Update on the latest sports
NBA talking with Disney about resuming season
UNDATED (AP) — The NBA is in talks with The Walt Disney Company on a single-site scenario for a resumption of play in Central Florida in late July. It’s the clearest sign yet that the league believes the season can continue amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The National Basketball Players Association is also part of the talks with Disney.
Games would be held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, a massive campus on the Disney property near Orlando. NBA spokesman Mike Bass said the conversations were still “exploratory,” and that the site would be used for practices and housing as well.
The ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex is a 255-acre campus with multiple arenas that could host games simultaneously and has been home to, among other things, the Jr. NBA World Championship in recent years. ESPN is primarily owned by Disney, one of the NBA’s broadcast partners.
Space won’t be an issue, even if Major League Soccer — which is also in talks to resume its season at Disney — is there at the same time as the NBA. The entire Disney complex is roughly 40 square miles, with nearly 24,000 hotel rooms owned or operated by Disney.
In other developments related to the coronavirus pandemic:
— The NHL Players Association has accepted a proposal on a 24-team playoff format, but there are other items to discuss in the league’s bid to resume play. Those questions include potential game locations, when players can return to their respective teams and what non-playoff teams will be allowed to do during what could potentially become a 10-month break between games. Under the plan proposed by the NHL/NHLPA Return To Play committee, the top four teams in each conference would play each other in a mini-tournament for seeding. The remaining 16 teams face off in a best-of-five series play-in round to set the final 16 to compete for the Stanley Cup. The proposal will now go to the NHL board of governors. If approved, it would effectively end the season of the league’s bottom seven teams.
— The Washington Nationals have changed their plans for a virtual World Series ring ceremony after players decided they would rather wait until they could reunite in person to receive their new jewelry. The Nationals previously announced they were going to give out the rings during a show broadcast on television and online. They still plan to unveil the design of the ring Sunday, the anniversary of the date they began their turnaround from a 19-31 record to World Series champs. They are also going ahead with a fundraiser for two food banks and the showing of a documentary about Washington’s 2019 season.
— The Alaska Baseball League has canceled its summer season, which was scheduled to begin on June 29. The five-team league is made up of college players from mostly the Lower 48 states but also from places as far away as Taiwan. Amid the coronavirus pandemic, travel and housing would have been a logistical challenge during the seven weeks of play.
— President Donald Trump played golf Saturday for the first time since he declared the coronavirus pandemic a national emergency more than two months ago. That move led to the shutdown of much of American society. His return to the course is one more sign that he wants the country back to pre-outbreak times, even as the U.S. death toll from the virus nears 100,000. That’s twice what he once predicted it would be. The outing was Trump’s first to any of the money-making properties he owns since March 8, when he visited his private golf club in West Palm Beach, Florida.
— Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson are getting ready for another made-for-TV match, this time with friends from the NFL. Woods and Peyton Manning take on Mickelson and Tom Brady in what’s being billed as “The Match: Champions for Charity.” It will be the second straight Sunday live golf is on TV. The purpose is to raise $10 million for COVID-19 relief efforts and to provide entertainment. Another big appeal is seeing golf’s biggest star on TV again. Woods was last seen on Feb. 16 at Riviera when he shot weekend rounds of 76 and 77 and finished last at the Genesis Invitational.
— Georgetown basketball coach Patrick Ewing has tested positive for COVID-19 and is being treated at a hospital. The Hall of Fame player and former New York Knicks center says the virus is serious and should not be taken lightly, adding that he wanted to encourage everyone to stay safe and take care of themselves and their loved ones. Ewing also thanked the healthcare workers and everyone on the front lines. The school said the 57-year-old Ewing is the only member of its men’s program who has contracted the coronavirus.
— Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez has announced that the soccer league in Spain will be allowed to resume June 8. It’s not clear when the first games will be held. The top tier, La Liga, has said it wants to resume play on June 12. There has been no play in the top tier due to the coronavirus crisis since March 12. Teams have recently returned to training at club facilities, but with players practicing individually. Barcelona is top of the league with a two-point lead over Real Madrid after 27 of 38 rounds.
— Around 13,000 cardboard cutouts helped fill the stands at a key soccer match in Germany Saturday. Fans took pictures at home and paid for a cardboard cutout to be placed in the stands at the Bundesliga (BOON’-dehsh-lee-guh) game in Dusseldorf, which could help decide Champions League qualification. The effort didn’t help the home team much. Bayer Leverkusen beat host Borussia Mönchengladbach 3-1.
— The World of Outlaws raced in front of live fans for the first time in months at a Sprint Car event in Missouri Friday night. Brad Sweet edged his brother-in-law Kyle Larson, who is back racing dirt cars after losing his Cup ride over a racial slur. In qualifying for the 30-lap feature at Federated Auto Parts I-55 Raceway, Larson became the first Sprint Car driver to break the 10-second barrier at the one-third mile, high-banked oval with a lap of 9.995 seconds. The Outlaws returned last week in Iowa at Knoxville Raceway for a race run without fans. The series will complete the doubleheader Saturday night.
Saints adding ex-Steelers linebacker Anthony Chickillo
UNDATED (AP) — Linebacker Anthony Chickillo has agreed to a contract with the New Orleans Saints after playing the last five seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers. The deal was announced Saturday by Saints general manager Mickey Loomis.
The 6-foot-3, 255-pound Chickillo is changing teams for the first time. He was drafted in the sixth round by Pittsburgh in 2015.
Chickillo played in 11 games for the Steelers last season, finishing with 11 tackles and half a sack.
The 27-year-old out of Miami has played in 65 regular-season games with nine starts while also contributing as a regular on special teams.
Olympic ski champion Anna Veith retires
VIENNA (AP) — Olympic ski champion Anna Veith has retired as a racer.
Veith twice returned to the top from serious knee injuries but called it a career a year after blowing out her knee for the third time. Veith announced her retirement live on Austrian TV. She says it was not a difficult decision.
Veith’s main triumphs were super-G gold at the 2014 Sochi Olympics and back-to-back overall World Cup titles in 2014 and 2015. She called winning the super-G silver at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics “the most emotional day of my career.”