an Achilles injury, but the former league and NBA Finals MVP eventually overcame the injury to cross the historic 30,000-point threshold and rise to No. 6 on the league’s all-time scoring charts by season’s end.
ESPN reported Saturday that re-signing restricted free-agent center Nerlens Noel and solidifying the team’s young core of Harrison Barnes, Seth Curry, Noel and newly drafted Dennis Smith Jr. are the Mavericks’ offseason priorities. Sources say that Dallas, as it stands, does not have plans to pursue marquee free agents, despite a long-rumored interest in New Orleans Pelicans unrestricted free agent Jrue Holiday.
When the Mavericks’ season ended, Nowitzki made it clear he’s comfortable with the direction of the franchise despite the apparent long road Dallas faces to return to contention in the Western Conference, re-iterating yet again that he has no intention of playing for anyone else as he enters historic season No. 20.
“At the end of the day, I just can’t imagine myself in a different uniform,” Nowitzki said in April. “If we’re rebuilding, then I’m the face of that.”
Last season marked Dallas’ first with a losing record in Mark Cuban’s 17 full seasons as Mavericks owner. The Mavericks have missed the playoffs twice in the past five seasons after 11 consecutive 50-win campaigns. They haven’t won a playoff series since Nowitzki led them to the first championship in team history in 2011.
The Dallas Mavericks selected NC State guard Dennis Smith Jr. with the No. 9 overall pick of the 2017 NBA draft on Thursday night.
Ford’s Big Board ranking — No. 7: “One of the most explosive players in the draft, Smith is an elite athlete and finisher at the rim. He showed an improved jump shot in college.” More (Insider)
Kevin Pelton’s stats and scouting ranking — No. 4: “Smith’s production was remarkably similar to [Markelle] Fultz’s, and his projected player win percentage as a rookie (the per-minute component of WARP, akin to PER) is actually slightly better.” More (Insider)
With draft night in the rearview mirror, here’s your chance to evaluate the pick the Dallas Mavericks made Thursday (point guard Dennis Smith Jr. at No. 9). In his draft report card for every team, ESPN Insider Chad Ford explained why he’s a fan of Dallas’ move. Are you?
The NBA draft is a chance for the latest crop of basketball talent to make eye-catching fashion choices — and the 2017 NBA draft class did not disappoint.
Some players, such as Malik Monk with his “The Woodz” pattern or Zach Collins with his homage to the famous “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign, incorporated nods to their hometowns. Other fashion decisions carried deeper sentiment: The lining of No. 5 overall pick De’Aaron Fox‘s suit featured breast cancer ribbons as a tribute to his mother, a breast cancer survivor.
Which prospect made the best fashion statement at this year’s draft? Using the arrows next to each choice, weigh in by ranking the sharply dressed players below.
Bowties and shoes
Still other prospects went for flashy, unique accessories and footwear:
While the NBA draft picks were dressed for success at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Thursday night, it remains to be seen how they’ll look — or play — in the uniforms of their new teams when the 2017-18 NBA season begins.
NEW YORK — Dirk Nowitzki, the career scoring leader among international players, will be one of the captains for the NBA’s Africa Game on Aug. 5.
The league and the National Basketball Players Association announced Monday that the Dallas Mavericks star will be a co-captain of Team World along with Charlotte Hornets All-Star Kemba Walker. Team Africa will be captained by the Lakers’ Luol Deng, who is from the South Sudan, and Atlanta’s Thabo Sefolosha, whose father is from South Africa.
Nowitzki is a 13-time All-Star. Last season, the German became the first international player with 30,000 career points.
The game will take place in Johannesburg. A full roster of players and coaches will be announced at a later date.